Home Online Advertising IPG’s David Bell Sounds Off: Ad Tech Complexity Unsustainable

IPG’s David Bell Sounds Off: Ad Tech Complexity Unsustainable


David Bell at AOL SummitDavid Bell, the chairman emeritus for Interpublic Group, offered his take on some barriers to growth in digital advertising today at Aol’s Thought Leadership Summit on programmatic advertising.

Number one on his hit list was the clutter of ad tech startups. He also took aim at the power wielded by procurement officers and bashed the ad industry for being meek in the face of legal and regulatory challenges around privacy.

Ad Tech Complexity. “The dollars flowing into ad tech have slowed,” Bell said in his keynote address. “Those companies that haven’t gone public and are generating less than $10 million will have trouble getting funding. There will be a wave of consolidation and some companies will just close up. That said, the benefits of simplification are huge. And that’s what’s coming.”

Procurement. Given the number and range of vendors and tools advertisers have had to work with, it’s no surprise that marketers’ procurement officers have taken control of ad budgets. But with all the focus on ROI and demands for greater accountability, the process of advertising has gained more science and lost much of its art, Bell said.

“Procurement has gone bullshit; it’s wreaked havoc in the advertising business,” he said. “They’ve killed ideas. They want everything cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. The value of ideas is different from cost-per-click, cost-per-anything. The good news is, procurement has brought a new level of accountability. And that is a good thing. But it’s not the only thing when it comes to advertising, and we’ve lost sight of that.”

Privacy. Bell expressed his disappointment with how the very people who should understand the value of communication and the art of persuasion better than anyone have surrendered the argument on privacy and third-party cookies to politicians and regulators.

“The privacy police are getting us closer and closer to a non-cookie environment,” Bell said. “The privacy police don’t understand the issues they’re dealing with. And that’s because the advertising industry has done a shit job explaining the value of cookies and how it ultimately serves the consumer in the form of better advertising and free access to content. We can’t seem to get the industry to organize around that idea. That has led to Congressional saber-rattling around privacy. So what should we expect?”

Bell is a senior advisor to Aol and a Bowery Capital CMO Advisor.

Must Read

Comic: Ad-ception

The New York Times And Instacart Integrate For Shoppable Recipes

The New York Times and Instacart are partnering for shoppable recipe videos.

Experian Enters The Third-Party Data Onboarding Business

Experian entered the third-party data onboarder market on Tuesday with a new product based on its Tapad acquisition.

Albertsons Takes Its First Steps Into Non-Endemic Advertising, Retail Media’s Next Frontier

Albertsons is taking that first step into non-endemic advertising next week via a partnership with Rokt to serve ads to people who have already purchased groceries.

Privacy! Commerce! Connected TV! Read all about it. Subscribe to AdExchanger Newsletters

Marketecture Buys AdTechGod (No, Really)

Marketecture has acquired AdTechGod – an anonymous ad tech Twitter poster turned one-man content studio – and the AdTech Forum, an information resource hosted by AdTechGod and Jeremy Bloom.

Why The False Advertising Lawsuit Against Poppi Is Bad News For RMNs

This week’s dispatch explores the new trend of false advertising class-action suits in the food and CPG industry and how the evolution of online, data-driven retail media could exacerbate the problem.

Seedtag Acquires Beachfront For Deeper Roots In TV And Streaming

Contextual ad platform Seedtag acquires Beachfront, a supply-side platform that specializes in TV and video.