Burberry Presses Publishers To Embrace Premium Programmatic

burberry programmaticBurberry greeted visitors to Yahoo’s home page in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain last Monday with large takeover ad units.

The Dentsu Aegis trading desk Amnet executed the deal programmatically through the DSP Adform. Through a private exchange, the trading desk bid on every home page impression for the day.

The campaign was a victory for Amnet, which has pushed publishers to make premium inventory available programmatically.

“Publishers have been reticent up until now,” said Curtis Nishijima, global VP of commercial development and operations for Amnet. “They think, ‘We’re going to work with Burberry anyway through direct deals, so we don’t have to work with [a] trade desk.’”

Over the past year and a half, Amnet has worked to change those perceptions among publishers.

“We’ve approaching the media owners together, letting them know we’re not trying to steal the data or get the cheapest rates. We’re looking for partners to innovate,” Nishijima said.

Yahoo, on its end, wants to enable buying however the buyer wants.

“Our intention is that all our inventory can be traded programmatically,” said Nick Hugh, VP of audience network and programmatic for Yahoo EMEA.

Besides Yahoo, Burberry’s trading desk is working with large publishers like Hearst and Condé Nast to bring more premium inventory to the table, particularly IAB Rising Star ad units, video and mobile.

To come up with its programmatic publisher list, Amnet created a white list of sites on the open marketplace. Now it’s focused on finding what publishers give them scale, and moving those transactions to private marketplaces. 

Transacting programmatically allows for sequencing of creative. For the Yahoo campaign, Burberry’s ad units were designed to be highly emotional, pulling in images of the London skyline for four of the markets, and Florence for Italy.

“When we lead with emotive creative like the cityscapes, we can follow up with a more product-centered ad, or a festive campaign ad,” Nishijima said. Amnet can go back to results for this Yahoo campaign and activate other personalized experiences for calendar-based campaigns throughout the year.

A customer for a fragrance is different than someone who buys a classic Burberry trenchcoat, Nishijima said, so knowing user preferences allows for better targeting and stronger performance.

To get the most out of its programmatic campaigns, Burberry wants publishers to share more data with it. That means finding out after a campaign what parts of the site were most popular among people who interacted with an ad, or learning their demographics based on a site’s registration data, something Nishijima is finding publishers are still shy about sharing.

“I challenge publishers to work with us, and allow us to use data to make campaigns more effective on and off their properties,” Nishijima said. “We’re trying to evolve based on insights and feed that back into our ecosystems, not steal or manipulate the data. [We want to] reward innovative partners with more business.”

Publishers will likely have to change fast.

“Next year, it’s how close can we get to doing things 100% programmatically,” Nishijima said. That includes increased cross-channel spends so the same high-impact unit can appear on desktop and mobile. Amnet has also tested mobile to amplify Burberry’s out-of-home advertising.

And as programmatic buying becomes more common for branding campaigns and premium ad units, Ament hopes to overlay more data with its premium buys.

“Ideally we want to get to audience takeovers,” Nishijima said, “where anyone who’s engaged with a trenchcoat will get a home page takeover for an entire day.”

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