Through the looking glass: what’s in store for ‘madtech’?

What should the ‘madtech’ world be thinking about as we dust off 2018? 

The pending Identity wars

Many column inches will once again be dedicated to the pros and cons of probabilistic versus deterministic IDs. Digital identity will become the new battleground, 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 they will be the must-have accessories as consumer time fragments even further from desktop, mobile web, app, over the top (OTT) and 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 while 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 third-party cookies (think ITP and beyond!).

There will be cries and demands. Both the buy and sell-side want a common framework when it comes to identity. The question of who should own this will be a moot point, but still be debated at great length on many panels next year. Should identity be a commodity or USP? Time will tell…

Data Portability

There will be a growing appetite from chief marketing officers to be able to extract and apply their data holistically across each walled garden. It may sound far-fetched as identity is tightly controlled by the few but how will the many manage the basics of planning and buying such as frequency without it?

Brands and their agencies will become increasingly frustrated that the siloed insights they are receiving are effectively rendering their DMPs and CDPs redundant when it comes to the interpretation and activation of their data assets at the macro, not micro level.

If we’re ever going to reach the utopia of buying audiences and not screens, portability of data and specifically identity will be a necessity, not a luxury. 2018 was the year brands commanded supply transparency. I genuinely believe 2019 will be the year they ask for basic rights when it comes to digital ID management and ownership.

Voice search creating brand bypass

As smart speakers adoption grows, we’re going to continue to see stats next year that reference the decline of traditional search as voice search rises. This is going to create a lot of opportunity and disruption to many, as ‘brand bypass’ starts to set in. If somebody shouts at their speaker for batteries, razors or cheese, how will the speaker order if a brand name is not used prior to the request?

There will be lots of questions from brands in this area as concerns around speaker owners also being competing retail merchants begin to grow. In 2018, brands can capture intent online with paid search but this dynamic is changing quickly due to the growth of voice that is less than easy to get in front of in the connected homes of tomorrow.

Portable bidding logic

Many are going to start to think about owning their bidding logic. What do I mean? Well, some DSPs already let smart buyers play around with bidding logic and create custom features.

However, from the conversations I’ve had recently, it sounds like the ability for a brand or agency to port custom bidding logic from one DSP to another is still severely limited due to interoperability restrictions. Again, many will say I am daydreaming when I suggest this, but the way bidding logic works for a seat selling luxury cars will be completely different from the way it would work for another seat looking to sell moisturiser.

As brands and their agencies are forced to use more, not less DSPs as each start to create tangible USPs such as access to O&O supply or 1st party data. Sophisticated client trading desks and agencies will start to look for DSPs that can ingest their own proprietary bidding logic in a plug and play fashion so they can switch in and out new execution layers based on features like QPS, price, service, supply (audio, DOOH, OTT etc), data, device graphs et al.

The application of blockchain in madtech moves beyond PPT

Yes, I am aware that blockchain in madtech is a bit of a joke to those who live and breathe the sector (many think it’s vapourware and too slow to support OpenRTB), however, there is no escaping the fact that both brands and publishers will continue to intensify their asks around transparency in 2019.

If ‘madtech’ vendors and agencies do not self-regulate, concepts such as a distributed ledger ‘public’ or ‘private’ are going to start to look more attractive by the day.

As I write this, two major holding companies have already released their intentions to support a blockchain framework (DAN and GroupM), many big brands such as Toyota are also exploring and have adopted to support their advertising strategies. I see blockchain like programmatic 10 years ago, we are still at the conceptual stages and it is far easier to bash than it is to enter into meaningful conversations.

To summarise, many reports have suggested that funding for new ad and martech entrants is going to dry up in 2019. Boy did I laugh when I read that. There has never been so much change and opportunity in the industry. To name a few areas:

OOH – The M&A in this sector right now is bonkers, think Global taking out Primesight, Outdoor Plus and Exterion. Like TV, OOH is an area that resonates really well with both consumers and advertisers and the opportunity to extract even further value via the application of tech and data is exciting to many. There is going to be so much innovation in DOOH over the next 12 months and lots of opportunities for existing and new entrants.

OTT – So much has already been written about the migration of linear TV budgets due to this new world of CTV via OTT environments and many in madtech are going to see the tide rise for them. It has already been proven that large demographics globally are increasingly difficult to reach via linear broadcasts (AKA cord cutters) and they are only accessible to advertisers via addressable channels. Those in the video data, sell side and activation space are each going to be building their features and honing their narratives for this lucrative opportunity in 2019 and beyond.

