D is for Digital Identity

For the next installment of our A-Z of adtech series we’re looking at digital identity.

Digital identity has underpinned programmatic and digital advertising for the last ten years. However it now feels like everybody is discussing it more than ever. Articles and stories dedicated to digital identity management seem to be appearing in the press on a weekly basis.

At Unruly’s latest Trust Talks event in London we asked a number of leading industry experts why digital identity has become popular again, where it’s headed, and what the terms means to them.

Nigel Gilbert, Chief Market Strategist at AppNexus EMEA A Xandr Company

Nigel Gilbert

It’s all about the timing. Programmatic has been around for ten years or so. We also understand from a targeting and performance perspective that digital identity is probably the easiest and most straightforward way to target. Therefore it’s what everybody jumped on.

Retargeting returns the best performance out of any other form of targeting that you can use programmatic for. So for that reason everybody wants to scale it and find an automated solution that can work for their business. For it to be automated it has to have scale otherwise it doesn’t compute. I think there’s possibly too much of a race towards automating identity at scale than there probably should be. I don’t believe there can be a global solution, and I don’t believe people should be looking for one.    

Morwenna Beales, VP at ID5

Morwenna Beales

Programmatic was initially always about scale and the open marketplace. We’ve seen that change with the emergence of new channels like video and mobile. But what underpins programmatic now is data, and what underpins data is digital identity. I think people are starting to realise that having a grip on digital identity is a real competitive advantage against walled gardens and the marketplace. I think that’s probably why we keep talking about it.

Matt Simpson, Joint CEO Investment at Omnicom

Matt Simpson

I think digital identity is all about the identification of the individual. I know identity has not always been that; it’s been about identifying devices or cookies and so forth. But we now talk to clients about knowing as much as we can about perspective customers and about existing customers.

The reason brands are so interested in digital identity is because they’ve spent so much money on it. They’ve bought the dream of digital identity before it’s really here. With the introduction of things like GDPR, they now have this huge known audience which is their customers. They also have this unknown audience which is mainly the cookies that people use in advertising. They’re desperate to tie those two things together to get the outcomes that have been promised to them for a number of years. So for us, it’s really about knowing their consumers and their perspective consumers, and being able to inform on not just digital activity but on everything they do.

Shane Shevlin, SVP Strategic Development at IPONWEB

Shane Shevlin

Digital identity is not the same as legal identity and that creates an issue. It’s a simple question of the walled garden advantage right now. As large publishers, tech companies, and ad networks create scaled audiences with deterministic data, that leaves a lot less for smaller companies and independent publishers. That’s a problem we need to solve both for agencies and for brands today.

I think increasingly the question of regulation and ownership of your digital identity, in addition to things like cross device tracking and attribution, are still problems that need to be solved for the ecosystem. That’s where we see ourselves at IPONWEB sitting, right at the core of those very complex engineering tasks that need to be solved.  

Paul Gubbins, Programmatic Lead at Unruly     

Paul Gubbins

I believe digital Identity will become the new battle ground, and those that own it will display little sympathy for those that don’t, as it increasingly becomes a USP to lock in media budgets. Device graphs will be trendy once again next year and the must have accessories as consumer time fragments even further from desktop, mobile web, app, OTT & increasingly the devices powered by the growing IoT’s infrastructure.

ID coalitions and joint ventures will come and go. Some will focus on building a more efficient cookie to increase match rates for buyers and sellers. Others will build a common probabilistic and screen agnostic ID that will help brands and agencies manage holistic reach, frequency and attribution across their myriad of programmatic media buys in the face of walled gardens and browsers restricting 3rd party cookies (Think ITP & beyond!).

There will be cries, asks and demands from both the buy and sell side for a common framework when it comes to digital identity. Who should own this will continue to be a moot point and one debated at great length on many panels in 2019. Should digital identity be a commodity or USP? Only time will tell!

Check out other posts in our A-Z of adtech series.

This week we sat down with Ken Suh from our New York office to talk about trust in advertising, the power of emotions, and what life is like as a COO at Unruly.

Q: Hi, first of all, could you introduce yourself and tell a bit about what you do here at Unruly?

I am the Global COO at Unruly and am based in New York. I have been with Unruly for four and a half years.

Q: How did you find out about Unruly?

I learned about Unruly online and also from colleagues in the industry.  Back then, I met the co-founders and I knew this was a very special place as soon as I met them.

