What does the future hold for adblocking and programmatic?

What does the future hold for adblocking and programmatic?
Richard is Chief Revenue Officer at RhythmOne, responsible for global growth of the business with accountability for comprehensive revenue streams, scaling RhythmOne’s unified programmatic platform and extending the Company’s commercial footprint into global markets. He oversees Supply & Demand sales teams, Account Management and AdOps functions.

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Last month we witnessed just how much interest there is in the adtech world, with marketers gathering from across the globe for the event of year, Dmexco.  

With a speaker line-up boasting names including Sir Martin Sorrell and Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey – it’s hardly surprising so many people attended.

The event provided the somewhat rare, one-on-one human engagement, something that is lost in the online world.

There was an even playing field for each brand based on what they have paid to advertise at the event, a stark difference to the online market, where 75% of the global digital ad spend comes from Google and Facebook, leaving every other brand competing for the remaining 25%.

While this poses a challenge for brands, the adtech world does present them with a lot of opportunities which will test their business skills.

Blocking the ads

The growth of ad blocking has had huge ramifications on the digital marketing industry, leaving some online publishers struggling to bring in ad revenues.

Both Google and AppNexus have taken a step forward to help publishers by removing their support for Adblock Plus.

This drop in support is a good step forward, however the whole industry needs to align and together address the underlying issue on how better quality and contextually relevant ads are better served to allay any fears about ad blockers.  

A way to restore balance between advertisers, publishers and users is to create a clear understanding of the value exchange.

This exchange involves brands understanding what their audience wants to see and making sure that the content used in their adverts is relevant to them.

With this understanding, marketers will achieve better transparency and will be able to deliver relevant content, meaning that consumers won’t feel the need to block ads they previously considered irrelevant.

If anything, marketers should learn from the ad blocking hype and see this challenge as a great way to actually give consumers information that they want.

Moving forward with programmatic

Programmatic advertising has seen huge growth – with eMarketer predicting that it will account for 70 per cent of the UK digital display market by the end of 2016, a figure that the industry cannot ignore.

Marketers need to strike the balance between data and creativity. Both elements are key. Data provides the essential insights needed to target the right audiences, in the right place, at the right time.

Without creativity, decision making and commercial scalability, none of the tech means anything

Creativity is responsible for getting them there in the first place. Combining machine insights and human flair is crucial in this process.

Shifting this programmatic thinking to TV is the next step of the programmatic journey. Programmatic TV (PTV) offers a bridge between television and the rest of the marketing world, with broadcasters like Sky and others already investing large budgets to develop this technology.

In the end, today’s customer expects to be engaged in a personal way across all media types, including TV.

PTV can offer this level of targeting but hasn’t been able to achieve the level of personalisation brands need.

In the UK, PTV is mainly restricted to video-on-demand (VoD) services, and although the foundations are there, the entire TV industry needs to get behind the movement and prove that PTV has a lot to offer to brands.

The human element

Having all of this technology and investing the time and effort is useless unless you are reaching humans. Ad fraud is another area where there needs to be transparency and a resolution, as it will cost the industry $7bn this year.

Identifying and eliminating ad fraud is key to ensuring the longevity of a safe and prosperous ecosystem.

One way to tackle this head on is filtering out all bot-related traffic in the pre-bid process to ensure that content only reaches real people. Having viewability is key for programmatic and advertisers need to know if their adverts are actually being seen by real eyes in a brand-safe zone.

To make this possible, advertisers need to ensure that they are working with people they trust, but without this basic foundation, there cannot be a guarantee on who or what the ads will reach.

Forming partnerships in the LUMAscape  

Consolidation is common in our industry – Yahoo and AOL are two of the oldest adtech players yet both of them have recently been acquired by Verizon.

Even though these transition periods can be tough, brands can add humour to the moves – AOL has been using marketing materials saying “Say hello to the neighbours for us #WeLoveYahoo” to show a welcoming side of the transition.

These two aren’t the first and won’t be the last of the adtech companies to consolidate. Our industry is a true test of survival and sometimes uniting is a way to rival against the monopoly that Google and Facebook have created.

Despite all of this technology that we surround ourselves with in this adtech and digital media world – centred around speed, data, AI and supercomputers – let’s not forget that human elements are still required to make it all work.

Without creativity, decision making and commercial scalability, none of the tech means anything.  

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