Marketing, Artificial Intelligence & Analytics for the Modern Marketer
Boston — December 18, 2018 Today, Digilant — a programmatic media buying services company — introduced MAIA: Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics. This straightforward yet powerful infrastructure will be used to power DIGILANT and offers advertisers the harmonious combination of programmatic power and human derived insights, in one easy-to-use solution. According to a recent report by Forrester, no one DSP or ad-tech platform exists that addresses the full range of omni-channel buying needs. As a result, marketers are forced to stitch together a patchwork of disparate platforms, inventory and data sources to address their requirements — and then rely on these programs built on wobbly infrastructure to measure, analyze and predict consumer behavior.
“The existing set of online advertising solutions is conceptually inadequate for what marketers need to be successful in 2019 and beyond”, says Raquel Rosenthal, CEO of Digilant. “This year we made it a priority to address this gaping hole in the digital advertising solutions landscape, and we think we nailed it with MAIA.”
Never before have marketers been forced to be so adept across so many channels, or has it been such an ongoing challenge to serve up “the right ads, to the right audience, at the right time and cost”. With dozens and sometimes hundreds of dynamic digital channels to manage on even a single campaign, media buyers find themselves at the mercy of systems and software that are often either disconnected altogether, have loose and unreliable connections, or report on questionable metrics. The result is advertisers exposed to potential overspending, fraud and brand safety concerns.
Enter MAIA – Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics for the modern marketer.
According to eMarketer, 73% of U.S. marketing professionals find it difficult to get quality reporting and insights from their data sources. And in our experience at Digilant, the crux of the problem is a combination of an over-reliance on technology and not enough involvement of insightful and experienced digital advertising professionals.
This is the issue MAIA addresses head-on. Unlike existing marketplace solutions, MAIA brings people and technology together, creating the perfect blend of strategy, insight and efficiency that helps drive marketing teams to successful outcomes. MAIA intelligently makes sense of massive data sets, and with the constant support and guidance from the Digilant operations and analytics teams, leads advertisers to more efficient media buys, better decision-making, and media optimization across multiple channels — resulting in superior ROAS and overall performance.
With the introduction of MAIA, Digilant is now able to offer Digital Advertising Solutions for agencies and brands that blends both human expertise and curated technology to generate intelligent insights activated through cross-channel campaigns.
“I’ve been in the Internet advertising industry for more than 20 years,” says Digilant CEO Raquel Rosenthal, “and I can tell you that MAIA solves the single biggest challenge that media buyers face today, and that’s multichannel management and optimization. There’s nothing in the marketplace that comes close to the features and functionality of MAIA.”
MAIA’s infrastructure was built to combat the future complexities of the advertising industry and allows marketers to effectively use billions of collected and analyzed data points. This data is sourced from over 250+ log level feeds, API’s and server-to-server level integrations with partners and channels. MAIA’s AWS powered technology directly feeds in to Digilant’s fully integrated Data Management Platform and Data Mining Console.
MAIA, by Digilant, offers media buyers and brands:
Omni-channel media buying and execution
Privileged access to the highest-quality markets and media
Real-time, extensible data management based on people, not cookies
A proprietary data layer combined with AI, built from real transactions
Extensible decisioning and machine learning platform, and customizable attribution framework
The best human insights from people with programmatic know-how
The modern marketing operation requires both programmatic power and human expertise to be successful, and MAIA accurately measures, analyzes and predicts customer personas, behaviors and motives. The platform uses data as a currency, to not only build the most accurate audiences to target, but to give brands the ability to see the whole picture – how strategy, data, inventory and reporting work together. And then the ability act on those insights to consistently learn and achieve better results campaign-over-campaign.
Digilant is a programmatic buying company, designed for both agencies and brands. We connect people and technology to create a perfect blend of strategy, insight and efficiency that will elevate any marketing team to find massive success. We also support advertisers who are moving towards programmatic self-sufficiency by aligning them with and training them on the right set of programmatic platforms and technologies. Using MAIA (Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics) – the harmonious combination of machine power and human expertise behind all things DIGILANT — we intelligently navigate massive data sets. MAIA enables marketers to use data as a currency to generate more efficient media buys, make better informed decisions, optimize and drive performance across all digital channels and campaigns. Digilant is an ispDigital Group Company. For more information, visit us at www.digilant.com, read our blog or follow us on Twitter @Digilant_US.
Digilant And HealthLink Dimensions Partner To Help MarketersGo All-In On Digital
Boston — November 15, 2018 Today, Digilant, a programmatic media buying services company, announced that to address a pressing market need, Digilant and HealthLink Dimensions have joined forces to create a powerful partnership, specifically designed to address the demands of healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing executives by offering:
Industry leading programmatic power
The best deterministic physician and health care provider data
Insightful and practical analysis from experts
“We’re very optimistic about the new alignment with HealthLink Dimensions,” says Raquel Rosenthal, CEO at Digilant. “We’ve been delivering programmatic solutions to brands all over the world for more than a decade, and the healthcare category is ripe for digital marketing innovation.”
Health marketers are facing more challenges than ever before, in addition to having to wrangle with the steady drumbeat of regulatory and HIPAA issues that require constant attention. Indeed, the perfect storm of proliferating data and an influx of new marketing technologies has resulted in an environment never before experienced by many of even the most accomplished marketers.
As a result, healthcare marketing executives are encountering myriad new complexities, like keeping pace with technology adoption, generating a steady stream of news to fill social media channels they never used before, and addressing the ongoing challenges of targeting the right audiences without being limited by scale.
According to eMarketer, health marketers are lagging inordinately in adopting programmatic, as compared with their peers in other industry categories. Indeed, programmatic penetration is 4X as higher across other U.S. sectors, with programmatic accounting for 19% of healthcare digital advertising budgets versus 80% elsewhere.
