Video killed the radio star but programmatic didn’t kill the creative director. The 2014 DPAA Video Everywhere Summit attracted an impressive crowd of over 700 digital place-based networks, vendors and agency folk. Of the latter group, Rob Griffin, EVP Global Head of Digital at Havas, had a lot to say during the programmatic panel.
Programmatic buying was a controversial topic last year, and the 2013 DPAA event encouraged discussion about “mad men and math men”, bringing the practice into a positive light. This year’s panel seemed to digress, however, by questioning if programmatic is problematic, and Griffin was adamant that the satisfactory solution for agencies and networks is a third-party mediator. So long as it is done at scale and content is delivered in the right context, programmatic should not be a problem (at least not for networks using the panel’s sponsor, Broadsign Connect).
Programmatic aside, the bigger issue identified during the day and subsequent days at ad:tech New York, was that the “who’s who” of the agency world are so wrapped up in adapting to the changing media scape, they might overlook digital place-based features that can satisfy their needs. What are some of these changes and challenges?
Jeanine Poggi of Ad Age voiced that aggregating viewers in the transition to a post-TV world is a challenge. In the “Cross-Media/Multi Screen Strategies” panel, Stephen Tisdalle, SVP Brand Marketing at Oppenheimer Funds, stated that advertisers are “throwing traditional reach and frequency out the door” and replacing these metrics with calculated and relevant positioning and placement. Natasha Hritzuk, Senior Director of Global Consumer Insights at Microsoft echoed this by emphasizing that content must facilitate decision-making and be marketed to consumer needs, whatever the frequency of views might be.
Agencies are also recognizing that while location may be the new cookie, data is a currency that provides transparency and insight increasingly demanded by advertisers. Said Lori Hiltz, CEO at Havas, “the understanding and manipulation of data changes strategy and approach”. TV is clearly the most accountable form of media, said no one ever.
While listening to and speaking with agency representatives, it was apparent that they are at most acquaintances with digital place-based media, sometimes hesitating while stumbling over its name. Were they to become friends, they would find that post-TV viewers have already been aggregated through the likes of Adspace Networks, Captivate Network and Zoom Media. Reach and frequency can be delivered to advertisers with ease, as can ad placements depending on location, weather, time of day, audience composition or the size of a lottery jackpot. As for data, digital signage has proven to be more accurate than online.
The recurring message of ad:tech keynote speaker Mick Ebeling, founder of The Ebeling Group and the Not Impossible Foundation, was to “commit and then figure it out”. To date, perhaps the biggest problem facing the digital place-based industry was securing the attention of agencies. Under Barry Frey’s leadership, the DPAA has resolved this extremely well and brought both into the same room for the 2014 Summit. Now that this has been accomplished, it is time to address the elephant, using digital drivers and mobile matters to make digital place-based and advertisers the best of friends. We’re all committed, so let’s figure it out.