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Bob RupczynskiVice President, Media and Consumer EngagementKraft Foods Group
Bob Rupczynski is the vice president of media and consumer engagement at Kraft Foods Group. He is responsible for determining Kraft’s broader marketing strategy in the face of a growing number of digital influences including data usage, device fragmentation and programmatic advertising. Rupczynski spoke with eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher about how Kraft approaches programmatic buying, specifically programmatic video.
eMarketer: Can you tell me a little bit about Kraft Food Group’s interest and investment in programmatic advertising?
Bob Rupczynski: About 18 months ago, when we split from Mondelēz International, we were really able to re-establish Kraft and treat it as a startup, really looking at the right direction and right investments and tool sets to develop.
In doing this, we were able to take a look at our data assets and where the industry was headed from a technology perspective. And for us, programmatic made sense and fit with how we approach the consumer. A lot of players in the industry look at programmatic as a way to save money and be more efficient.
But for us, the benefit of getting into these programmatic channels is much more about effectiveness in delivering the right message at the right time to the right consumer. Delivering it in a relevant way that a consumer would respond to is really the goal for programmatic.
And programmatic—whether it’s mobile, traditional video or the banner display area—allows us to create that custom content and make real-time decisions on the delivery of that content. There are many ways we use programmatic.
eMarketer: So it sounds like a lot of the investment you’re making in programmatic is data-driven?
Rupczynski: Yes, there’s no question about it. There are more than 100 million visitors to the Kraft Recipes website a year. We have 250 million visits to our digital properties in general. We have over a billion interactions with our recipes across the internet.
And then when you factor in our content, from recipes to videos, we have content for every day of the week, every meal of the day, every holiday and every occasion. Taking all of that together [we have a lot of] information about consumers. That data drives a lot of our decisions.
eMarketer: You do programmatic buying for both digital display banners and video ads. Are there any differences in how programmatic is used for each type of digital display ad format?
Rupczynski: Yes, I think there are a number of differences, all the way down to how it’s sold. The display marketplace is much more open, much more exchange-driven and much more real-time bidding- (RTB-) focused. But with video, we’re seeing it move quickly toward more private marketplaces and guaranteed buys.
Brands like Kraft Foods want to have more control over some of these relationships than what you’d find on a video exchange. That could be for guarantees for in-demo, viewability or some of the prebid solutions now emerging in video.
We treat video very differently, and the marketplace sells it very differently. But it also affects the consumer differently. There’s a multitouch or dimensional aspect to it: The sight, sound and motion of video is something that needs to be taken into consideration, vs. just serving a display ad, which I think is more natural to the RTB space.
eMarketer: What are some of the types of video ad placements that you’re buying today?
Rupczynski: The majority of our spend resides in the private marketplace and premium video. That’s not to say that we don’t explore other avenues, but we do try to put the safeguards in place and the controls that we have in other areas into programmatic video. Those controls are easier to set up on private direct deals and in the premium categories than on some of the user-generated areas. That’s not to say there isn’t value that can be derived from the other spaces, but the majority of our spend is in the premium.
eMarketer: Are you satisfied with the level of premium video ad inventory supply in programmatic?
Rupczynski: Supply is a big issue. It’s really where the hang-up is at this point, and that’s why we’re not just doing pure premium buys and we’re experimenting in other areas. But that industry is changing, and it’s changing quickly. I think that supply in the long run will not be the issue.
eMarketer: Any thoughts on where we can expect to see programmatic video growth in the next 12 to 24 months?
Rupczynski: I think you’ll see evolution from a fraud detection, in-demo guarantee and viewability perspective. That said, I think you’ll see increased dollars in the space. The question is whether that increase will happen in the open exchanges or in the private marketplace. And the more I see it, the more I think you’re going to see more in the private marketplaces than you are in the open exchanges until some of those tool sets are more refined and more mature.
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