Tag Archives: ad exchange

Peeling the Programmatic Onion

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has released new research on how marketers are conducting their programmatic media buying.

The survey revealed that 85% of marketers are currently conducting programmatic initiatives, either in-house or with an agency, and that more than a third of respondents (35%) have reduced the role of their external agencies as a result of the expansion of their in-house programmatic media buying capabilities. This is a notable increase from a 2016 study that found only 14% of marketers in-housing programmatic.

Other key findings to emerge from the study include:

  • 78% of marketers are “concerned, or very concerned about brand safety and programmatic.”
  • Only 40% of marketers are comfortable with “the level of transparency about their programmatic media investments” with “hidden costs” a particular concern.
  • “Better audience targeting”, “building audience reach”, and “real-time optimization” were the top three cited benefits among marketers that opted to in-house.

It seems overall, transparency in programmatic is on the rise and non-disclosed models are in decline. But what is true transparency in programmatic?

The Programmatic Onion – Layers of Programmatic Transparency

the programmatic onion

Previously in programmatic, all the above layers of cost would be bundled into a CPM, CPA or CPC – for example, an advertiser would book a campaign with an agency or trading desk at $4 CPM with a minimum spend of $50k per month and all of the operating costs are covered.

Now, slowly, the costs are being unbundled from top to bottom of the programmatic supply chain as we peel back the layers of the programmatic onion. During this unbundling process, some of the people, contracts and relationships are shifting from 3rd parties and into advertisers themselves.

Not every marketer needs or wants to peel the onion. Outcomes based marketing is well suited to many, and certainly simplifies a complex ecosystem. But for many marketers, it seems there is an emerging need for transparency at every step of the supply chain, and a perception that this transparency can be better facilitated through direct relationships with publishers and tech.

Peeling the programmatic onion is a crucial exercise in transparency for our industry, an opportunity for agencies, tech vendors and publishers to build trust, and a key part of building spend in digital channels outside the Duopoly.


The New Digital Advertising Ecosystem Part VI: Agency Trading Desks

In the latest in our series on programmatic we take a look at Agency Trading Desks (ATDs), the independent units within media agencies that specialise in programmatic buying. In Asia we often hear ATDs referred to as Internal Ad Networks, or just as “the Programmatic team”.

Agency Trading Desks have been set up by the large agency groups to support their clients who want to buy programmatically.

Examples include Xaxis, Accuen and Vivaki. See the Holding Company, Agency and Trading desk mapping below to understand how it all fits together.

Map of Agencies and Trading Desks [PDF]

Download here.

Agency Trading Desks usually offer a transparent and data driven approach to media buying, certainly compared to standard digital media, and can deliver impressive ROIs for smart marketers. ATDs use Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to buy their media, and utilise a combination of Real Time Buying (RTB) and direct publisher deals to get the best results. Targeting is delivered via a Data Management Platform (DMP).

We know. Too many acronyms.

In summary, programmatic is a much smarter way of buying media and SHOULD get you better results.

But it can be confusing. Agency Trading Desks do a great job of simplifying this complex world.

In addition to being the future of media, programmatic is also a major revenue growth engine for agencies, who have seen profits reduced over the past 20 years by (sometimes over zealous) client procurement teams.

Establishing ATDs as a specialist unit enables agencies to charge fees for the additional services provided, including technology, data, and bespoke media. This is good or bad for the client depending on who you listen to.

What is for certain is that programmatic is moving at high speed and Agency Trading Desks are still evolving. Some ATDs will disappear and become part of the agency, while others will remain as specialist technology units.

In Asia, programmatic is just getting started and we still haven’t seen a full roll out of ATDs beyond regional level in Singapore. Watch this space.

We should also note that there are a bunch of other trading desks operating independently across Asia outside the big agency groups including Performance Asia and CTRL/SHIFT alongside many more.

Latest Research Shows Viewability “Just Works”

Viewability was one of the hottest topics in Digital over 2014, but the buzz has eased off slightly since the release of the IAB standards. Concerns around fraud rumble on, with a feeling that current regulation does quite not go far enough.

Getting measurement right is a key component of successful advertising delivery, especially in the Digital space where there is so much measurement available. Benchmarks, research and case studies are crucial, so it’s handy that Sizmek have just released their latest report into the impact of viewability measurement.

The Sizmek Research team analyzed viewable data from more than 240 billion measured impressions, 840,000 ads and 120,000 campaigns served in 74 countries to more than 22,000 publishers and 43 programmatic partners. That’s quite a lot.

The report found that ads with greater interactivity are more likely to be viewable, that mobile ads are more viewable than ads on desktop computers, and ads sold directly to publishers are more viewable than ads sold through automated or programmatic platforms.

There are some interesting comparisons looking at APAC versus other regions. Asia in general scores very high in rich media mobile ad CTRs.

In the US, the IAB minimum viewable threshold for performance, is 70% viewability. The research found this level to be a reliable indicator of performance. The report also found that choosing mobile friendly HTML5 formats and creative sizes specific to mobile devices, improves ad viewability.

Sizmek Viewability Benchmarks [2015]

“The specifics and definitions will no doubt continue to be debated, but the recent efforts at standardizing viewability terminology move the industry toward a more transparent marketplace for digital ads, and our research backs that up. Viewability just works in terms of driving campaign performance,” says Alex White, VP Product Strategy at Sizmek.

Clearly, measuring whether an ad is viewable gives the industry a great starting point for trading in true engagement.


MicroAd leads funding round for Ambient Digital in South East Asia

MicroAd Singapore today announced a Series A investment in Ambient Digital Group aiming to expand market share across South East Asia.

MicroAd will also connect its programmatic ad platform to Ambient Digital’s vast regional supply of inventory – a big win for programmatic ad buyers in South East Asia. Continue reading MicroAd leads funding round for Ambient Digital in South East Asia


MicroAd CEO Discusses Strategy and The Future of Programmatic in APAC

MicroAd’s recently launched supply side platform, MicroAd COMPASS, aims to provide a groundbreaking solution for APAC publishers . Kentaro Watanabe, MicroAd CEO, reveals that their new SSP will support increasing demands in the growing RTB market and optimize publisher revenue. See his full interview with Digital in Asia below. Continue reading MicroAd CEO Discusses Strategy and The Future of Programmatic in APAC


MicroAd launches SSP aimed at APAC publishers

MicroAd today announced the launch of a new SSP aimed at APAC publishers, named MicroAd COMPASS.

With the largest market share in Japan, MicroAd also serves advertisers with a DSP offering. This is an interesting addition to the APAC supply side landscape following the recent roll out of Pubmatic, and offers another alternative for local publishers to the Google hegemony. Continue reading MicroAd launches SSP aimed at APAC publishers


The New Digital Advertising Ecosystem part III

For this latest post in our ongoing series looking at The New Digital Advertising Ecosystem, we wanted to go right back to basics, and look at an online advertising 101. Understanding the evolution of the Digital media market over the last decade is a crucial part of understanding what is happening now. Continue reading The New Digital Advertising Ecosystem part III


The New Digital Advertising Ecosystem

Digital is evolving, but the new data-driven real time advertising ecosystem can be confusing.

In an attempt to bring some much needed transparency to ad exchanges and display, Ad Exchanger have a great series of posts dealing with some common questions.

Let us know if there are any other issues you think need a simple explanation, and we can help with answers.