However, operating behind-the-programmatic-curve is also understandable, given the unique challenges that healthcare advertisers must navigate. With that said, healthcare marketers can no longer afford to keep programmatic off the table. On the contrary, well-funded and lean upstarts are nipping at the heels of industry behemoths, so marketers need to learn how to maneuver the current digital marketing landscape as quickly as possible in order to maintain market-leading positions.
That’s where the Digilant and HealthLink Dimensions partnership seeks to fill a void: by helping health marketers pursue innovative initiatives aggressively but also safely and successfully. It’s time for health and pharma to go “all-in” on digital, by effectively embracing all of the available channels and quality data to achieve advertising goals, while also gaining scale and efficiency.
After many years of encountering all sorts of roadblocks on the road to innovation, health marketers are now able to make digital marketing a reality in their organizations, whether it be medical devices, specialty products, or services. And whether the target audience involves patients, providers, or payers – digital advertising can play a meaningful role in getting the job done.
“With Digilant’s expertise in the functional area of programmatic advertising, and our focus on quality healthcare data, we’re excited to bring our unique partnership to clients, and help them accelerate their online marketing capabilities,” says Kevin Guthrie, president of HealthLink Dimensions.
Specifically, the Digilant and HealthLink Dimensions partnership provides healthcare marketing organizations with support on multiple fronts, including:
Efficiency. For good reason, programmatic has a bad reputation in some circles due to concerns about waste, fraud and lack of transparency. There are few credible experts that can help advertisers avoid programmatic pitfalls and optimize ROAS, and with more than a decade of experience in the category, we offer unique expertise.
Scale. Proving a tactic or strategy to be successful is one thing; applying it to a global operation and at significant scale is quite another. Our hands-on experience with global brands and international footprint allows us to support clients’ far-reaching programmatic goals.
Tactics. Strategy and planning are critical to successful campaigns, of course, but day-to-day tactical support is where campaigns succeed or fail. We partner with clients every step of the way, in the form of employing deterministic data to pursue specific audience groups, activating proven techniques like look-alike and retargeting, and using third party data to broaden reach and penetration.
Innovation. One of the more popular words in the general business lexicon these days, ‘innovation’ is genuinely underway in the healthcare marketing category. As a result of the stifling regulatory conditions in the aftermath of HIPAA, digital marketing has been slower to evolve in the healthcare category, as compared to early adopters like retail, hospitality, and entertainment. As a result, we’re on the cusp of halcyon days for healthcare marketers that are transforming their organizations to be digital-centric and incorporating the latest technologies and techniques to both deepen existing customer relationships but also develop new ones.
Digilant is a programmatic buying company, designed for both agencies and brands. We connect people and technology to create a perfect blend of strategy, insight and efficiency that will elevate any marketing team to find massive success. We also support advertisers who are moving towards programmatic self-sufficiency by aligning them with and training them on the right set of programmatic platforms and technologies.
Using MAIA – Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics – the harmonious combination of machine power and human expertise behind all things DIGILANT, we intelligently navigate massive data sets. MAIA enables marketers to use data as a currency to generate more efficient media buys, make better informed decisions, optimize and drive performance across all digital channels and campaigns.
HealthLink Dimensions provides healthcare data solutions to healthcare and life science organizations to improve master data management, compliance and marketing initiatives. Leveraging the largest multi-sourced database of active practicing healthcare professionals, HealthLink Dimensions develops customized data solutions to help clients reach their target audience, enrich their business data, optimize claims processing, meet compliance requirements and solve master data quality problems. Based in Atlanta, GA, HealthLink Dimensions is one of America’s fastest-growing private companies on the Inc. 5000 list, and one of Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™.
In mid-August, Netflix announced that they are going to start testing running advertisements between episodes – or as they referred to them, “recommendations… [to help] members discover stories they will enjoy faster.” And no surprise, subscribers are not impressed with the concept and has caused significant backlash. Netflix, until now, had set themselves apart from their competitors such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube, because their platform was completely ad free. So, even if Netflix’s intentions behind implementing these “suggestions” are actually meant to improve user experience – it brings up the age old question of why viewers are so opposed to ads? What lengths they will go to to avoid watching ads? And most importantly, how do marketers and digital advertisers keep our users engaged and interested enough so that they don’t feel the urge to push the “skip ad” button.
CNBC covered a study written by IPG stating that 65% of viewers will push the skip ad button as soon as it becomes an available option. But even more interesting is that, 76% of those people were also reported to do so out of habit, “[as] an ingrained behavior.” It is clear that viewers are so accustomed to ads, because they experience them in video, on social media, and listening to music on a daily basis, that they have become wired to skip them. For digital advertisers this is an opportunity to improve the experience enough so that audiences feel both engaged and interested in the content being offered to them, rather than annoyed.
Advertisers need to tell a good story in the language that addresses their audience. Advertising can’t just focus on pushing features and functionality, but rather engage with the viewer in order to tell them who their brand is and why they should pay attention.This doesn’t need to be complex or lengthly, but actually the shorter the better, since the average viewer only watches the first 5.5 seconds of a 15 second pre-roll ad. Advertisers have to pack a lot into those couple of seconds, needing to effectively tell their story in an engaging way that keeps the audience’s’ attention and encourages them to interact with their brand. To encourage viewers from skipping ads on YouTube, NBC showed cute images with messages that read, ““Only a monster would skip a video of a bunny in a bucket…Enjoy a moment of goodness, and maybe, just maybe, you will end up in the good place” to promote Season 3 of their hit-sitcom, “The Good Place.” Viewers that didn’t skip over the ad were rewarded with a sneak peak of Season 3. This successful storytelling technique not only promoted users not to skip the ad, but to actually engage with the content being presented.