Q: What notable roles did you hold prior to Unruly?

I worked in digital media before Unruly at companies including ABC News, MTV, and AOL. Before I worked in media I obtained my graduate MBA degree. Before that I spent some time working in finance.

Q: What draws you to the type of work you do?

I love the fact that Unruly is on a mission to transform advertising for the better! The team and culture here are the biggest difference makers for me.

Q: With trust being a huge talking point recently what does trust mean to you?

Trust is critical not only with our clients but also within teams. If you trust that I am doing everything I can to my best ability, then I am free to take risks, think big, and execute as best as I can and vice versa. Brands trust that we know more about their audiences than others do given our unique emotional targeting approach.

Publishers trust that we are providing them the most relevant video content for their users. I strongly believe that trust is one of the main driving factors that keeps, both brands and publishers, wanting to work with us again and again. This is what I hear when I’m speaking to publishers in meetings, at conferences and out on the road.

ken on stage at prog IO

Q: Tell us about something you’ve learned while working at Unruly?

I’ve learnt so much at Unruly and continue to learn everyday! Unruly has taught me to become extremely goal-oriented, the importance of teamwork, and strong accountability. The company’s culture is like nothing I have ever experienced and it’s really great to see how it continues today. People gravitate to Unruly from all over the world and it’s been really amazing to see that.

Q: What are Unruly doing to tackle Fake News?

Unruly is focused on working with premium publishers who create real content. Our Verified Marketplace in UK is a great example of how we partner with quality publishers and promote their offering to brands. Quality continues to be a priority at Unruly as 85% of all video delivery is on Comscore 1000 websites globally!

Q: How are Unruly building trust with their consumers?

I love how Unruly works to provide polite placements to consumers. All our formats are user-controlled and provide the greatest flexibility for consumers to interact if they so desire. Consumers are also all humans who are full of emotions, and continuing to understand emotions, and how it impacts our behaviours, is a fascinating area of exploration that Unruly continues to lead.

Q: It’s the weekend: what do you like to do in your spare time?

My weekends are packed with the family, shuttling them to sports practice, music lessons, and play dates around New York City. I also enjoy following sports of all types (including soccer/football), especially when it comes to my Chicago-based sports teams!

Q: What makes you believe in the work you do at Unruly?

Our mission hasn’t changed from day one, and neither has our culture. Meanwhile our teams have evolved and grown. I truly believe that together we can do anything! My advice is to everyone at Unruly is to keep learning, growing, finding areas of exploration, and most importantly, have fun doing it! If we continue to do this nothing can stop us!

Last night Paul Gubbins was named Ad Tech Personality of the Year at The Wires.

The Wires is an annual prestigious awards ceremony hosted by ExchangeWire in London, celebrating the ad tech industry .

Last month Unruly’s Programmatic Lead Paul Gubbins was shortlisted for the award along with some of the industries leading personalities including Taboola founder and CEO Adam Singolda, Co-founder and CTO of Adform Jakob Bak and CEO of AppNexus Brian O’Kelley.

Paul collected the award last night on stage from Kate Adie CBE to a standing ovation.

A huge congrats to Jody Shilliday, Head of Advertising Solutions at Adform for winning the  Ad Tech Rising Star award.

Check out the full shortlists here.

Advertisers in New Zealand can now maximise the local impact of their video content, using UnrulyEQ.

Did you know that kiwis tend towards individualism rather than collectivism, which is in keeping with their Aussie neighbours, but also Brits, Canadians and Americans? Or that New Zealanders are very secure – meaning that in general they are less likely to buy things to feel good about themselves.

Unique cultural insight like this has been used to create two new bespoke products for the New Zealand market – launched today at ad:tech Auckland – by the video marketplace you can trust, Unruly. These products are designed to help advertisers maximise the impact of their video content and target cultural audiences at scale.

The impact of culture on consumer response to content has long been known intuitively by advertisers, and now work by Unruly has quantified this impact for the first time.

Based on the seminal cultural framework developed in the late 60s / early 70s by behavioural psychologist Geert Hofstede, and exclusive access to MediaCom’s Cultural Connections research, Unruly’s cultural insight allows advertisers to build up an extremely accurate picture of the cultural leanings of a market, and individuals within that market.

