Index Exchange’s Janette Higginson On The Future Of Media Investment Through The Lens of Tech

Index Exchange’s Janette Higginson On The Future Of Media Investment Through The Lens of Tech

As proud sponsors of the highly anticipated Cannes in Cairns event, B&T sat down with Index Exchange’s head of buyer development APAC Janette Higginson, to discuss her insights on the future of media investment from a technology perspective, and how she thinks things will shake out in 2022, and beyond.

B&T: Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Index Exchange?

JH: As head of buyer development for the region, my role is to lead a team of specialists that consult buyers on how to partner with sell-side technology, and why it’s important for them to do so. Many of our relationships start with education and listening sessions where my team and I can work through buy-side challenges, and collaborate on solutions to address their needs.

I feel very passionately about building solutions for challenges based on actual needs – whether they be commercial or operational. Often at the top of a buyer’s agenda is the request to design supply-access infrastructure for transparent investment, with accountability and performance at core. 

Being able to provide our partners with auditable lines of digital investment provides a very solid foundation for partnership and product conversations.

B&T: How do media buyers generally work with Sell Side Platforms?

Marketer and agency priorities are dynamic, so our job is to be a partner that provides both strategic and day-to-day support.

Buyers work with SSPs to access custom and sophisticated solutions that help them transact on their terms, via direct deals, inventory packages, and the open market.

In essence, we partner with agencies and marketers to ensure their campaigns are optimised, so that they can achieve the maximum return on their media investment.

B&T: The pandemic had a huge shift on advertising, can you share some of what you saw happen, and how you think advertiser investment will change?

We saw sectors and brands pivoting their spends toward channels where campaigns could be easily turned on or off, and creative messaging could be updated quickly according to social climates.

Digital channels powered by programmatic provide significant value here as they provide buyers with flexibility based on where consumers were spending their time and the scale to reach them.

For example, we saw the retail sector experience the largest increase in spend due to consumers using e-commerce channels to access many of their goods and services safely through periods of isolation, while the travel sector experienced the largest decline due to lockdowns.

This trend has continued even after the impact of covid. We’re still seeing brands funnelling more spend into digital channels due to the ease and control of activation, and the ability to target wider audience demographics in response to changes in consumer digital consumption habits. 

B&T: Have you noticed if buyers are leaning into more of a deals focus than open market auctions as a result?

In Australia specifically, private market deals have maintained their popularity because they can provide a level of rate control, impression curation, and increased transparency (i.e the ability to track every dollar throughout the supply chain).

Media buyers want to customise how they wish to transact, target specific inventory, audiences, and ultimately drive working media dollars further. 

B&T: According to you, how do you see the digital advertising industry evolving in the near future?

Firstly, the future of identity – which in essence refers to attaching a numeric identifier to a profile in an anonymised way – is still one of the top conversations in the industry, and rightfully so. There’s ample opportunity in the non-cookied web already with Safari, Firefox, and now Microsoft Edge.

There’s a misconception that addressability and identity just enable targeting. However, attribution and measurement are arguably as important, if not more so. If a marketer can’t prove a return on their campaigns, they’re not likely to allocate more budget. 

Secondly, we’re seeing  improvements to the programmatic supply chain making it as efficient and effective as possible by unlocking the insights that are discoverable through its massive scale. Price discovery is one such concept, and is key to enabling efficient scale by creating more transparency about the value of transactions between media owners and buyers.

This is going to be a huge shift as DSPs improve their functionality to find the most efficient path to supply, identifying which avenues are of most value to advertisers down to an impression level.

B&T: These are some interesting perspectives and will definitely foster a great discussion at Cannes in Cairns – what are you most looking forward to at the event?

Definitely an enormous amount to unpack through these topics, and I’m looking forward to discussing this theme through the lens of a Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at the event.

In addition, I’m really excited to be on the ground and connecting in person. It’s been a tough two years not being able to reunite face-to-face with the industry, and who could ask for a better location than sunny Cairns!

Janette Higginson will be moderating the panel discussion on media investment alongside Kristian Kroon – CIO, Omnicom Media Group, Virginia Hyland – CEO, Havas Media and Philippa Noilea-Tani – Chief Investment Officer, Wavemaker at Cannes in Cairns.  

Register here to join us and hear about the future of Media Investment from the CIO’s perspective. 

To learn more about Index Exchange visit 

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