Make it Relevant
eMarketer projects that by 2020, video ad spending will reach $19.81 billion. With mass amounts marketing dollars going toward this platform, advertisers need to ensure they are targeting the right audience. With the growing capabilities of programmatic video, the ability to contextually target a person with the appropriate message, timing and content is in now possible. Brands who use a combined DMP and DSP for their programmatic video buys have the ability to learn about their users in an efficient way so that they can deliver ads with content that they will not want to ‘skip’ in the right context of the video content being consumed. Programmatic media buyers also have the option of using Dynamic Creative Optimization technology (DCO) which enables them to create and test different creative options, automatically and simultaneously, and identify which ad gets the best consumer engagement. Tactics like this, that enable advertisers to match individual consumers specific interests, exemplify why 60% of video ad spend money is going toward programmatic video, with that number only estimated to grow in the coming years.
Online video advertising is rapidly dominating the advertising atmosphere. However, today it’s not enough to create a one size fits all ad creative, if brands want to combat ‘the skip button,’ otherwise their dollars spent on this tactic, will be wasted. Viewers are less likely to skip an ad with a unique and interesting story, even more so, if the story interests them personally. Programmatic video advertising combined with user data and great creative offers a huge opportunity for advertisers to keep audiences less inclined to dislike advertising enough to skip it all together. If you are interested in learning more or talking about how to improve your video strategy, reach out to us here.
It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost over. Looking back, at Digilant, we’ve been quite busy. For the marketing team it’s been a summer for making moves. Both our lead generation specialist, Mitchell Carey, and content marketing specialist, Sierra Ducey, found themselves hopping coasts and continents. A nimble and global team, Sierra the San Diegan transitioned from going to school and interning at Digilant to permanently relocating to Boston and working as a full time employee, while lifelong Bostonian Mitchell, packed his bags to work on a project in Barcelona. We caught up with these programmatic marketers to see how their summers have panned out.
This summer has definitely been full of unexpected but very welcome surprises – one in particular that I’ll never forget. After working here at Digilant in Boston for a little over a year, my supervisor, Digilant’s VP of Marketing, Karen Moked, brought up a project in the Iberoamerican market that one of our colleagues in Barcelona might appreciate some assistance with. Initially, I was under the impression that getting involved in the project would require working on some brand positioning from the comfort of our new office. However, shortly after the project was mentioned, Karen asked if I’d be willing to temporarily relocate to Barcelona. For a bit of background, Digilant forms part of ispDigital, a holding group founded by the Rodés family through their family office, Inversiones y Servicios Publicitarios (ISP). Barcelona is home to ISP’s headquarters. After what were two very interesting months, I’m back and ready to go full speed ahead with our team here in the U.S.
While in Barcelona I observed a number of unique differences in the market that influenced digital advertising throughout the summer. From a more engaged World Cup public, greater emphasis on multicultural marketing as advertisers targeted various regional, national, and international audiences all found in one city, and the very high precedence that GDPR compliance took for brands within the EU, I learned that just like any campaign, the Spanish market applies its own custom solutions to run programmatic. All of these characteristics of the Spanish market have a direct impact on how Digilant analyzes, manipulates, and activates data to create effective digital marketing strategies for our clients in Europe.
Another very interesting experience during my time abroad was getting to know Acceso, a media and consumer intelligence consultancy and fellow ispDigital company. I happened to arrive just before the AMEC (Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) Global Summit, one of the largest digital communications industry events of the year that Acceso participated in as the headline sponsor. The three day conference was chock-full of workshops, networking sessions, panels, and lively discussion on all things measurement, including PR KPIs, AI & blockchain’s role in communication, data analytics, and more. Back in Beantown, I’m happy to be reunited with all of my friends, family, and the Digilant U.S. team, but am excited to stay in touch with the colleagues I’ve met abroad and continue to learn more about programmatic and digital advertising from across the pond.
At the Boston office, we began our summer with a big office move – well really, just down the hall. But, with a more open layout and great views of the Financial District, we have quickly fallen in love with our new space (and we’re still able to hit all of our favorite lunch spots!). In the midst of the move, we hosted a great Dinner Panel that covered all things Blockchain. With attendees from a variety of companies all over New England, our speakers, Dave Balter, Partner atFlipside Crypto, Isaac Lidsky, President at Underscore CLT and ErichWasserman, CoFounder ofMediaMathshared their thoughts and predictions on how blockchain will affect advertisers, publishers and everyday people. After an insightful conversation and delicious dinner, we were surprised with a great fireworks show over the Boston Harbor. It was quite the way to kick off the summer!
Personally, I’ve had a blast working on some of my own projects. These projects have really advanced my understanding of marketing and programmatic – learning tactics and practices that aren’t touched on very thoroughly in school. In May, Digilant launched a programmatic campaign for our company. Going through the process of creating content, finding the right segments and watching the campaign through gave me great insight into Digilant’s business practices. We have also been revamping out direct mail campaigns, a strategy that was not focused on in my classes, but that I believe is a very effective use of time and resources. In school, there is so much focus on digital trends and taking advantage of technology, so this was my first real exposure to mail campaigns, a great way of getting back to the roots of marketing. There’s no denying, everyone loves receiving packages so coming up with fun ideas to get potential client’s attention has been a fun challenge for me.
To finish out the summer, we welcomed Mitchell back from his summer travels at our Office Summer Luau Party. In the coming weeks, as I officially transition from college student to full-time employee continues, I’m excited to learn more and challenge myself in the world of programmatic marketing.
Summer may be winding down, but as fall approaches, marketers and advertisers need to be prepared for their media buying to ramp up. Looking to get in touch with a team of dedicated programmatic experts to plan your next digital media buying campaign? Check out our customized media buying solutions.
