2015 has without question been the year of programmatic. Not only has spending in the channel increased significantly across the board, we have seen a wealth of innovations emerge, not least of which in the UK from the main commercial broadcasters.
In Germany, it’s a similar story. Programmatic activity has swelled in the past six to twelve months. In fact according to a recent report on progress across Deutschland, 58% of marketers are already investing in programmatic ads. With two-thirds of marketers planning to increase their spending between now and 2017, the demand for a shift in approach will only rise in importance.
Why is this a problem?
As the industry continues to advance and grow, the wealth of possibilities available to brands, agencies and publishers alike will only increase. However, for those aspiring to operate in a multi-channel environment, it’s imperative that they understand how and why they need to operate on both a global and local level. In essence they need to “Go Glocal”.
The rapid growth in the programmatic industry may enable organisations to improve the relationship they have with their customers, through more defined levels of targeting, but it also throws up a number of challenges, which need to be addressed. The days of programmatic being a dirty word associated with offloading unwanted inventory are a distant memory, but for many there is still a great deal of confusion surrounding programmatic. As a result the extent to which organisations can accelerate a programmatic strategy will differ wildly amongst territories.
So what can be done?
We all know markets develop at different rates. Whereas the German market has struggled to be disruptive until more recently, in part due to a heavy focus on protecting existing architecture, the UK has and is developing and evolving fast.
On an increasingly international stage, we all know that the potential for programmatic to facilitate cross border planning – where activations in multiple terriorites can be planned simultaneously – is a topic little discussed. Programmatic is going to make it much easier for big networked agencies with the tech reach and uniformity between them to cross border plan and press this advantage to advertisers. The challenge they may face is doing so without the on the ground knowledge to really understand the territory they are selling into, essentially replicating however innocently, the inventory dump mistakes of early programmatic.
The Nordics is just one of many territories who have struggled to achieve the same level of adoption, although admittedly this has accelerated quickly in the past six to twelves months. Whilst that is largely due to their reactive mind-set and reliance on real-time bidding, it signifies the complexities of establishing a fully integrated programmatic eco-system. With every market possessing different levels of capability too, complications naturally arise. Whereas some operate on a more traditional level and lack the ability or foresight to embrace new approaches, others are far more progressive and are advancing very quickly, as the accelerated move towards TV programmatic buying clearly illustrates.
So what does this mean in general principle?
Partnerships, which facilitate better connections and enhance the possibilities available to brands, agencies and their partners, are the perfect antidote to this rapidly shifting landscape.
In Germany, a market driven largely by agencies – which is predominantly very traditional – it is clear that agencies (in accordance with the introduction of their own trading desks), brands and local publishers (who themselves are increasingly setting up their own SSPs) all need to be aligned in how they approach and use programmatic technology, both internally and externally. If not, their ability to generate tangible results and measureable outcomes will diminish.
Establishing these partnerships is no small undertaking though, as an organisations ability to understand the different challenges between markets can vary wildly, depending on how their internal operations are set up. However, they can be fundamental in facilitating the provision of technology at grass roots level and increase general understanding of individual markets. Most importantly of all though they can help determine what the most appropriate solution to be executed is, with a greater level of confidence.
At Spree7, we recognise the importance of having people on the ground locally, as well as the need to partner with global tech providers at a local level. MediaMath’s decision to acquire Spree7 last month, after a successful three year partnership, is a clear marker of why a “Glocal” approach is fundamental to the development of programmatic. Not only does this approach allow for a strong network to be created, it also focuses attention on developing each individual market.
As a united unit, our combined clients can now not only gain access to MediaMath’s global offering, they also have the added benefit of local expertise. This insight is critical to developing strategies specific for the market they are being activated in. They can be supported by global tools, and shaped by local market knowledge and individual audience responses.
Much is written about the importance of technology and the necessity to have constant access to specific tools, but it is the education which supports that technology that enables it to be used and channelled in the right way. Without that sound understanding an effective programmatic strategy is very difficult to achieve. Partnerships facilitate this knowledge transfer. For us at Spree7, uniting with MediaMath makes perfect sense and I look forward to watching the transformations it will bring not only to Germany but to the wider programmatic arena.