Mad Men vs Math Men

Mad Men vs Math Men
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One of the over-arching themes at industry events in APAC and across Europe this year has been the rise of advertising technology writes Jay Stevens, general manager, international, Rubicon Project.

And more specifically, how advertising automation is increasingly making its presence felt in the creative as well as in the media buying world.

Contrary to what you might expect, the growth of automation in advertising and the increasing influence of “Math Men” is something that is entirely complementary to creativity and story-telling – the cornerstones of the advertising industry.

The first years of automated advertising were largely based around direct response, data-driven campaigns and standard banners. But we are now seeing rapid change as both sellers and buyers alike are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their media trading efforts to include richer, high impact formats, native advertising and more engaging execution. Various reports suggest significantly higher user interaction, as well as yields from this new generation of digital ads.

The industry is now looking closely at what can be done to automate the entire advertising stack to better support the trading of the high impact, premium inventory, and much of the movement and recent forecasts are around automated (or ‘programmatic’) guaranteed, expected to balloon from just a few hundred million, to more than $9BN in the U.S. alone by 2018 according to IDC.  The ability to deliver rich, interactive ad formats is a critical prerequisite.

It just so happens that in collaboration with a number of other pioneers in this area, namely Merkle, InMobi and VivaKi, we are already making great strides in automating the kinds of high impact formats favoured by brand advertisers:

  • InMobi announced their exchange, powered by Rubicon Project, at the end of May, making native ad formats available via automated advertising
  • Merkle has successfully bought full page takeovers to achieve a ‘100% share-of-voice’ across a range of U.S. premium publisher sites through automated private exchange technology
  • Most recently and closer to home, in June of this year, VivaKi and News Corp Australia similarly delivered an automated full page takeover campaign for Optus, and in the words of VivaKi ANZ Director Lynn Chealander: “All parties were very pleased with the campaign, and it will definitely be repeated.” News Corp Australia Head of Platforms and Products Cameron King calls it “a great step forward for automated advertising.”

The automation of high impact creative campaigns presents a number of advantages over the older, traditional way of executing them via phone and fax.

First, as with automated advertising in general, there are considerable savings around time and resource. Automating workflows allows people to focus more time and attention on even more high impact, branding campaigns.

And as we move up the scale of creative complexity, the potential time saving offered by automation is amplified.

In the words of News Corp’s Cameron King: “Sponsorships are a crucial part of our business and we welcome anything that makes the implementation of campaigns more seamless. We’ve already witnessed programmatic becoming more of a premium channel with the growth of private marketplaces – but longer term, programmatic sponsorships hold the promise to redefine the channel completely.”

And to quote VivaKi’s Lynn Chealander again, “there are lots of benefits to automating high impact ads… In future, this type of campaign will definitely include serving high impact creative simultaneously across multiple sites, targeted to the right audience.”

Sellers like News Corp Australia, and Buyers like VivaKi clearly believe these high impact campaigns could be an important part of the next phase of automated advertising.

The combination of targeting with powerful, engaging and more creative formats is key. Because every great ad tells a story.

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