Omnicom Media Group is already rethinking how to monetize attention, in light of Google’s decision to remove third-party cookies from Chrome in two years.
“We are starting to push clients to think about attention as dynamic and be more considerate in how we activate against it,” said OMG CEO Scott Hagedorn.
OMG is bringing this shift in thinking around attention to the upfront this year, where it’s eager to transact against new currencies that more accurately reflect the way people are consuming TV today.
But the biggest challenge is changing the way TV buyers are used to transacting, as well as getting clients to adopt new payment models that allow agencies to change the way they execute.
“The hardest thing is changing the service model to adapt to technology,” Hagedorn said.
Hagedorn and John Swift, Omnicom Media Group’s COO in North America, spoke with AdExchanger.
AdExchanger: How is OMG reconciling the loss of third-party cookies?
SCOTT HAGEDORN: The cookie world was built to deliver a dynamic digital experience in a TV-like format on desktop. If we can cookie somebody, we know what they’re into. We can serve them an ad based on what we think they need to see. We can dynamically render it. The whole industry has been chasing that for 20 years.
What did that miss? Mobile, apps, identity. With cookies deprecated, all those investments – and we’ve made bets in the past, like on DMPs – are out the window. If we’re in the business of persuasion, how do you do it in an appropriate way?
Can audience targeting still exist in an “appropriate way”?
JOHN SWIFT: The more personal the experience, the narrower the boundaries are for the brand. That’s the challenge we’re going through with social. [We’re trying to] stop thinking about channels and digital silos and more about content and experiences.
SH: It’s somewhat counterintuitive that our clients that [want] to do more dynamic marketing only want to buy television and outdoor. They are pushing the industry forward on one-to-one marketing, but they don’t spend their money in those spaces. So we have to live in this parallel world of demographics and behavioral and try to reconcile those two spheres.
How is OMG tackling cross-channel measurement as cookies disappear and more walled gardens emerge?
SH: We’re working on relinking media and brand equity. We divorced content from context and started talking in terms of video neutrality. But if you’re Mercedes Benz, rubbing shoulders with Jon Hamm in “Mad Men” is not the same as rubbing shoulders with PewDiePie.
JS: Context matters. We lost track of that in the promise of a fully digitized media experience. Connected TV is probably the final frontier to bring premium content into one place as opposed to, “this is my digital bucket.” The TV bucket is now part of the digital bucket.
How is that convergence impacting your approach to the upfront this year?
SH: Publishers are as desperate as we are to move away from the broken clock of measurement that currently exists. They realize their content is being consumed in totally different ways. Even if they were to try to install technology, the measurement doesn’t work.
For a lot of publishers, [linear declines are] made up for in streaming or on demand. It’s insane that we can talk about ratings and not [include] Netflix. Ratings are about attention. How are these things completely excluded from the currency of attention?
How do you get TV buyers and clients to embrace new ways of measuring attention?
SH: How do you turn the largest media agency in the world into a cross-screen delivery department that’s never existed before?
Investing in the tech is almost easier than changing the client relationship and renegotiating what the team looks like. There’s some reticence because it could trigger a review or something. But being bold enough to say that is really important.
JS: We have to start measuring value in a more multidimensional way than just price. Consultancies aren’t selling themselves out by the hour like we do. Clients are open to conversations around how we charge for outputs and outcomes as opposed to just how much does it cost and how many hours did you work?
What business models are clients willing to try?
JS: Performance was limited to digital channels and that’s where CTV comes in. A performance-based mindset is something we’ve infused through all of our agencies, which is a good place to start. But we’ve been kind of hamstrung.
SH: There’s an imbalance on scoping what it takes to get it done. How do we present the fully loaded business case in a rational manor?
In two years, I predict our total number of FTEs will be smaller and we will monetize the applications we’ve developed on a variable basis, almost like ad serving. That’s our IP. The hard thing for us as a talent business historically is making the jump into monetizing the investments we’ve made in technology and software. We have to make the leap to monetizing our IP.
This interview has been edited and condensed.