It’s a message we’ve been hearing percolate through the industry now for years: programmatic is the future of advertising. Brands, in search of more control over their media buying activity, have embraced technology-based approaches that promise efficiency, precision, flexibility, and superior ROI. Warts and all — and there are plenty, ranging from flat-out false value propositions to rampant fraud and monopolistic marketplace control by actor behaving badly — programmatic is here to stay.
Media planners and buyers have arrived at this conclusion, however begrudgingly. But other participants in the advertising ecosystem — designers, copywriters, developers, and publishers — are wading into programmatic territory in earnest now as well. Here’s what they need to know about programmatic.
Audiences Increasingly Rely on Programmatic-Driven Experiences
Digital users — across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones — increasingly expect tailored experiences, from both independent and sponsored content. And the most the efficient way to deliver custom experiences is via programmatic platforms.
For progressive advertising professionals, this is a welcomed opportunity (more on that later). Technology companies and developers benefit from this market evolution via an increased need for their solutions and services. Publishers, however, don’t have much of a choice in this regard. In order to encourage engagement, and minimize the deployment of inhibitive tools such as ad blockers, user experience must be a paramount consideration. Content providers that deliver optimal UX — which includes unobtrusive but effective advertising, such as native tactics — will win in the long run.
Dynamic Ad Creative Is a Genuine Game-Changer
One of the underlying historical maxims of the ad business has been its aim to distribute messages “to the right person, at the right time, at the right cost.” Though this has typically been more aspirational than realistic (and a regular source of frustration for creative professionals in particular) technology-enabled advertising does genuinely provide the opportunity for more specific customization.
To be sure, as a broader umbrella category, “digital marketing” was a step in the right direction on the road to customization (and what will eventually be widespread “personalization”). But due to a combination of hypergrowth conditions and the lack of internal structures to accommodate customization, the industry as a whole has lagged in this regard. As a recent BCG analysis explains, “Within both agencies and publishers, organizational silos with little cross-functional interaction lead to excessive work and rework, including costly handovers, long wait times, and fragmented decision making.”
Programmatic seems poised to serve as the bridge to genuine, industry-wide progress on the customization front. In a few short years, most campaigns will adjust art and messaging to accommodate fluid factors such as time of day, geography, demographics, user interests and behaviors, and the like. This will almost certainly improve campaign performance. It will also impact the underlying cost structure of campaign delivery. This will require more creative labor, for example, so the net ROI effect remains to be seen.
The Programmatic Train Has Left The Station
Like “digital” before it, programmatic will likely lose its specific designation over the next decade, and morph into a marketing channel line item or equivalent. But until it does, it will continue to be popular fodder for industry publications and conferences. And not without good reason. Most estimates peg the U.S. programmatic marketplace in the tens of billions of dollars annually, and growing in the double-digit range. eMarketer sizes the market at $46 billion in 2018, and comprising more than 80% of the entire digital display category, and a major factor in mobile advertising.
That said, in spite of its formidable size and growth forecast, all is not well in the programmatic category, and brands, publishers, and vendors alike are scrambling to address problems related to the big three challenges: fraud, transparency, and viewability. To wit, also according to eMarketer analysis: programmatic growth through 2020 will be driven by “private setups, such as private marketplaces (PMPs) and programmatic direct transactions, as buyers continue to be wary of the open markets’ transparency and quality issues”. [Disclosure: DCN is involved in one such marketplace, TrustX.]
It’s both an exciting and terrifying time to be part of the advertising business. Brand, publishers, and agencies alike are scrambling to navigate the constantly shifting terrain that’s characterized by tens of thousands of vendors competing for share and voice. Programmatic is one of the driving forces of disruption and upheaval in our industry today, and will play a big role in shaping the industry for years to come.
About the author
Raquel Rosenthal is the Chief Executive Officer of Digilant US, a programmatic marketing company headquartered in Boston. A digital industry veteran, she’s held various senior positions at Digilant, DataXu, AudienceScience, and DoubleClick. Raquel splits time between Dallas and New York City, and holds a B.S. from Ithaca College.
On Tuesday, June 12th, Digilant hosted a dinner panel in Boston titled “What Marketers & Media Buyers Need to Know About Blockchain.”Anagram’s Chief Executive Officer, Adam Cahill, moderated a discussion about the complexity and opinions on where blockchain is headed and how marketers, media planner and consumers will be affected with the following leading experts on the topic:
When discussing blockchain, most people have a very general idea of what it is – something to do with cryptocurrency, transparency, or monetary safety. But, when it comes to how blockchain is implemented, used and especially how it will affect marketing, media and consumers, most people are not well versed. Experts, like Dave, Isaac and Erich expressed their thoughts during the evening and gave their opinion on how best to prepare and stay up to date on changes due to blockchain.
This is my summary of what was said and what I took away from the event and not word for word for how the speakers answered each question.
Adam kicked off the event with the first question: What problems is blockchain designed to solve?
Isaac took to answering this question with an analogy that dates back thousands of years – dozens of commanders are defending their army and they need to coordinate their action, they need to decide to attack or retreat. Obviously, if they act correctly, everything will work great, however, the worst thing that can happen is if they don’t act in coordination. Within their army, there are messengers, which you can choose to trust, with the hope that they aren’t lying. Through all the chaos, they must come to a consensus on a truth of the situation and decide on what plan will work best. Blockchain is the first time we are able to solve the problem in a meaningful way, which doesn’t necessarily yield trust, but facilitates a conversation that everyone can take as the truth. So to draw a direct analogy, in the world of bitcoin, the general’s are the million of people that want to trade. These people need to decide who has how much and who needs to give what to whom. With the increasing complexity of ad tech – over 2000 tech providers and any given campaign you can invoke dozens of them and that will serve one ad to one person – we can now solve this very effectively. With blockchain, there is the ability to (1) solve longstanding structural issues in the industry and (2) solve the dumb pipes of the internet that weren’t meant to survive, bringing about a whole new generation of innovation, models and tools. Erich joined in stating that blockchain is going to solve everything. Through all the issues that ad tech and digital marketing face, the consumer is the victim. Blockchain is in its infancy, people are talking and trying to figure out what they think. The companies who are quickly and aggressively creating a solution are a mess because it is such an early start. However, from this mess, applications that answer some of these questions will emerge, some taking longer than others.
