Ad blocking is one of those pesky aspects of modern technology that threatens to hinder the advertising landscape, but could it be that consumers just want better ads? Chatting with B&T, MediaMath’s chief marketing officer Joanna O’Connell thinks this is absolutely the case, and the only way to solve it is with rich data.
“Ad blocking is a symptom of a larger issue of advertising not being as relevant or engaging as it could be—or as consumers want it to be,” she said.
“But ad blocking is not a panacea. We can’t block all advertising – that would just create a host of other problems, like how publishers support content creation.
“Rather, I think the industry is starting to realise that programmatic has an inherent power to make advertising better.”
As a programmatic company for marketers, MediaMath is a firm believer in programmatic solutions to the plagues of advertising. O’Connell suggested the way to vastly improve ads, thus rendering ad blocking irrelevant, is to utilise “the right data, analysed in the right way, executed in an integrated fashion, using privileged, premium inventory, through an omnichannel media platform”.
“Add in an intelligence component that can ensure what happens in media can inform what happens in audience management and some smart, dynamic creative, and you have the technological underpinnings to better understand and adapt to changing consumer needs and states across the purchase lifecycle,” she added.
“That’s how you combat customers’ disconnection with advertising: make their experiences relevant, seamless and interconnected.”
In the past, marketers and agencies have treated decisions regarding technology and media partners as interchangeable, which O’Connell says is ignorant, and needs to be addressed if an agency is looking to enhance programmatic delivery.
“A platform is not equal to a publisher. A platform is a vehicle used to access, buy and optimise across publisher inventory,” O’Connell said.
“And second, marketers and agencies sometimes sign on a new partner every time a new technology comes onto the scene, one where a particular bell or whistle looks extra shiny.
“But a technology relationship should be a partnership, where marketers foster more long-standing relationships with partners who really understand the business goals they are ultimately trying to achieve and can help them adapt as those needs are met or change.”
According to O’Connell, data is now a kind of “currency” for marketers, and without it, can leave a marketing strategy for dead.
“Intelligently analysing audience data in its many and varied forms (e.g. transactional, behavioural, demographic, psychographic, geographic and more) enables marketers to deliver more relevant messages to their target prospects and customers, based on previous consumer behaviour across channels,” she said.
“It enhances the quality of engagement with that particular consumer. This is becoming a win or lose long term strategy for brands.
“However, the problem lies in marketers equating programmatic with automation. This is a common misconception today. Automation alone does not guarantee the best business outcomes.
“In a data-rich world, the most optimal results require intelligent automated decisioning through Machine Learning (ML). ML algorithms enable computers to learn to make accurate predictions, adapting and improving as they are exposed to more data, and enabling better decisions around whatever problems they are solving.
“On top of ML, marketers still need that layer of human understanding and interpretation to make sense of their data. While marketers need to be able to truly understand data and technology, they also have to truly understand consumers – their preferences, their habits, and what makes them tick.
“This is the healthy equilibrium that the industry still needs to reach: a balance of people and technology.