Unruly, a News Corp company, has incorporated this quantified cultural data into its video content testing solution – UnrulyEQ Max, and targeting segments – UnrulyEQ Custom Audiences for the New Zealand market.

UnrulyEQ Max allows advertisers to discover, and capitalise on, the emotional impact of their video content prior to launch. The tool utilises a variety of data sources, such as facial coding and declared survey data, to understand the impact of video creative on local audiences. Higher emotional impact drives engagement, brand recall and ultimately sales. A Nielsen consumer neuroscience study found that ads with above-average electroencephalography (EEG) scores deliver a 23% lift in sales volume (Nielsen consumer neuroscience internal study, FMCG brands, –2015). In other words, the more emotive an ad is, the more people will react to it. If an ad triggers the right emotional responses and is attributed to the correct brand, it will likely lead to increased sales.

UnrulyEQ

With culture greatly influencing the emotions people feel when watching content, the addition of Unruly’s cultural insights to the UnrulyEQ tool gives local advertisers the opportunity to further predict both campaign and brand success by pre-testing content for cultural resonance in New Zealand.

The new bespoke test also allows global and trans-Tasman advertisers to understand whether existing video content can be repurposed for the New Zealand market – giving them the opportunity to adapt creative at the pre-testing stage.

Unruly’s audience targeting solution – UnrulyEQ Custom Audiences – helps advertisers find the most receptive audiences for their video content. Using UnrulyEQ methodology, Unruly can uncover the most emotionally engaged audiences, audiences to match brand personas and consumers with the strongest intent to buy a product or those with a specific brand affinity.

With the addition of its exclusive cultural data, Unruly’s Custom Audiences solution now allows advertisers in New Zealand to further maximise the effectiveness of their video content by reaching audiences with the greatest cultural affinity to their video content.

Finding the cultural bullseye for a campaign can results in uplifts of up to 40% in purchase intent, up to 55% in brand promoters and up to 26% in brand favourability (all vs. the average consumer response to a video – Unruly testing)

Ricky Chanana, Unruly’s Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand said, “Thanks to our unique access to MediaCom’s groundbreaking Cultural Connections data, video advertising has just become a lot smarter.

In an age when media budgets are being squeezed and the need for efficiency is greater than ever, it is critical to understand how video creative will perform before media dollars are deployed. Our UnrulyEQ testing and targeting solutions can help advertisers to reduce media wastage and ensure better engagement with consumers.

Our cultural targeting segments can be used to maximise the impact of the ads even in situations where videos cannot be edited. We can find pockets of ambitious individualists in collectivist markets, find fashionistas in markets where function reigns and curious cats in markets where the norm is closed.

New Zealand is a unique market, with a unique set of cultures, and these tools will give our clients confidence that their campaigns won’t just reach people, they’ll move them.”

They kept us waiting for what seemed like forever but the John Lewis & Partners’ Christmas ad is finally here!

The UK department store released their Christmas ad entitled Elton John Lewis this morning (Thursday 15). The UK chain kept the public waiting for longer than usual and changed a number of their storefront names from John Lewis to John in the lead up which built up the excitement even more.

This morning their ad was released to the world with mixed opinions. This year’s ad feels very different to anything they’ve done before. Years gone by have featured woodland creatures, penguins, and monsters, often with playful and youthful tones. This year was a step away from that, with the brand using the life of global pop star Elton John to tell their Christmas story.

The chain changed their name to John Lewis & Partners earlier this year so perhaps Elton John Lewis is a statement to the world that they are moving in a new direction, or maybe they just fancied a shake up of the traditional model they have stuck to for so long.

An emotional perspective

Our UnrulyEQ Insights team have given us their first impressions of the Elton John Lewis ad and what emotions they believe it evokes. They have also looked at how it compares on an emotional level to John Lewis & Partners Christmas ads from the past three years.

A clear trend across the past three years has been that of aiming for the relatable and the magic of Christmas; ‘Man On The Moon’ focused on loneliness around Christmas, ‘Buster The Boxer’ on the sheer joy of Christmas and ‘Moz The Monster’ on the experience of monsters under the bed, whilst bringing a loving Christmas attitude to the story.

Elton John Lewis on the other hand offers a complete change in focus and goes down the route of watching the life of a pop legend in rewind. The ad ends with him as a child getting his first piano for Christmas. It offers a clear depiction of the effect a gift can have on someone’s life. Receiving a piano  set the course of Elton John’s life and career, which turned out to be life-changing.