Adam then asked Dave to play the role of contraire, to which he responded that out of ten possible use cases, there’s a handful of real cases where blockchain would help and ad tech is is at the top of that list. For ad tech, the problems really need to be solved. But he questioned, can blockchain change a company from the inside? Will you start adding blockchain or will you have to rebuild from the technology from scratch? People are saying they will start from the inside, but it isn’t happening. He posed the question if it can really be done?
Erich responded stating that after 22 years of ad tech, it would be ironic if this was the answer, if we are going to use the “stuff” we have today. The “stuff” we have today is bubblegum and duct tape – a quick, easy fix that isn’t sustainable.
Inspired from Erich’s response, Adam asked him why after all the different fields he has found success in and companies he has started, he planted his roots in ad tech?
Erich stated that he is a believer in ad tech, not to say it is without problems. He was surprised to see, after significant research, that many of the problems that ad tech is facing today, stem from the late 90s. Blockchain is new, it’s misunderstood, misapplied and many people say they have the solution. However, when you take into account that there is an opportunity to completely change the industry, there is a generation one opportunity to roll out some core functions that would sit next to and eventually replace that technology. His choice to work in ad tech was deliberate. He believes there is an opportunity to develop a new standard platform that will only succeed with adoption. But, they will get it done.
Adam turned to the audience as someone was curious to learn who profits from the current model? And if this were to start from the roots up, that would mean people are demanding this type of transparency. So, who can block this? Or who would be an objector?
After Dave joked that he’s the guy who isn’t benefiting from the current model, he went on to explain that the finance industry is taking their slice from everyone else. Everyone wants to maintain their part and when you insert something new, everyone wants their piece to be protected. However, no one gets a piece until we use this new system. You would need a consortium of the biggest companies who come together and break down the whole system. It would start from no one getting anything, building back up, and forcing big companies to join in. Naturally people are going to resist.
Erich jumped off of Dave’s point to say that there are people making more money than they should because the inefficiency is bigger than it should be. There are structural imbalances, frauds in the marketplace, vendors of dubious value and people are unclear what the contribution to the value actually is. We are in need of a mechanism to go deeper into the ad impression and see what the vendors are doing to the plan. Doing this would add a lot of value because as of now, lots of people are profiting but not off the right denominator.
Isaac concluded the answers to the question simply stating that there is no doubt that it is a big deal to get an industry to adopt a new idea. It is a challenge but that’s why it is interesting.
The next question also came from someone in the audience who asked how long they thought it would take for this to come to fruition?
Erich first stated the cop out answer that this will come to fruition during our lifetime, continuing to say that the real answer requires a conversation with publishers. There is an iterative way to roll this out that will provide accountability and legitimize the technology, all of which through new innovation. He concluded saying that he sees this happening in five to ten years.
After hearing those numbers, Adam asked if Erich thought it would be possible to see something like this happen in the next year?
Isaac jumped in to say that there are certain things that could sit next to the current technology. Erich added that other organizations are developing their own points of view. Very large media planning organizations have a process where they sit in front of a media planner and select where they want to provide orders. There is a great deal of buying that happens quite transactionally. So, there is clarity, reporting and accountability in this process that can be taken and applied to blockchain. This could provide an intermittent step in showing the value in accountability for traditional media buying. At the impression level however, this is much more interesting as there are 12+ companies involved in each impression served to a consumer. He concluded stating that the analog way of buying is not going to last throughout our lifetime.
What is motivation to create this and bring it to the marketplace?
Dave used a comparison to the music industry to answer this question. At first, the music industry was very opposed to digital music. It was a ten year process to get them to adapt to the digital side but they quickly realized it was a process in which they would make a little less money while transitioning over in order to secure a sustainable future.
Isaac stated that there is a noisy minority of bad actors who are largely spoiling things for the other folks. The core of all of this comes from eliminating the waste this is directly related to fraud, automated inference processes and the creation of a new protocol to initiate blockchain into the marketplace. More money spent at a more efficient rate will produce better results. All of this will be a reckoning of the noisy bad actors. Erich posed the question asking how long the industry is going to be passive to the fact that they are wasting half of what they are spending? There is a coalition of the willing who want to spend more money, more efficiently, but changes need to be made now in order for that to happen.
Who are the winners and losers through all of this?
All panelists jumped in to agree that the advertiser wins, the publisher wins, and the consumer wins. The biggest loser is the holding company, those writing the check that knows what is costs but don’t know why or how?
Where is the resistance coming from?
Erich was the first to jump in saying that there are agencies in the world whose business practices are suspect, which has nothing to do with blockchain. But, there is also a group of enlightened agencies, and with this group, there is hope that the conversation about blockchain enables empowered advertisers and agencies to make a better decision, have clarity in where value is created. Blockchain could disrupt how some agencies operate today.
Adam then asked if people are going to come together to make this happen? Obviously blockchain technology helps with transparency and fraud, but many people associate it with cryptocurrency, so does that mean that media will need to be paid for by cryptocurrency?
