Should Ad Tech Firms Bypass Agencies & Work Directly With Advertisers?

Should Ad Tech Firms Bypass Agencies & Work Directly With Advertisers?

Last week Nine hosted its annual and excellent Big Ideas store in Sydney and virtually.

During an industry debate (which you can watch in full here) on what the new marketing world will look like without third party cookies, a curveball question came from the audience – should ad tech firms bypass agencies and simply work directly with advertisers?

One of the panellists, Adobe’s product marketing lead, data and experience management solutions, Gabbi Stubbs (main photo), admitted it was a difficult question to answer given the number of stakeholders in the agency-adtech-client relationship.

“I think there’s different roles that people play in the relationship,” Stubbs said. “For example, there’s things that sit around onboarding and enhancement. And if the agency has an ID themselves then that would make a difference to the relationship we [Adobe] had with them. And by that I mean more in terms of being a data moderator or a data enhancer.

“It’s more about an agency being able to enhance the data that their clients already have and that’s about being able to manage a DDP or manage another platform on behalf of their clients. And that’s not to say that agencies don’t often have superior skills in that area,” Stubbs said.

Adobe, she said, realises it has a responsibility to train agencies in its software particularly over the next decade in terms of analytics or the data management.

Stubbs added that the new cookieless world could also pose problems for agencies whose clients’ business struggled to pivot to the new normal.

“The question is will brands be able to pivot to the new cookieless world? If they’re saying they can’t do what they’ve done before then that probably makes things a little more challenging in terms of their operations with their clients.

“We have the same challenges that a publisher may have in terms of running the risk of people being pushed into stacks. But the beauty of an Adobe solution is that it’s agonistic, it’s secure, but it also has the ability to integrate with the data source or a destination or to bring around models in AI to give you far more control,” Stubb said.

Another panellist, Nine’s director of advertising and products, Ben Campbell, argued that what we’re seeing now is a return to publishers and advertisers actually working much closer together, forgoing their previously rancorous past.

Campbell recalled an earlier time in his career – around 2007 – when behavioural targeting was all the rage for advertisers and it appeared the concept was back in vogue.

“And even back then people used to sell context and there was a close working relationship with publishers and advertisers,” Campbell said.

“But as programmatic grew and advertisers were able to activate data, they didn’t necessarily need a first-party relationship with that customer, the relationship became disintermediated.

“But I think we’re back at a wonderful place now, it’s back to the future where publishers and advertisers will  [again] be working much more closely together.

“They’ll be sharing their data, they’ll be using each other’s insights at the same level of effectiveness with the marketing and I think that’s a really healthy place for the industry to be in,” he said.




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