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Addressable TV Momentum: Harbinger For A T-Commerce Future

josh-herman“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by Josh Herman, vice president of partner and product strategy at Acxiom.

Addressable television has arrived, but where is it taking us?

With a reach of more than 40 million households and four major operators delivering household-addressable advertising, it’s safe to say we’ve reached the point of critical mass.

And with this ability to effectively deliver household-specific marketing messages to television viewers, there are subtle, new signs on the horizon for the maturation of television commerce (tcommerce) that suggests we won’t have to tell the same joke about Rachel’s sweater a quarter of a century from now. These signs are coming from both inside and outside of the subscription TV industry.

Rachel’s sweater refers to the character on the television series “Friends,” when Rachel’s sweater came to represent an industry vision where, with the click of the remote control, consumers could purchase the sweater Rachel wore during an episode, or whatever the desired product may be. This longstanding vision is the logical, evolutionary step from ecommerce into tcommerce, when commerce is conducted through your TV, not just inspired by what you see on TV.


We Punched the Monkey And It Punched Back

Chris-O-HaraData-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Chris O’Hara, co-founder and chief revenue officer at Bionic Advertising Systems.

I recently tried to explain what I do for a living to my 14-year-old son. I found myself telling him about ad tech.

“Basically, we make technology that helps marketers buy different kinds of banner ads,” I told him.

“You mean the kind of annoying pop-up ads that everyone hates?” he asked.

His look of profound disappointment said it all. I explained that the kind of work we do wasn’t just about populating the Internet with the “Lose five pounds with one stupid trick” type of banner. But even though we are getting a lot right, my explanations eventually started sounding pretty weak.

I have been working in this business since 1995. Aside from doing some ad implementation testing, I have probably clicked on about a dozen banner ads in as many years. Today’s robust, real-time ad tech “stack” has been purpose-built to optimize the delivery of the kind of banner ads most people already hate: standardized IAB units, retargeted ads, auto-play video pre-roll units and even the dreaded pop-up and pop-under.


Not Taking Programmatic In-House Is Short-sighted

tom-triscani“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by Tom Triscari, CEO at Yieldr.

When an advertiser’s CEO, CFO and CMO meet to discuss their programmatic marketing strategy and budget, they increasingly talk about whether to take an in-house approach. Some argue such an approach is short-sighted.

I believe the opposite. The answer is often simple. Just do the math.

If you buy a lot of full-funnel display and pay 50% margins today (note: ad tech vendors and trading desks cannot disclose margins) but could pay 15% or less for in-house ad tech and pay the going market rate for a small team of campaign DMP engineers and optimizers, you end up generating massive savings. The savings can be used to augment or even create a big competitive advantage.

Some early adopter advertisers have already moved past talking and are actually doing it. When we see companies like Accenture move into the business, we know something big is changing. Early adoption is very smart; when done correctly, under a C-level mandate like P&G’s, the competitive edge gained can be an enduring one.


Counterpoint: The Third-Party Ad Server Has A Big Future

megan-pagliuca“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by Megan Pagliuca, VP and GM for digital media at Merkle Inc. It was penned in response to Rob Griffin's recent piece, "The Death of the Third-Party Ad Server."  

Rob Griffin's column on the future death of the ad server does not acknowledge that a targeting and measurement methodology dependent on a third-party cookie is fundamentally flawed.

With a better targeting and measurement methodology, the dynamics of the ecosystem will change, and the ad server will take on an even broader role. The ad servers, including Facebook's Atlas and Google's Doubleclick Campaign Manager (DCM), are driving the shift to tracking in a cross-device world using Facebook and Google logged in identity as the backbone.

To date, neither has been strong in either mobile or cross-device capabilities but, as they integrate identity, they have the potential to provide long-awaited salvation from inaccurate measurement that has prevented budgets from moving to mobile and digital overall.

Time spent in mobile has surpassed time spent in desktop, but since the third-party cookie is barely useful in tablet and mobile environments, reporting in attribution platforms, DMPs, DSPs and ad servers alike all massively undervalue the performance of those placements. The result of the defunct methodology is marketers are missing an enormous opportunity to reach consumers.  To Rob’s point, cross-device players like Tapad are innovating but there are three problems preventing cross-device ad tech startups from enabling budgets to move to mobile at scale.


Will 2015 Will Be The Year Of Private Marketplaces?

barry-lowenthal“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Barry Lowenthal, president at The Media Kitchen.

A couple of years ago we started exploring using private marketplaces. But we weren’t successful at getting wide adoption, within the agency or from publishers. But that’s all changed and 2015 is shaping up to be the breakthrough year.

It made sense that private marketplaces would an important part of the programmatic ecosystem. We tried to shift significant budgets to programmatic channels starting in 2011 but couldn’t buy enough inventory and wound up spending more money buying site direct than in programmatic channels simply due to inventory scarcity.

