Myanmar is going through a digital transformation. AdsMy, a local marketing tech platform, have produced a trends deck covering digital marketing and consumer behaviour for Myanmar in 2018. Programmatic, mobile, video, native and digital advertising are all highlighted as growth areas.
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
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.
iKorea is a column by Soyoon Bach, a Digital Marketing professional in Seoul, covering developments in the Korean digital ecosystem.
Programmatic media buying is a powerful infant. While the technology itself is fairly new, it’s making strides globally. According to eMarketer, the programmatic market in the United States is projected to reach an estimated amount of 26.78 billion USD by the end of this year.
While North America is still by far the biggest programmatic market to date, Asia is quickly catching up and experiencing fast growth rates. Japan, Singapore, and Australia are leading the way as more mature programmatic markets in APAC. Korea is a big digital ad spender – the sixth largest in the world. However, programmatic buying is struggling to get its footing in the nation.
The estimated programmatic spend in Korea as of 2016 was around 141 million USD, which is far behind the billions spent in North America. Also, the definition of “programmatic transactions” is still murky; therefore, it’s unclear how much of that 141 million is truly programmatic. So why is this the case? How could one of the leaders of digital ad spending in Asia have resisted the strong programmatic current taking over the industry?
To understand this phenomenon, it’s important to take a look back through the history of Korea’s digital landscape. Since Yahoo! entered the domestic market in 1997, the digital ecosystem has largely been shaped and influenced by web portals, whereas web portals became fatally disrupted with the introduction of Google in North America. 1999 saw the birth of two web portals that still remain local titans – Daum and Naver. Dozens of other web portals competed for market share but Naver solidified its place at the top in 2003 and has maintained the position ever since. Daum come as a not-so-close second (the Bing to its Google if you may).
Naver is a formidable giant. The key difference between Google and Naver is that Google is a launching-off point. You start on Google and use it as a tool to help you get to where you need to go. Naver is different. It’s its own fully functioning ecosystem, equipped with search functions, blogs, cafes (communities), maps, ask sections, news, shopping, webtoons, music, real estate, finance, etc. You could access a mind-boggling amount of content without ever having to truly leave the platform. The experience is enclosed in comparison to Google’s openness.
This is probably the biggest reason why programmatic is stunted in Korea. One of the reasons why programmatic is such a hit is because it makes it so much easier to sell and buy ad inventory. There were an estimated 1.82 billion active websites in the US in April 2017. Imagine advertisers having to shift through that many websites to decide which publisher’s inventory they want to purchase. It also makes it that much harder for publishers to manually sell their inventory. But when you put it into an automated system, such as programmatic media buying, it relieves the pressures of manually selling and buying.
However, Naver never has this problem. Many Koreans go to Naver to start web surfing and usually will stay within the platform for most, if not all, of their internet journey. Thus, advertisers will always go to Naver to buy inventory because they know that it’s guaranteed to be shown to a wide audience. Unlike Google, that has famously refused any form of disruptive ads on its search engine (e.g. banners and pop-ups), Naver allows ads to be shown on a variety of placements all throughout their portal. And it’s always in high demand.
Advertisers have to go through booking processes for most of the inventory, possibly facing hefty penalties for booking cancellations. They also have to adhere to strict rules set by Naver, be satisfied with simplistic reports that don’t reveal much, deal with the strict forbiddance of third-party tracking, etc. For Naver Timeboard, which guarantees your ads will be shown in the spot right under the main search engine for one hour, advertisers can pay up to 30,000 USD. FOR ONE HOUR.
Advertisers grumble and moan but continually go back to Naver because that’s where their customers are. They can’t help but use it the way that most advertisers can’t avoid using Google for their search campaigns. You’re giving up too many impressions when you do. And because there’s such a high demand for their advertising space, sometimes requiring advertisers to book months in advance, they have absolutely no incentive to put their inventory out in a competitive marketplace. Daum has also followed in Naver’s footsteps.
So without Naver and Daum inventory, the marketplace for programmatic media buying just shrunk drastically, to a point where most advertisers don’t see the appeal of even bothering. Even with the appeal of more granular targeting options, more competitive pricing, and the ability to derive great insights about customer behavior, the lack of inventory is a huge barrier to entry.
However, Korea can’t stay this way forever. Global trends push for more transparency, more data, more precision and efficiency. High-tech Korean users are gravitating towards Google products and Korean branches of global agencies continue to feel pressure from abroad to start implementing programmatic practices. Programmatic technology platforms are arriving domestically in bulk. DCM, MediaMath, Adjust, Turn, Criteo, DataXu, and Rocket Fuel are just a couple of the players that are aiming to get in the market early.
It’s only a matter of time before the wall collapses and programmatic infiltrates the domestic market with full force. This leads to interesting questions that cannot yet be answered. How will powerhouses Naver and Daum react to this threat to their dominance? How will this change the Korean digital landscape and its heavy reliance on web portals to direct their internet activity? What strategies will Google utilize to take advantage of this situation? How will this push for transparency and an open web have ripple effects across other industries that have benefited from this enclosed ecosystem?
I think we’ll find out sooner than we think.
Private Marketplaces, also known as PMPs, are places where publishers offer their ad inventory to a selected group of advertisers. You may also hear buying in Private Marketplaces referred to as:
- Programmatic Premium
- Programmatic Direct
- Programmatic Guaranteed
- Programmatic Reserved
- Preferred Deals
- Private Auctions
Programmatic Direct combines the best of direct sales with the targeting and automation benefits of programmatic. PMPs are now a popular method of programmatic trading.
For publishers, PMPs give tighter control on which kinds of advertisers and creatives will be displayed on their site or app, while not having to manage individual advertisers like they would in a direct buy.
