Programmatic trading is like ‘teenage sex’, says Google’s VP of Europe Matt Brittin


By Jessica Davies | News Editor

July 11, 2014 | 4 min read

“Programmatic trading is like teenage sex – everyone is talking about it, everyone thinks everybody else is doing it when they’re not, and those who are doing it probably aren’t doing it very well,” Google’s VP of northern and central Europe Matt Brittin has said.

Speaking at Google’s first ever UK event dedicated to programmatic trading yesterday at Bafta in London, Brittin appealed to its audience of marketers to not let jargon and hype detract from the importance of adopting the trading method.

He stressed that the method of programmatic ad trading should not be viewed as “dark arts” and instead urged marketers to start testing their use of it, if they hadn’t already done so, to safeguard future success.

“The challenge with this is that language totally gets in the way for all of us. Anything to do with technology, you find language gets in the way.

“We now have all the power of the internet in our pockets – we call it our phone but how often do you make phone calls? You know usually when you do it’s with your parents.

“We are at the stage where we have all this technology in one device and we are using yesterday’s language to describe it,” he said.

Like many new markets the jargon around the programmatic sector has become confusing, and needs to be eradictad, according to Brittin.

“In the simplest, jargon-free definition of programmatic trading is this – using technology to do more, faster, and get smarter as you go,” he said.

In time what we do across all screens, will be derived from how we do it on the web, which is why programmatic trading should be so “vital” to advertisers, according to Brittin.

Yet he stressed the fact marketers are already using programmatic in ways they perhaps aren't aware of, given the fact the whole trading mechanism is modeled on the auction-based bidding system of paid search.

"Search is programmatic. The whole reason Google has been successful is because we try to understand exactly what you're looking for, to give you the answer in real time on any device in any place in the world.

"Understanding that intent, having that relevance and personalisation at scale is what we have done and what advertisers must do to reach their customers."

To meet or even be ahead of consumers changing expectations and demands across all screens, marketers must focus on three core points: "Show up and understand what the 'moments that matter' are in your customers lives, and if you're not showing up, who of your competitors are."

He referenced Salman Rushdie's former quote that the web has become a "vomiting of information", but added that becoming wise to how to use data to help navigate it, is crucial.

"You must think about what are the ways you can use to get smarter with the data points - which is what programmatic can help you with.

The third key factor is to "speed up", and ensure you're keeping up with consumers.

"I don't just mean in terms of real-time decision making when it comes to what content to show people, but also in product development, trends development and how to position yourselves to consumers. With speed here will become competitive advantage," he added.

More from the event to follow on The Drum.


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