How does it compare?

Previous years’ focus on relatability has proved to drive a strong emotional response amongst viewers; tugging at the heartstrings by portraying the magic of Christmas through the innocent eyes of children. In contrast, even though Elton John Lewis is likely to be less applicable to the greater population, it is likely to drive strong pride evoked from depicting a national treasure such as Elton John. This is likely to be coupled with warmth from depicting not only Elton John’s extraordinary career, but also that he was once just a boy receiving a gift at Christmas.

John Lewis ad comparison

Even though many will find Elton John’s story emotional, there is likely to be a proportion of viewers who question the ad’s emphasis on Christmas. Furthermore, with the film ‘Rocket Man’ being released in the spring, which tells the story of Elton John’s life, some might query the promotional aspects of this ad.

Ultimately, with much anticipation, we are awaiting the true effects of Elton John Lewis which marks a new style of Christmas ad from the brand. We are expecting a strong but potentially polarising emotional response from the British people.

Check out our insights on some of the most popular Christmas ads from the past few years.

Find out more about our UnrulyEQ offering.

Unruly’s latest Trust Talks event happened on the 6 November at the Hospital Club in London. The event featured four panels, all focused on the world of programmatic. It was standing room only at this massively popular event which brought together premium publishers and advertisers for open and honest discussions to take the industry forward.

The first panel was moderated by Adweek’s Ronan Shields, and addressed the issues and opportunities facing premium publishers in 2018.

For the panel Ronan was joined by Dora Michail, MD Digital, the Telegraph, Steph Miller, Head of Sales & Marketing Services at Zoopla, Danny Spears, Programmatic Director at The Guardian and Lauren Dick, Head of Emerging Platforms at MailOnline.

Ronan Shields (RS): What do SSPs have to do to differentiate in this day and age?

Danny Spears (DS): In order to understand where this is going we need to look at where we are today. Unfortunately we are still in a position of distrust, where there is real concern from premium publishers, as well as buyers and brands, as to what happens in the intermediary layer. Once you understand and acknowledge this, then you can form a clear view of the direction of travel.

Over the past three years we’ve [the Guardian] talked about three key strategic pillars; control, transparency and value. We still pursue these three pillars today however conversations around access to our own data, and having to continuously wrestle with vendors to stop them changing auction dynamics is exhausting. We’re moving to a world where the intermediaries need to become customer centric. Bid caching is a fantastic example of something that was done to benefit an intermediary which was then shoehorned into language to justify its value to me, which I don’t see, and that is exactly the opposite of where we need to be! It comes down to serving me as a customer, weaving into my stack and becoming a really important part of my strategy.

Danny Spears

Steph Miller (SM): I sort of agree, however I sort of disagree too! Yes, I think transparency is important however the market is saturated at the moment and in order to decide on who we want to use and test with, SSPs need to have a USP and give us a reason to test with them as it’s a long process which is difficult to do, expensive and time consuming. So you need to have a reason to try out new partners. If we hound these companies about telling us absolutely everything and not changing anything once we’ve partnered with them, then I think that stops them being entrepreneurial and coming up with new ideas, and ways in which we can work better together.

Dora Michail (DM): I think premium publishers have reached a point of saturation with regard to their ad stack. A year ago, we would have been open to having conversations about something that might interest a publisher. What interests premium publishers are ways in which they can get more value. We’re in a position where we need to take what we have and figure out ways to optimise it.  What we need from our ad tech stack is ways in which we can do that, and ways in which we can find value that also translates into value for the advertiser. It has to be reciprocal in order to continue to work. I think this is key for premium publishers, and should be the main thing that SSPs care about as we move into 2019.

trust talks panel

Lauren Dick (LD): I think, as premium publishers, we are all trying to bring advertisers closer to the supply and short circuit what is going on in between. The challenge that we have is that we’ve managed to complicate the complicated by adding layers of validation and mediation in between which blinds and confuses everyone. A lot of people didn’t understand it anyway, and we’ve now complicated it further with emerging technologies which are supposed to measure the problems that we have in the transparency of the supply chain. We’re making a further rod for our own back by putting these layers in between what should be a very simple supply chain.

RS: What do you all think of the transparency pact that the six exchanges signed?  Was this just more PR, or will it have a genuine impact on the way the industry operates?