For buyers, PMPs allow access to premium quality inventory, and all the bespoke benefits of working directly with a seller – but also allow use of data, targeting and reporting from a single DSP dashboard.
Typically CPMs are higher in a PMP because premium advertisers are competing for the highest quality ad inventory on very reputable digital properties.
Each type of PMP does a specific job for buyers or sellers.
This is a great video from sovrn that covers RTB v PMPs and Programmatic Direct in a little more detail.
Make sure you read the earlier articles in this series to understand basic concepts of programmatic.
We see a big year ahead for programmatic in China with projected 36.9% YOY growth. $12.72bn estimated ad spend will account for 57% of total digital advertising market.
China Mobile Ad Revenues and Programmatic Ad Spend 2014-2017 [Infographic]
Handy Google spreadsheet listing out the Top 100 tech conferences recommended by WPP for 2016.
We think ATS Singapore deserves a mention for those wanting to find out more about programmatic, and Tech in Asia run a comprehensive calendar of start up and tech events across APAC on their site which is worth checking out.
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]
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.
Too often people see innovation as a flash of lightning, striking at random. And too many businesses are afraid to try new things, creating a huge barrier to success.
Clearly inspiration is core to innovation, and new things are scary. But, as strange as it might sound, you can actually plan to be innovative – and protect your marketing investment – with a very simple strategy.
It’s called the 70/20/10 Rule, and it will help you map out all the things you could do with your marketing, into a structured approach that will help drive your business forward.
So how does it work? First, take your Digital marketing budget and divide it into three buckets: one with 70% of the money and two others with 20% and 10%, respectively.
Your largest investment should be in established marketing programs. Focus on refining activity you have run for several years with a record of success. Right now this is likely to include Google Search, Desktop Display, and Facebook activity – although it depends where you are in your Digital marketing journey. It’s crucial to maintain a strong base to protect your success.
The next 20% of your budget should go on emerging areas that are starting to gain traction. This is about generating safe learning opportunities. Mobile and Programmatic are hot right now for most marketers, but it should also be about trying new suppliers for activity you are already doing well at. Not every test will work out, but the ones that do will set up your future plans and keep you ahead of the competition.
You can think of this final 10% as your marketing insurance. Set the stage for the future by investing in areas you have never tested before. Start small and scale fast. Remember these 10% tests will one day be your 70%. And without investing here you will very quickly fall behind your competition.
Even gigantic global brands such as Coca Cola follow this approach. Wendy Clark, SVP, Marketing for Coca-Cola, gave the below presentation at a McKinsey CMO event recently. She explained how, to be successful today, companies need to employ a test and learn approach. At Coke, 70% of spend funds current proven programs, 20% goes to new and promising trends, and 10% to test completely new ideas.
What’s important in all this is that innovation can have a process. With the 70/20/10 approach it’s easy to protect your success NOW, while finding the NEW and NEXT things you need to stay ahead.
The programmatic revolution knows no borders. The same transformation that North American and European ad markets have seen recently is now showing up in markets around the world – including Asia – as global marketers embrace programmatic. In fact 55% of brands and agencies already have a global programmatic strategy in place according to recent studies.
The drivers for the broad adoption of programmatic are simple to understand, and similar globally. Brands and agencies use programmatic to increase marketing efficiency, helping them get more out of their budgets.
In the latest in our series covering the new Digital advertising ecosystem we look at best practices and emerging trends as programmatic goes global in Advertising Age’s Global Programmatic Survey, conducted for DataXu.
Mobile is a hot topic. Viewability is perhaps even hotter. Bring the two together and you have some sort of digital marketing nuclear volcano.
Well maybe. Mobile viewability is a subset of the overall “has my ad been seen and by who” issue, but a particularly tricky one. The lack of a unique user ID is the clearest roadblock. But it’s also clear that the various technologies and vendors used to solve mobile advertising delivery issues, often create further fragmentation.
Fragmentation is especially critical when understanding exactly how ads are delivered to a mobile webpage or app. In mere milliseconds – the time it takes to load a webpage or app – a typical mobile ad is requested, analyzed, bid on, approved, and served. That’s the reality of the coming era of programmatic advertising as many of you know.
A recent infographic from The Mobile Majority walks us through the steps required for all these technologies to work together. And with a whole swathe of brands and ad tech firms in the mobile first APAC region committing unequivocally to the future of programmatic, the mobile viewability issue is not going to go away.
Understanding Mobile Viewability 
In simple terms, the entire journey of an ad, from initial request to final display, has to happen really fast. That’s what programmatic necessitates. During such a rapid journey, handoffs between technologies and vendors have to be clean and consistent.
Once the ad is actually placed, a whole other set of considerations emerge. Publishers control their site or app, deciding how and where to place the ads that get delivered. On the other hand, tech vendors control how the ad is rendered. How that rendering interacts with publisher placement can go a long way in determining viewability.
Mobile ads are also becoming more complex. The banner ad, although still incredibly popular, is receding to the back of the most-effective-ad discussion. Taking its place at the front are rich media ads and video, which offer much higher levels of interactivity, engagement and ultimately conversion.
But higher levels of creative require – you guessed it – more layers of technology. Try to integrate this creative across different operating systems, app formats, web browsers and connection types, and you have countless opportunities for viewability to break down.
And here’s the final problem: we don’t even have a set of viewability standards for mobile yet. The IAB standards are designed for desktop, and therefore really only helpful as a frame of reference. So while we wait for official mobile guidelines (expected by the end of this year), viewability on mobile will continue to have a frontier feel to it. Hopefully, there won’t be too many outlaws.