Why Betsson Group is betting on a more transparent digital media model

Tasked with ensuring all of its hefty media spend is attributed towards effective media, Nick Bamber, Betsson Group’s digital marketing and media director, reveals why the wider industry must work in unison to shine a light on the issue, unearth murky practices and root out fraudulent activity.

Nick Bamber

With iGaming proving a highly competitive industry, where punters have a multitude of options at their fingertips. As a result dozens of multinational brands are fighting to ensure they get their fair share of voice in a crowded marketplace.

Ironically, the sector which prides itself on winning, could itself be losing out to middlemen within the media supply chain. Industry experts estimate up to 50% of the headline CPM price paid is being eaten up by hidden fees between media buyer and media seller.

Speaking at Ad:Tech Europe, Nick Bamber, expalins that following a root and branch review of its programmatic and digital advertising supply chain, the Nordic iGaming operator is transforming its approach to media buying.

“Take a display campaign where the client receives a media schedule that includes metrics like impressions, reach, frequency, CPM and eCPM. Although a phrase like ‘viewability’ may be thrown in, the quoted CPM rarely reveals the actual cost of the media purchased," he states.

“It’s a tough time for the agency model. This year, the programmatic industry has taken a kicking. More than ever, brands like Betsson are seeking 100% transparency on the true costs and what actually goes into the media.

“What I’m hoping to see is a complete departure from the black box model, and a big reveal of the actual cost of the media plus all the additional fees with an agreed margin. Let’s also be clear, it’s not an agency problem, the onus is on the client to question every element of the media plan they are given. Far more rigour is required than in previous years when programmatic was less of a brand-response channel, and frankly the budgets were smaller and less significant.”

Additional fees can cover a multitude of things, such as: ad-serving, DSP cost, pre/post bid, third party viewability, data targeting ad-ons (such as location data and/or audience segments), measurement, agency fees, agency margin etc.

“Very quickly, if you’re not careful, the amount of your actual spend going toward hitting your audience can be halved," claims Bamber.

Under Bamber’s leadership, Betsson Group has been on a mission over the last 12 months to clean up its supply chain. One important step in its journey was its procurement process to find a global DSP with support from The Programmatic Advisory. Its goal was a provider that could be managed both internally by their in-house trading desk, but also configurated so agencies can plug into it.

The winner, another Nordic technology success story, Adform, will now begin an exciting new partnership to work alongside Betsson Group’s brands across all markets to ensure it isn’t paying over the odds for its media.

“The success of this partnership”, Bamber says, “is to get a bigger bang for our buck. Within our super competitive sector, it is especially important to have a winning programmatic strategy. Not unreasonably, I want as much of our marketing budget as possible to be spent on effective media.”

Betsson is not alone in trying to clean up the supply chain. Marc Pritchard at global FMCG giant P&G, kicked off this year saying he was disgusted at the “murky at best, fraudulent at worst” media supply chain.

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