DS: I want to take a huge amount of hope from it however, my concern is that it looks like more PR. The things we’re seeing played back in those statements are the things I’ve been asking for for three years and which I’ve largely been pushed back on. This is being struck at a time when Index has been called out on bid caching, and so I suppose I question the timing, and whether it’s been done for the right reasons. I genuinely hope the parties involved are committed, however the truth is we’ll only see changes based on their behaviour. Making a statement is one thing, but the behaviour and action must follow.

Dora Michail

LD:  I still think there are a lot of flaws in other technologies that are out there. If we take the time it takes to update brand safety as an example, it doesn’t allow for the real-time ecosystem. I think that it is largely an exercise in PR. It’s great to have a start which says this is what we are trying to do but I feel like it will go the way of many other initiatives where we all talk about it, know what it is, and know we should be adhering to it but nothing actually ever gets implemented.  

DS: I really believe the noise that was created around bid caching demonstrates a notable change in the way that the market behaves, which I take a huge amount of positivity from. It highlights the fact that now, if you behave in a questionable manner, then you will be called out for that behaviour. This is a fundamental shift, and a very healthy sign that the market is moving in the right direction.

RS: Do you find that the buy side want to plug directly into demand to avoid dealing with the SSPs?

DM: There are buying practices that have become the default and I believe it will take something quite significant to make those changes. Agency trading desks have spent a long time getting their tech, and the work they need to do for all their reporting, in order and we can’t underestimate the cost of switching that best practice that they’ve created for themselves. I think that’s quite a significant barrier to simplifying things because they’ve done a huge amount of work setting things up, and it works well for them.  

DS: The Guardian has an appetite to control technology as a means to execute its strategy which feels fundamentally important. However, we do question the need for us to go and integrate into DSPs directly. That’s what ad exchanges are very good at. It creates this amazing opportunity for a quality ad exchange who is completely transparent and trusted by it’s customers to actually differentiate from the rest of the market.  However, I suppose that does mean that it has to answer to our individual customer needs, and for me, that’s about making sure that I have access to data and that it’s woven into my strategy meaning that it becomes an inherent part of a larger engine rather than presenting itself as an engine as many ad exchanges have tried to do.

If you’d like to watch the full panel in action, check out the video below.

And we’re LIVE! Join us for #TrustTalks: The Great Programmatic Debate. We will be streaming all morning from 9am (GMT) until 12.Watch some of the world’s leading advertisers and publishers including Dentsu, Omnicom, Publicis, The Guardian, Mail Online, and The Telegraph tackle the most prevalent issues and questions being asked across the programmatic industry today.Check out the mornings schedule here: https://unruly.co/blog/article/2018/10/24/announcing-londons-trust-talks-panels/Hankering for more? Sign up for our Programmatic Predictions to get the rundown of what to expect from Programmatic in 2019! https://go.unruly.co/prog_predictions

Posted by Unruly on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

We have some really exciting news to share!

Recently four Unrulies were put forward for the UK TechWomen100 Awards 2018 which highlights the accolades of up-and-coming inspirational female tech talent, in order to help guide a new generation of female role models for the industry.

It is no secret that the technology industry lacks female representation at all levels, and the awards help to highlight successful and influential women, whilst serving as a platform for female technologists to shine.

The aim of the TechWomen100 Awards is to highlight the accolades of up-and-coming inspirational female tech talent, and create a new generation of female role models for the industry.

Elena Corchero, Gel Goldsby, Jade Vincent and Mariya Petkova from Unruly were all put forward and we’re excited to announce that they have all been shortlisted!

They now need your help to make it into the top 100!

Voting couldn’t be easier, just head here and select your winner from the list.

Last month I was invited along to the ExchangeWire studios to take part in their latest MadTech Podcast as the weeks special guest.

I joined ExchangeWire’s CEO, Ciaran O’Kane, and COO, Rachel Smith to chat about Unruly, programmatic, and the latest trends and news stories from the world of advertising.

During the podcast you can hear us chat and debate about the following topics;

  • Now that Brian O’Kelley is moving on, what does he do next?
  • What can be done to save Johnston Press? And what can ad tech do to help journalism?
  • Has OTT hit a saturation point, and does ad-funded content still have a future?
  • The Unruly solution for buyers and sellers.
  • The shift from IO to programmatic guaranteed, and what that means for the market.
  • The future of independent ad tech, and the differentiation required to survive.

Listen to the podcast:

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