Dave explained that people often mix the technology of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency can ride on top of blockchain and utilize it; there would not be blockcahin without cryptocurrency, but you don’t need cryptocurrency to validate it. Cryptocurrency can have nothing to do with the payments. He then used the example of lbry. Lbry is “free, open and community-run digital marketplace” built on the idea that people deserve free information. If a publisher is going to take upwards of 30% of the ad revenue, we should just let the people deal with each other. There is already iterative technology that is being built to take away the idea that you can make money from advertising.
Adam again went to the audience and someone asked how does someone go to P&G, for example, and ask them to use blockchain? From a security point of view, blockchain was built to be secure, but cryptocurrency has been hacked. So, how does one prove that blockchain is safe?
Erich took to answering this question by explaining that there are many insecure systems still in their infancy. We keep putting our own paradyme on how the industry should work, but, maybe there is a different paradigm that we have to play within.
Isaac added that blockchain itself has never been cracked, but people are trying to build so fast, people are leaving holes that can be cracked.
Adam brought up Brave Browser, started by Mozilla, which is a browser that lets people manage their identity and get paid for their personal data – a unique approach that questions who gets paid for what. He then asked if the panelists believed that people care enough to build something from the ground up?
Isaac’s opinion on this question was that if you have to ask consumers to install new browser, new marketing, new ways of “everything,” it doesn’t strike as the most optimal way forward for the industry. New protocol should enable those kinds of interaction. Everything should be built into the new enabling infrastructure or technology. He also added that we shouldn’t count out the traditional advertising people, Erich believes that people do care. He brought up ad blocking and the poor advertising environment that consumers currently experience. The current answer to the ineffective environment is more volume, more poor advertising. 50% of advertising is fraud so the other 50% has to work harder, at a higher volume, with a lower cost. So, how do advertisers do it? What do they need? They don’t need a new internet, but rather a well articulated process between the advertiser and the consumer. We need new technology that is reliable everyday with an optimized consumer experience.
The final question of the evening came from the audience. GDPR has unveiled a lot of questions with cost – companies have closed because they can’t afford the new costs. Could this prohibit companies from activating blockchain? Will small start-ups not be able to afford it?
Of course it costs money to reformat a business, stated Erich. However, he is weary that cost is not the sole reason companies left the market after GDPR. Effective deployment of the technology is at an infrastructure level. This would not require companies to create an entire new workflow. The pipes of the internet are GDPR compliant, added Isaac, so it would be efficient to have smarter pipes that do the heavy lifting for us. Adam concluded the panel, thanking the panelists for their time. — There is much to get excited about regarding blockchain. Although still at the beginning stages of development, adoption and acceptance, there is so much to be learned and gained from its adoption. A world that enables less fraud, more transparency and more brand safety is something to look forward to. After more conversations and a delicious dessert, we were all pleasantly surprised by a spontaneous fireworks show over the water. Great discussion, delicious food and a beautiful view made for a spectacular Boston event. We want to thank our three amazing panelist once again for giving their unique and informative perspectives on this very relevant topic. We look forward to seeing you at one of our dinner panels in the near future.
The current programmatic media buying landscape is really just an extension of the traditional two-party system between advertisers and publishers. If you keep in mind what is being sold, who is selling it and who is buying, it should become a little clearer.
So What is the Difference Between DSPs and Ad Networks?
The acronym DSP stands for demand-side platform. It is a buyer’s side platform for advertisers, it allows advertising buyers to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts using one interface. An ad network works for the publisher side of the two-party system, connecting advertisers to publishers that have web pages with advertising -matching ad space supply from publishers with advertiser demand.
Demand-Side Platforms (DSP): These are used by media buyers at agencies and brands to manage and purchase digital advertising inventory from multiple ad networks through one interface. DSPs allow advertisers to buy ad impressions across a range of publisher sites, but targeted to specific users based on data such as gender, age, location and browsing behavior.
Using a single interface allows marketers to target a very narrowly defined audience segment at scale, without having to manage multiple ad networks or exchanges. The DSPs use the behavioral targeting data which is collected from cookies and data exchanges, to identify the audience segments. DSPs let the marketers choose audience characteristics and then publishes the ads depending on the target audience. The main advantage here is that marketers do not have to worry about picking the right websites to advertise on, as the DSPs can do the work for them.
Access to multiple inventory sources — they connect to several ad exchanges and SSPs and offer several channels
Media buyer can choose which sites to buy on
You can set the price at you think each individual impression is worth
Added Data segments — use third-party or first-party audience data to enhance buy
There are many different DSPs in the marketplace and you need to set up a contract with each one to have access to their platforms
Steep learning curve — it takes time to master the nuances of buying on each platform, unless you work with a partner like Digilant
Ad Networks: An advertising network aggregates, categorizes and sells a range of publisher inventory in a way that can be easily understood and purchased by advertisers on a fixed CPM basis, connecting advertisers to web sites that want to host advertisements. . By aggregating inventory, Ad Networks offer advertisers the ability to better reach their target audience while allowing publishers to sell their inventory more effectively. There are many types of Ad Networks and they focus on delivering different objectives. Some focus on delivering reach and price while others focus on audience demographics and quality.
There are three main types of ad networks:
Platform for buying audience segments and data
Platform for buying media
Platform for creative optimization
Ad networks are often used by media companies to sell out their online display inventory. However, unlike DSPs, not all ad networks support real-time bidding. They will have to incorporate a DSP, in order to facilitate real-time bidding.
Centralized source for inventory for media buyers and advertisers
No need to buy from individual publisher sites
Lack of transparency — site reporting often masked
Fixed CPM — all impressions cost the same regardless of value
No automation — you need to contract each buy with a separate IO
Technology creates efficiencies between advertisers and publishers. A DSP enables media buyers to incorporate automation using machine learning into the media buying process, giving advertisers access to more sophisticated targeting tools, data and analytics to improve their advertising performance. DSPs consolidate purchasing needs in one platform. But in today’s world of data privacy regulations and walled garden most advertisers can’t afford to use only one DSP. Each DSP like Google, Facebook, Amazon, MediaMath and others all offer their own unique audiences, data and targeting capabilities. Not only that but if there are buys or a platform goes down you don’t have options. You can’t be overly reliant on the infrastructure of one partner because if they decide to change something that has implications for your business you can’t afford the lag time that might cause.
