The panel session featured Phil Cowlishaw, head of technology, Ikon Communications; Pete Mitchell, global media innovations director, Mondelez International; and Cindy Deng, MD, Asia-Pacific at Turn. Campaign Asia-Pacific managing editor Jason Wincuinas served as moderator.
Wincuinas: How do you view using programmatic as part of an overall branding strategy?
Cowlishaw: Programmatic provides and allows us to take customers through a journey, using data and technology. It also enables us to engage with consumers across multiple touchpoints and measures that.
Wincuinas: Can you talk a bit about where programmatic has come from and how you see the evolution taking place?
Mitchell: Necessity is the mother of invention. Programmatic comes out of a requirement to be more efficient. It allows us to get more specific about the audiences we talk to, segment those audiences, and drive more efficiency in terms of cost response. FMCG companies have been a bit lax in this department. We’ve not been at the forefront, but that’s starting to change. Programmatic is ever more important. For us, we have to get smart with how we do that. Although we’re not selling online, we are looking to ramp up intent to purchase. We are signing global deals with the likes of TubeMogul and are mapping a strategy and a higher-level roadmap. Data management is the future as we move more of our media dollars into digital.
Wincuinas: What are some of the ways a demand-side platform or a programmatic approach in general fits in with these more traditional campaigns?
Deng: Traditionally, RTB has been associated with low cost inventory. The ecosystem is changing, and technology companies are enabling brands to feel safe, bringing traditional campaigns into the fold. One key driver is the availability of higher-quality inventory and various mechanisms to access it. A lot of brands spend quite a bit of money building their brand image and they need to be fiercely protective of it. Another area of improvement is leveraging and incorporating first-, second- and third-party data available in the marketplace and making it more actionable in the real-time marketplace. This helps target audiences in a more accurate way. Finally, programmatic allows brands to centralise cross-channel campaigns. Consumers are using multiple mediums in a much more fragmented way. Brands that market messages across channels can leverage real-time data and feedback across channels to create better messaging and understand why campaign messaging is working.
Wincuinas: What are some of the parameters a brand should think about when it’s setting out in this direction?
Mitchell: We want to be more efficient in terms of gathering information and going back to potential customers. At the moment that’s not our approach, but it needs to be. My job internally is to get the organisation to understand this. We will get there. Getting things aligned in terms of right partners, capturing and harnessing data and the cost savings are the side effect of that, but not a primary reason for doing it.
Wincuinas: Are there things that are more important when designing an online campaign for image-building versus transaction driving? Are there certain results you should be looking to measure?
Cowlishaw: We shouldn’t be looking at serving the most impressions, but having the most impactful ones. The end game for us is to serve fewer impressions with higher CPMs. The real beauty is about understanding consumer engagement, for instance, how 18- to 24-year-old males use the internet. Things like that can potentially change the overall media plan.
Wincuinas: Are there tools available within a system like this to help guide?
Deng: We have to understand who the users are. In combination with third-party data that’s already incorporated, brands can build a rich profile of who their users are. Overlay survey results on top of that and you get deeper results of who your audience is. That information can help adjust campaign messaging. We do work with various survey measurement companies and are able to gather results while the campaign is still running, tailor it and understand how effective it is.
Wincuinas: Let’s talk about the creative angle a bit here. Creative work is a huge part of building a brand image. But the tools we're talking about, data and RTB are things Don Draper probably would have trouble recognizing.
Cowlishaw: I think for me the Don Draper analogy is interesting. It’s not that big ideas and concepts are going away. We’re simply creating smaller segments. We’re using digital for the power that it is. So what we’re doing now is building smaller segmentation. Not all people are created equal. There are customers who behave in different ways based on various different metrics. Advertising agencies are starting to catch up.
Mitchell: Programmatic is fluid and advertising should be fluid. We’re talking about agile processes. Start with observation, putting a campaign into market and understanding its impact. We’re starting to see this following last night’s Luis Suarez incident [the footballer was accused of biting his opponent]. Creatives have already gone out with the campaign. That’s what we need to do.
Wincuinas: How can you integrate social media and get that amplification?
Deng: We are working in a cross-channel environment. Right now we’re only focusing on Facebook, but that ultimately could change as additional demand drives it. RTB can deliver scale and still be able to personalise messages. That ability to scale the activity whether the user is on Facebook or watch a video on YouTube, to me is the power of RTB.
Wincuinas: Is there a structural change that needs to happen with companies to get fluidity out of programmatic?
Mitchell: Yes there is. We see success coming out of media, digital and social agencies. They get it. The legacy creative agencies are the stumbling block that still want ownership. Things have changed fundamentally and getting the organisation internally to understand it is my job. Internally, there’s still a job to be done.
Wincuinas: How do you address brand safety? Are people worried about where their messages will appear?
Cowlishaw: Brands are very concerned about where their ads appear. There’s a natural concern that they don’t appear against misaligned content. There’s been discussion around change of inventory in the market place. We’re seeing an influx of endemic publishers coming into the ecosystem. We have rigorous guidelines. We activate only on customized site lists. Content on the page is just as important as the domain the ad is being served on. We work with various ad verification companies that enable us to get better at understanding where the ads are appearing. We have a strict policy to adhere to. A big part of that is if we can ensure that our advertisers are only appearing on premium high quality publishers and content they wish to be associated with.
Mitchell: I know a lot of advertisers are concerned about that. You build a whitelist of sites and blacklist. Programmatic buying is not a cheap way of buying arbitrage inventory. Don’t treat it like an additional line item that goes into a media plan.
Deng: There’s lot of mechanism in place for brands to control where ads appear. We work with lots of third-party verification tools.
Wincuinas: Is the data available now enough to drive campaigns or are we still looking for more?
Mitchell: We’re still waiting for third-party data. It’s not as sophisticated as Europe and the US. That will change. At the moment it’s about building your own data.
Deng: Yes, it’s not as robust as Europe and North America. It is increasing and more players are participating. Brands need to understand the power of their own data and not just online website data but even offline data. CRM, email marketing and point of sale haven’t been fully harnessed.