That dynamic made no sense, because it was more efficient to buy media programmatically through DSPs and much easier for publishers to sell media programmatically through SSPs. But buyers and sellers weren’t connecting mostly because sellers were worried about cost per mille (CPM) deflation.


Programmatic Can Be More Friend Than Foe For Local Media

frostprioleaurevised“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Frost Prioleau, CEO and co-founder of

A few months back, Marc Andreesen made the bold prediction that the news industry, which includes a large group of local publishers, will grow 10 times to 100 times in the next 20 years. He has backed up his predictions with his pocketbook by making investments in news firms such as Talking Points Memo, Business Insider and Pando Daily.

Similarly, Warren Buffett has invested in local news companies through BH Media Group. And Jeff Bezos recently plunked down $250 million to acquire The Washington Post.

While these well-known investors and entrepreneurs make headlines with their investments, other local media companies are also making progress but with little fanfare.


Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Targeting?

scottswanson“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Scott Swanson, president of global ad sales at Opera Mediaworks

A few weeks ago, I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine said she was being targeted there for plus-size clothing. In the comment threads, others replied that they, too, were seeing ads for very specific things, such as substance abuse counseling, motocross and certain types of cars. One woman said she’d been seeing ads for a wrinkle cream, which quickly disappeared when she changed the birth year on her Facebook profile.

Since I knew most of the people who were commenting and could therefore gauge how accurately they were being targeted, the whole discussion was pretty amusing. But the point is clear: People are now more aware than ever that advertisers are targeting them –and they’re openly talking about it.

Are some ads too invasive and personal? There’s no doubt that Facebook has enough data about each user to really know who they are. Compared to regular desktop advertising, it does tend to be more on-target to the user, since those ads are based primarily on a user’s browser activity. Once those cookies or cache is cleared, or if he’s in  “incognito”mode, they are anonymous again and won’t be retargeted.


Marketing Must Get Human

dunnhumby-keylock-usethis"Data-Driven Thinking" is a column written by members of the media community and containing fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today's column is written by Matthew Keylock, senior vice president and global head of data at dunnhumby

Maybe a consumer in the pet category isn’t a person, but for most products, it is real people who buy stuff and consume or use it. Yet even with all the tools and data out there today, we don’t always seem to recognize this.

Marketers’ approach to segmenting consumers seems to have taken hold in the way we have sub-divided our own discipline. Since the emergence of geodemographic segmentation in the middle of the last century, marketing also seems to have been sliced and diced in various ways.

We have added market research capabilities and aggregated sales data and panels since the ’70s and ’80s. In the late ‘80s and ’90s, we added CRM and loyalty marketing, which seemed to me to be a major split of our marketing world into two parallel universes: a customer part and a brand part, which have co-existed separately since then.

In the late ’90s and the ’00s, we then added a whole new level of division, into shoppers and consumers, by different consumer groups such as ethnic marketing teams and by channel with the emergence of digital marketing teams. All of these have evolved their own sub-industries around them with specialist operators and agencies singularly focused. In the last couple of years, we have since added the new “data-driven” capability of programmatic to our approaches.


Ad Tech Survival: Partner With Ad Agencies

davecurrie“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Dave Currie, chief marketing officer at The List.

Within three years, the average chief marketing officer will spend more on technology than a chief information officer. Approximately22% of global ad spending already goes toward digital marketing, a figure estimated to reach 27% by 2017.

Clearly, there are lucrative possibilities at the intersection of marketing and technology. Growing budgets have sparked a gold rush. In the competition for market share, traditional advertising agencies have started offering digital marketing services to clients, although ad tech companies are uniquely poised to provide digital solutions.

The reigning belief seems to be that unless you’re a one-stop shop, you won’t survive.

This mentality is present at the other end of the spectrum, too. Many ad tech companies are approaching brand marketers directly, selling clients tools to self-administer and manage their digital marketing programs. Unfortunately for the client, few ad tech companies are capable of implementing an integrated marketing campaign.


Why Are Companies Choosing Programmatic Self-Serve?

tomflanagan"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Tom Flanagan, director of strategy at DataXu.

The list of giant brands announcing major programmatic initiatives is growing long, with Mondelez, Procter & Gamble and American Express joining “old-timers” like Kellogg's and Netflix.

We know what’s driving the programmatic shift: It’s about more than cheap media acquisition, as the Winterberry Group pointed out earlier this year. It’s a particularly insightful way for you to learn about your audience, optimize messaging, discover new pockets of demand and stitch together the customer buying journey – all super strategic stuff.

But those benefits accrue whether you run programmatic in-house or through a partner. So what’s driving the urge to go self-serve?

Working in the space for nearly four years, I’ve seen people express many reasons for going both ways. Here are a few.