That’s why Digilant partners with all of the best platforms, giving media buyers a holistic view of their ad buys across multiple DSPs so that advertisers can measure results and get value from their ad spend.
On Tuesday, June 5th, Digilant hosted a dinner panel in Seattle titled the “2018 Fast Track to an Integrated Digital Media & Marketing Strategy.”Digilant‘s Chief Executive Officer, Raquel Rosenthal, moderated a discussion on the evolution of digital marketing with the following local marketing and advertising professionals:
Raquel from Digilant kicked off the discussion with this first question.
What industry buzzwords or shifts do you think will impact digital marketing this year? For example: GDPR, Transparency, Attribution, In-housing or Blockchain.
David from Vulcan was the first to answer this question. For him from all the buzzwords Blockchain is most likely to have a general impact on the advertising world and what we will probably talk about the most. It fixes a trail of action and shows you how a fish gets caught before it gets to your plate. Transparency, attribution, GDPR, Blockchain will talk to all of that. How we process the amount of data that we are creating will be huge. So Blockchain is my topic for the year because it will be huge. GDPR to me, said Sharon from The Seattle Times, is like Y2K, a lot of build up and preparation especially in the media. At the Seattle Times we talked to attorneys and thought it would be a bigger deal for us, but then all we really did is turn off retargeting in the EU. In the meantime, the panic of GDPR has made us all become consent monkeys. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is one of the keywords I would pick, voice assistants are going to be a big deal. Adam from Formative said that he is interested what GDPR will mean for the longer term. What it will mean for advertisers who can’t retarget their visitors, paywalls cost more, publishers will make less money for premium inventory. In the US we’ll get a couple of years to see how Europe deals with it before we do. Voice, Alexa and Google home, if we think how search has dominated the advertising space for such a long time and now voice interactions will be increasingly part of our lives, so it will be interesting to see what that will look like.
Transparency and in-housing are two big buzzwords we are reading about a lot in relation to programmatic media buying. But the reality is that most brands are not taking things totally in house but still relying on their agency partners. Why is it such a buzzword then? Is it because of transparency? Why are people talking about it, but not really doing it?
David’s response was that there is an expertise related to the traditional way of doing things. People are only bringing in some of it in-house because they don’t know how to do the execution part on a bigger scale. Adam thinks that clients like to talk about bringing stuff in house like social and search but there is an expertise and value that comes from working across different clients that you don’t get from working in-house. I personally came to appreciate what agencies can provide to their clients.
We haven’t talked about the customer experience yet, there used to be only 50 partner options in the ad-tech ecosystem and now there are 5000 so the customer experience is now really changing and Customer Experience Officer (CXO) is becoming a common job title.
I get the idea of a CXO started Adam, I get it, but it’s also what a CMO is responsible for. The CXO is somewhat driven by Silicon Valley startups as an anti-marketing thing, that they don’t need to invest in marketing, and that their companies and products can be successful without spending money on marketing. The need to focus on that overall experience, thinking about it holistically as a cross channel experience is a big shift. With the 5000 ad-tech partners there is no excuse not to present a better experience for the consumer. Sharon’s answer was that customer experience is something we struggle with at the Seattle Times. We sell advertising and subscriptions and have hundreds of ad calls. Advertisers are looking for a better experience for their consumers and to me It’s shameful that Google had to come up with ad standards with Chrome, all because publishers weren’t paying attention to the experience.
What about the silos of data? What are the consequences of these trends?
David was the first to respond by saying that he is having a very hard time with the amount of data we are getting. It’s getting to the point where we can’t deal with the volume of data in a way that it will inform us in a nimble fashion. We are not sure if we are pulling real insights from all these new great dashboards that are supposed to show us how to use our data, even if you stitch it all together, you have to know how to make great decisions from what you pull out of all the data. Sharon said that they are trying to be very focused on what is driving that actual subscription. Their AI team is developing a subscriber influence score; they want to know what story or email they read before they subscribed. Building their own scoring system and own analytics so that they can answer one simple question: ‘what influenced that consumer to subscribe?’ According to Adam, nothing slowed the innovation of ad-tech more than Facebook because they don’t allow 3rd party ad tracking, something we could do before, but not anymore. GDPR is actually pushing us back rather than improving the user experience.
What do you think the impact of the announcement that Google just made, about no longer being able to export DoubleClick IDs, will have on targeting, performance and attribution?
David said that he thinks it’s going to affect all of those things. Google has been good at thinking of that end user experience because they have the data on that user and people will be forced to used their solutions because it’s most efficient and cost effective. It’s more concerning for the advertiser but not for the end user. Adam thinks that Google is trying to get ahead of the curve and make all the changes at once. People will start to complain about the crappy ads they get targeted with as it becomes more difficult for ad formats like native. Instead of being very specific to the user, contextually relevant ads will have to be more generic and not as targeted, because it’s going to hard to do much else. For Sharon, from a news publisher’s perspective, they tend to trust Google more than Facebook for now and are taking the wait and see approach.
Are you or companies you work with investing in marketing attribution platforms and strategies and why yes or not?
David said that they are not investing in it at this point. For right now they are not very interested in how the consumers converted but getting the conversions. They aren’t investing enough dollars to make the investment in an attribution solution. Adam also said that they are not spending the ad dollars at the level they used to, so attribution has not been that important for them right now. Attribution a bit passé, they’ve been hearing about for a long time and now walled gardens are making it more difficult. What’s going to become important for them is attribution between online to offline, people have smart TV’s that have data, real attribution will be really important when online and offline are not blurred and the consumers get a real experience.
