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Matt HartySenior Vice President, Asia-PacificThe Trade Desk
This year, demand-side platform (DSP) The Trade Desk is bulking up its presence in China—a country notorious for its lack of transparency in the digital advertising market. Matt Harty, The Trade Desk’s senior vice president of Asia-Pacific, spoke with eMarketer’s David Green about the state of programmatic in Asia-Pacific and the increasing demand for transparency in China’s digital advertising ecosystem.
eMarketer: Some projections show India and China powering digital ad spend growth in Asia-Pacific above the global average, with robust growth in Southeast Asia but with spending falling in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Does this match your experience?
Matt Harty: We haven’t had that exact experience. We don’t do regular digital marketing—we’re programmatic-only—and the programmatic segment is growing at a fairly large clip everywhere. We’re seeing explosive levels of growth in the Southeast Asia markets: Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. We’re certainly not seeing any slackness in the Hong Kong or the Singapore market—it’s quite the contrary.
eMarketer: What’s driving the growth of programmatic in Southeast Asia?
Harty: We’re waiting for a lot of business done on a direct insertion order [IO] to transfer into private marketplaces [PMPs]. We’ve got anywhere from 24 months to four years before we’ve fully exploited the opportunity to turn direct IO business into PMPs and convert that into programmatic. Every market is seeing that effect at some level.
eMarketer: What programmatic ad formats are the primary growth drivers?
Harty: In Asia-Pacific, the display market has a lot of room for growth. Mobile is a meaningful part of our business, and there are elements like audio and native that are starting to make their presence felt. It’s roughly one-third each of display—including native—video and mobile.
eMarketer: How sophisticated is the level of understanding of programmatic in Asia-Pacific’s different markets?
Harty: China is a very advanced market in some ways. For example, it’s arguable that it’s the most advanced market in the world when it comes to video advertising. You’ve also got markets where even digital advertising remains relatively mysterious. Indonesia, for example, is still a print-centric market, but just as it leapfrogged the PC [for mobile], it’s leapfrogging digital advertising for programmatic. People seem to want all of the benefits of programmatic: the targeting, the data, the accountability and the transparency.
eMarketer: As you prepare to open an office in China, what are your considerations as you enter the market?
Harty: Our goal in China is to offer our global clients a consistent experience across the world. There are some very innovative programmatic companies in China, but there seems to be a lack of transparency. A number of our clients require a standardization of transparency, and that’s one thing driving our business into China.
eMarketer: What exactly are your clients asking for in regard to transparency?
Harty: We’ve gotten feedback from a number of our global partners that Chinese vendors are unable or unwilling to fulfill the global standards paperwork that our partners require. It could also be a matter of showing exactly where every dollar goes and what actually goes to the publisher. That’s what some advertisers are increasingly interested in.
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