How AB InBev is using programmatic to save up to 30% on media spend

AB InBev expects to scale its programmatic buying as more accountability is brought into the sector

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity kicked off this week with ‘blockchain’ a frequently recurring term in the multitude of press releases emanating from Le Palais. Notable among them was a tie-up between drinks behemoth Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and adtech outfit Kiip, The Drum probes further.

AB InBev and Kiip announced on Monday (June 18) that they have launched the “first-ever blockchain mobile ad campaign” as part of the largest brewer in the world’s wider programmatic strategy – one it claims it helping it see up to 30% in savings in media spend.

Lucas Herscovici, AB InBev's global marketing vice president of consumer connections, insights and innovation, explains how its initial interest in the blockchain experiment – consisting of ad campaigns for brands including Bud Light, Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, Estrella Jalisco, Stella Artois, and Bud Light Lime-a-Rita – was piqued by Kiip’s mobile targeting capabilities.

“We saw blockchain-enablement as a more credible way to track and evaluate this innovative new way of serving content, giving more credibility to the results of the campaign,” adds Herscovici.

The tie-up with Kiip was also geared towards rationalizing its adtech supply chain (specifically for targeting mobile audiences) as the US-based brewer looks to further scale its programmatic buying.

“We have indeed been able to transfer meaningful investment in non-working fees to working media dollars,” adds Herscovici. “Efficiencies range on average between 10-30% depending on platform/publisher/campaign objectives.”

Foremost among the anticipated outcomes was driving further trust and accountability within media & advertising, with AB InBev also expecting the use of the technology will further help placate any concerns around online brand safety as its supply chain will be open to better scrutiny.

“We are continuing to scale and measure the results of increasing our weight of digital media spending through programmatic,” adds Herscovici.

“Our investments will likely increase as the transparency and consistency of measurement continues to improve across platforms & publishers.”

A common criticism over the use of blockchain in programmatic advertising is that the technology cannot keep pace with the rate of ad requests of automated trading.

Kiip chief executive officer Brian Wong, explains how clearing transactions is not necessary for this use case. “We're writing to the Ethereum blockchain once per hour and in the middle using a technology called IPFS to store the interim transactions (essentially a local blockchain-based storage solution),” he says.

“Most of this criticism is widely rumored and is preventing a lot of folks from even taking a first look. I encourage people to dig in and to see the new technologies that are out there (and are rolling out almost every day).”

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