What's Plaguing Programmatic Advertising? - eMarketer

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What's Plaguing Programmatic Advertising?

October 11, 2017

Paul Josephsen

Advertisers love the convenience of buying media programmatically, but that doesn’t mean the programmatic space is free of problems. On the contrary, new issues continue to arise, especially as fraud and fake news become more prevalent. Paul Josephsen, CMO of Adslot, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about some of the key programmatic challenges, and how technology can help to solve them.

eMarketer: What are some of the biggest problems in the programmatic space that you see today?

Paul Josephsen: First and foremost, there are brand safety issues. Even when brands think they know where they’re running ads, they don’t totally ever know. Transparency is another big issue. Publisher revenue from media has gone down, but technology providers are still taking a massive cut of what’s supposed to be working media dollars. And finally, there’s fraud. It’s not just fake news that brands have to fight against—it’s clickbait as well.

“The way to solve programmatic problems is not to give priority to some brands over others, but to create conversations between buyers and sellers.”

eMarketer: Given a lot of the problems with programmatic, advertisers have turned to private marketplaces (PMPs). What are the pros and cons of PMPs?

Josephsen: In a PMP, publishers can give priority to certain advertisers. That priority is based on two things—how much clients spend overall, and how much they spend per impression. The problem is that this requires buyers to fall in line with the ad server priority level.

For advertisers that can reach those levels, PMPs are great, but for others, they don’t solve any problems. The way to solve programmatic problems is not to give priority to some brands over others, but to create a conversation between buyers and sellers.

eMarketer: What role does technology play in creating a relationship between buyers and sellers?

Josephsen: Technology should be used to enhance human decision-making, not replace it. In media today, a lot of technology has replaced human decision-making, and that’s not right. Technology should sit at the center of the relationship between a buyer and seller and help scale their direct relationship, so that advertisers can have more conversations with more publishers they want to buy from, without having to worry about insertion orders or terms of service. That’s what technology should facilitate.

“In media today, a lot of technology has replaced human decision-making, and that’s not right.”

eMarketer: What does the future of media buying look like?

Josephsen: Media buying is becoming increasingly complicated, and solution providers have an opportunity to take a look at the tools that are actually necessary and simplify marketers’ toolkits. Advertisers don’t need 30 or 40 partners for one thing. They need to find the best tool, test it a couple of times and build a deep relationship with one particular partner.

Right now, there also aren’t enough solutions out there that tackle creative. To get consumers’ attention is one thing, but to hold their attention is a whole other beast. That’s where creative comes in, and that’s where brands need to invest.

eMarketer: Do you have any other advice for brands that are drowning in programmatic right now?

Josephsen: Think about your audience. Don’t think about platforms, don’t think about technology, just think about your audience. And then think about the best way to not only reach that audience—because everybody can do that these days—but also maintain their attention.


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