More Tradigital Takeaways from Marketing Magazine’s Programmatic Trading Conference

My last post was an account of insights gathered from Marketing Magazines’ Programmatic Trading Conference on emerging technology that will transform TV buying. Today we dive into the Canadian market and some of the concerns that advertisers and agencies have which play into their reluctance to adopt this fairly mature technology.

Paul Briggs, eMarketer’s Canadian analyst referenced results from Media Experts’ 2013 Q4 Programmatic Report and went on to say that these are early days for Canada in the programmatic space. Our research suggests a mixed uptake by advertisers but growth is likely to be stable for the next four years. At present, the Canadian market is worth about $200m and two key growth areas moving forward will be video and programmatic direct.

There was a lot of discussion around ad viewability, which is really a non-issue when it comes to tactical campaigns bought on performance measures. We also have very little research to back up viewability claims in offline media, this is just a case of advertisers looking at the wrong numbers. Bob Rupczynski of Kraft listed viewability as one of the major challenges for programmatic, along with brand safety issues, challenges reaching desired frequencies and store-level accountability in the case of retail. Interestingly, even though Kraft has built a DMP to utilize the mountains of consumer data the company collects through various touch points – the company sees agencies as an integral part in crafting approaching for programmatic advertising. Bob dismissed the idea that Kraft would take this in house, as it would likely require significant learning, staffing and maintenance resources on their end.

This was a nice segue into the ethical considerations and trade-offs of managing an agency trading desks (ATDs) – led by Raymond Reid. Consensus was that ATDs add value for clients, reduce wastage and are a source of revenue for agencies that are experiencing shrinking margins as the industry matures and clients are faced with increasing accountability. The insights extracted from such capabilities also help inform media choices, at Media Experts we frequently rely on search insights as well to optimize offline campaigns. At the end of the day, ATDs pose no conflict of interest as long as agencies are transparent and care about a client’s business as if it was their own. It may be surprisingly intuitive, but it’s certainly not common sense.

The event took at darker turn as James Aitken, CEO of Exchange Labs predicted 80% of advertising to be bought programmatically by 2024 with the bubble bursting as more dollars and competition for audience eyes flows into the market. Andrew Casale of Casale Media pointed out that there are limits to the programmatic buying model as Standard IABs can only attract so much attention. Eventually, audiences will grow resistant and tired so there is a real need to make new units available programmatically to combat ad blindness and declining interest – perhaps through multi-sensory techniques or using by sensory metaphors. One thing is for certain, programmatic buying will continue to transform and add value to client marketing efforts, especially as it finally picks up some steam in Canada.