Advertising Adtech Programmatic

Programmatic needs to shift to engagement-based metrics to prove its worth

By Samuel Tan | Senior director, market development for JAPAC



Opinion article

August 19, 2020 | 4 min read

Due to the current economy, brands are more vigilant than ever about the sentiment of the content on which their campaigns are placed, while uncertainty in the current climate also means their budgets are tighter. This brings increased pressure to justify ad spend and show returns on allocated advertising budgets, meaning agencies and brands need more transparency and visibility into their campaigns than ever before.


Xandr question how the changing tech landscape post lockdown will affect programmatic strategies.

The growth of screens and smart devices has also placed increased attention and pressure on video advertising to deliver results. Before the effects of Covid-19 measures were felt, online video was already predicted to account for a quarter of APAC’s entire video market by 2024 – almost a 70% increase from 2019. Now, with people staying at home, the demand for on-demand video content has skyrocketed. AMPD research found that between 20 January and 11 April, on-demand video providers Netflix, Viu, iFlix and iQiyi recorded 115%, 274%, 118% and 500% increases in consumptions respectively.

Shifting focus

With this demand comes the need for new measurement metrics to ensure that programmatic continues to be a useful tool. One solution for this is to shift the focus to engagement-based metrics, like video completion rate or cost per completed view (CPCV).

With this in mind, performance-based solutions are considered a shining light for marketers and agencies to maximise advertising budgets moving forward as they enable buying on outcomes as a currency. This is especially true for agencies and marketers looking to increase performance and minimise financial risk while improving operational efficiency.

Adding value

Advanced buying platforms can provide real value here. In the course of operating, such platforms make decisions on which impressions to bid on depending on the KPIs and targeting settings dictated by brands. Video is a relatively new platform for marketers and measurement for this poses a significant challenge. By applying predictive machine learning, we were able to develop a solution to automatically optimise bids based on the predicted completion rate of available inventory.

This means that agencies and marketers are only paying for impressions that have been played through to 100% completion across the entire open internet. This shift in how ROI can and should be measured in today’s world of evolving consumption habits is already showing results. By transitioning from pay per impression to pay per completed view, buyers in the APAC region are able to enjoy significant reductions in CPCVs, as well as improved operational efficiency.

Seeing results

The numbers are clear: buyers in Singapore have seen more than 90% reduction in cost per viewable completed view (CPCV) as compared to using their social video platforms. On the operational efficiency front, traders are freed up from manually extracting reports and optimising to completion rate or CPCV-specific metrics, saving up to 20% of their time.

As Covid-19 evolves, marketers and agencies will have to navigate a changing adtech landscape. Brands will be looking for more effective and meaningful engagements and results that will lead to a tangible return on business investments. When technology is employed thoughtfully, the adtech industry will be able to support the changing demands and requirements of brands. The key is to have a data-led, well-executed programmatic strategy, and outcomes-led measurement metrics will ensure that there is a measurable ROI on a business’s bottom line.

Samuel Tan is senior director of market development at Xandr.

Advertising Adtech Programmatic

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Xandr, a part of Microsoft Advertising, powers a global marketplace for premium advertising. Our data-enabled technology platform, encompassing Xandr Invest, Xandr Monetize, and Xandr Curate, optimizes return on investment for both buyers and sellers, while maintaining a commitment to an open marketplace and empowering the open web globally.

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