Amid Brexit, GDPR, brand safety and ad fraud, those in the programmatic advertising space have had to endure a turbulent year.
Industry experts from Sublime, MoPub, Spotify and Havas Media took on how programmatic should evolve, speaking at The Drum’s Programmatic Punch. They explored how the programmatic eco-system is evolving.
Brexit Stage Left
Talking about Brexit, Zuzanna Gierlinkska, head of programmatic at Spotify, believes the only certainty is that there is so much uncertainty. Despite the European headquarters for Spotify being located in London, HR representatives remain unsure how to advise international staff.
“This grey area is hurting business, there's a lot of frustration coming from the economic perspective and it's about not having a definitive view yet that is holding it back," said Gierlinkska.
This uncertainty will have an impact when it comes to investment decisions or infrastructure added Eirini Polydora, strategic partner developer of MoPub at Twitter. However, she believes that this will be gradual.
"Companies will have the time to adapt gradually," she explained. "When it comes to the European technology houses, like Berlin and Paris, we need to retain our talent and resources. We are not just dealing with Brexit, but also things like GDPR."
The GDPR effect
On 25 May 2018, companies were overshadowed with the looming threat of GDPR. According to Andrew Buckman, managing director EMEA at Sublime, GDPR has prominently changed the way how businesses looks at data.
"People are starting to take their gloves off and starting to fall in line. Our demand-side platforms (DSPs) are saying that they won't buy anything without consent, our supply-side platforms (SSPs) are saying they're not going to pass it on if it doesn't have consent because, at the moment, it's all talk and no transparency.”
The positive effect, according to Hossein Houssaini, global head of programmatic at Havas Group, is that clients want to take control of their first party data, said. "Yes, it was disruptive. I helped build a programme where we trained over 50,000 people to get them ready before the 25 May. However, there's still a lot of confusion and there's a big grey zone in terms of how to collect data and how to use it."
Brand safety and ad fraud
Buckman, however, added all this doesn’t mean that the industry has gotten “Any better. There are some good players in the mix. However, going forward the pressure on margins is forcing people to make a choice between whether or not you just deliver ads or do you invest in the backend at potentially a big cost going forward. The industry is moving in the right direction, but there are a lot of bad actors out there."
In some instances, according to Gierlinkska, brands are demanding 100% viewability on every single component that they are executing but they're still buying cheap media. "There's got to be a balance. But there is a positive shift, there is a broader awareness."
If we're honest with ourselves, we've all come across fraud at some point or another, said Polydora. Where Havas Media has noticed a real change is in where the responsibility lies and who is looking over that. "The dialogue has massively shifted, and brands are no longer saying the responsibility is up to their agencies. They are getting hands-on with it."
2018 game changers
A lot has happened in 2018, according to the panel. Header bidding has evolved, the adoption of audio programmatic by major platforms is on the rise, and Amazon is growing at an exponential rate.
Buckman concluded: "We will see some more consolidation in the market, between the different DSPs and SSPs and how they up their game to be able to provide more value and more response to what the market actually needs."
Polydora, Gierlinkska, Houssaini, and Buckman were all panelists on the Evolution of Programmatic session at The Drum Programmatic Punch 2018. Register your interest for 2019 here.
MoPub and Sublime were sponsors of this event.