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AdRoll continues global rollout with new EMEA head

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By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

March 18, 2016 | 3 min read

AdRoll was one of the major participants in this year’s IAB Tech Fronts event under the stewardship of its new EMEA MD Marius Smyth, with the retargeting company presenting research geared towards resolving historical areas of tension between media agencies and ad tech.

The US-based company flew its global president and chief marketing officer Adam Berke into town to help front its messaging with the San Francisco based executive saying the research was conducted to better understand the relationship between agency and ad tech.

The emergence of ad tech providers, some of whom have gone ‘client-direct’ in order to circumvent established agency means of doing business, has caused areas of tensiqon between media agencies and ad tech providers in certain cases.

Berke told The Drum the aim of this research was to “bring things out in the open a bit more”, highlighting that the more progressively-minded agencies are starting to reap the rewards of ad tech.

He also highlighted how the research study showed that 86 per cent of the 200 media agency execs surveyed said they are changing their business model to accommodate ad tech’s growing influence. However, there is still work to be done, with the research study also pointing to the fact that 40 per cent of participants found it difficult to develop profitable business models around their agency’s ad tech partnership.

Meanwhile, just over a third (34 per cent) of participants said their agency had bought their own ad tech company to better accommodate this trend – a trend that was recently demonstrated by GroupM’s purchase of Exchange Lab – according to the report.

The historical tension between agencies and ad tech companies is one that has been fuelled by the controversial ‘rebate debate’, i.e. where media agencies agree rebates with media owners in exchange for committing certain levels of spend at the beginning of a financial year.

This method of conducting business is controversial, indeed in the US the ANA is investigating it, and ad tech companies often complain that such trading agreements block them from many clients’ media plans.

When posed with how these models block ad tech companies from winning part of a client’s spend, Berke said that it was reasonably fair for agencies to request some kind of discount of high volume trading deals (as is custom practice in other areas of trade).

“That’s totally fair, but it shouldn’t be a revenue stream for agencies, it needs to be transparent, what’s caused the lack of trust is the lack of transparency,” he added.

AdRoll was participating as part of the IAB Tech Fronts programme, click here for a further rundown of events

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