Do you think that brands are going to continue to invest in social advertising or will they be more hesitant based on Facebook’s recent data privacy news or YouTube’s brand safety challenges?
There has been no pullback from social at all, even during the Zuckerberg trial, answered Sharon. So yes, she thinks people will continue to invest in social. David said that when social platforms first launched they brought together people that weren’t able to connect. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, are all free and nothing in America is free. People are going to remember that, so how do we keep it free, the benefits for the consumers will outweigh the data privacy issues. Adam thinks that eventually the pressure for data privacy will decrease as brands get more slack for data breaches. Facebook made a bunch of unrelated changes to their platform after their data scandal and people seemed ok with that.
What new digital ad formats or platforms have you tried over the last year?
David said that they have been talking a lot about podcasting, they are starting to dip into the programmatic area. People are passionate about podcasts and it would be efficient because we can narrow down the targeting to exactly who we want to reach. Voice will be fantastic and huge especially combined with Amazon and Google e-commerce offerings, because they have so much data the ads will be even more effective. Sharon said that this year they tried a couple new things, one of which was headline ads and was a huge failure. Now they are trying to do more with native. For them the way they decide what to do is a little different than on the publisher side. If they try something new or develop something new it has to be profitable for the business. But if she was on the other side she thinks that she would definitely try something like podcasts. Adam echoes the podcasts, but also SMS and messenger, because it feels like a one-on-one connection with consumers, more like a conversation and specific answers for their situation.
Again, thank you to our wonderful panelists. We look forward to our next event in Boston, June 12th. If you are interested in attending please reach out to us here: email@example.com.
Our inboxes and news feeds are imploding with GDPR. It’s like Christmas for your inbox, the more sites you are subscribed to the more presents you get this week.
Let’s be honest, don’t you wish somebody would open and respond for you? How many of you have taken the time to open, read and opt-in or out of all those sites and or emails?
For those of us who, like myself, are old enough to remember, it feels like the Y2K panic all over again. While it certainly might be legit, it’s hard to really know whether the panic is real and what the aftermath will look like. Some companies are taking the wait and see approach, while others have gone down the GDPR checklist and implemented it all, and some just gave up and shut their doors, mostly because of the cost of implementation.
Tomorrow is the Day, Are You Ready?
It does feel like most people are tearing their hair out or crying a little. As they should. The real-time application of GDPR is way beyond was most people ever had in mind when they first started collecting data for advertising and just the thought of throwing out every process you ever had and starting all over is pretty daunting which is why there are many smaller shops that didn’t even bother.
So who will be left standing after the bell rings tomorrow? Who knows? Hopefully more than just Google or Facebook. Otherwise innovation in advertising technology might just come to a big stop. I for one hope that’s not the case.
Here are some of the headlines I’ve been reading that are most relevant for programmatic media buyers:
Over the past few months, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) acronym has been thrown around often in the programmatic media industry, as everybody scrambles to define what it means for them and how to apply it. At least on this side of the ocean, it seems like most digital marketers are still unaware of what the GDPR is and the heavy implications it holds on their programmatic media buying future.
What is GDPR?
The GDPR Transparency & Consent Framework was launched in Europe on April 24, 2018, with the objective to help all companies in the digital advertising industry ensure that they comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, when processing personal data or accessing non-personal or personal data on user devices.
GDPR Starts Right Now
Article 4.1: “personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”
What Does That Mean for Programmatic Advertisers on the Other Side of the Ocean?
While companies figure out how to comply with the new rules there might be a loss of momentum with data tech innovation. GDPR will require programmatic advertisers to obtain active consent from users to use their personal information, and also give them the power to erase their accumulated historical data from any database they wish, thus being more transparent.
With the rise of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, there has been a lot of progress on the way programmatic advertising technology uses consumer data to provide intelligent and automated ad targeting. With these regulation changes we might see a halt in the progress made to enable automated and personalized advertising. The implications of GDPR could somewhat restrict the extent of the role that AI-driven data insights and intelligence technology plays in the future. This will create significant challenges for the innovation of programmatic advertising. That said, it is even more important today that programmatic service providers introduce other emerging technologies with the capabilities needed to address the goals of GDPR and ensure both secure and efficient advertising.
One emerging technology that could have a significant impact on programmatic advertising and how marketers deal with GDPR is blockchain. Blockchain has the ability to create a highly secure trading network for advertisers, by publicly storing data to create a permanent audit trail with an unchangeable record of all transactions that occur within the programmatic buying marketplace. This provides marketers with full visibility into their ad buy, to better track all transactions that are taking place automatically and a record of all transactions taking place throughout the ad-buying and selling process.
Possible applications for Blockchain to abide by GDPR rules and regulations:
Trust and transparency have been leading many of the conversations about programmatic advertising, and GDPR may serve to accelerate the industry-wide push for more accountability. Blockchain is one solution but there are other solutions waiting to be discovered and tried out. Over the next several months we will see more on how the EU applies GDPR in a practical manner, so the approaches and implementation of new technologies like blockchain should become clearer.
Programmatic advertisers, marketers and publishers may be held accountable for non-compliance by third party data providers, which means all players in the ad tech ecosystem will become more reliant on one another. What this also means is that the ad-tech ecosystem will be a lot pickier with who we choose as partners and how many partners and publishers we all work with. Contracts will need to be revised to ensure compliance, and for publishers it will be an opportunity to gain leverage to demand transparency regarding the data used by any of their partners or platforms.
For more information on the GDPR, its goals, what you need to do to be compliant, and Digilant’s commitment to the regulation, download our white paper below.