Expect many new OTT entrants specifically in the data and measurement area as new protocols and standards continue to be agreed by industry constituents.

So here’s the bottom line: identity will feature heavily in discussions next year and ‘portability’ will be a theme that dominates. The digital advertising sector is an amazing place to be right now and I can’t wait for 2019, times are a-changin’.

Read the original article published in The Drum.

On 6 November we kick off our next Trust Talks event in London. On a scale of 1-10, how excited are we to bring this event back to the UK? We reckon about 15! This edition of Trust Talks is focused on all things programmatic!

The programmatic advertising ecosystem can be a confusing place – so full of acronyms, vendors and platforms that it can be hard to know who (and what) you can trust. The issues of brand safety have dominated the headlines in recent times, and this is only becoming more of a concern as programmatic buying continues to scale.

In light of this we decided it was time to bring influential figures within the programmatic sphere in the UK together under one roof for the morning to discuss the problems and opportunities that programmatic is facing, and how we can work together as an industry to either solve or embrace them.

We will be hosting a number of panels throughout the morning to discuss and tackle some of the most prevalent issues and questions being asked across the programmatic model. Take a look below to find out who will be speaking, and what each panel will cover.

Trust Talks: The Great Programmatic Debate will be live streaming via the Unruly Facebook page from 9-12 on Tuesday 5th November!

09:10 – 09:40: Adtech 2018 – impressions from the sell side

Adtech 2018 - impressions from the sell side panel

Moderated by Ronan Shields, Ad Tech Reporter, Adweek. This panel will address the issues and opportunities facing premium publishers in 2018. From the rise of initiatives such as ITP from Safari restricting ad opportunities on mWeb, right through to the complex landscape of unified yield management, also known as header bidding. The panel will discuss life post-GDPR, the rise of 2nd party data marketplaces, and why publisher coalitions are so hot right now. 

Speakers:

  • Dora Michail, MD Digital Telegraph
  • Steph Miller, Head of Sales & Marketing Services, Zoopla
  • Danny Spears, Programmatic Director, The Guardian
  • Lauren Dick – Head of Emerging Platforms, Mail Online
09:45 – 10:15: Identity, the quest for an open & alternative ID continues

Identity, the quest for an open & alternative ID continues panel

Moderated by Paul Gubbins, Programmatic Lead, Unruly. This panel looks at where we are as an industry in the quest for an alternative and open ID. They will challenge the idea that life post-cookie will challenge visibility for both buyers and sellers, unless they operate within walled gardens. The panel will also explore ID portability, and how initiatives from bodies such as the IAB Tech Lab will tackle areas of concern such as digital ID management, privacy legislation and the explosive growth of connected devices.

Speakers:

  • Nigel Gilbert – Chief Market Strategist, AppNexus EMEA, A Xandr Company
  • Shane Shevlin – SVP Strategic Development, IPONWEB
  • Matt Simpson – Joint CEO Investment Omnicom
  • Morwenna Beales, VP ID5
10:35 – 11:05: Exchanging views, thoughts from the buy side

Exchanging views, thoughts from the buy side panel

Moderated by Vincent Flood, Editor, Video Ad News. This panel will discuss in detail the ever-changing programmatic landscape and look at best practice examples from those on the buy side. it will address topics such as auction mechanics like bid caching and shading, releases such as ITP from Safari, and the emergence of new transaction models such as programmatic guaranteed. This panel will also discuss preferences for 1st versus 2nd price auctions, and how initiatives such as ads.txt have changed the way traders buy.

Speakers:

  • Matt Bushby, Head of Programmatic, MediaCom
  • Charlie Glyn – Head of Programmatic, Havas Media Group
  • Simon Harris – Head of Programmatic, Activation Dentsu Aegis
  • Emily Macdonald – SVP Precision EMEA, Publicis Media
11:10 – 11:40: Why emotions matter in an age of automated advertising

Why emotions matter in an age of automated advertising panel

Moderated by James Chandler – CMO, IAB. This panel will focus on how marketers are showing an increasing appetite to understand the connection between consumer emotions and digital advertising.

Post-GDPR, and pre full roll out of the CCPA, dependencies on 3rd party data sets have been wound down. Marketers and agencies are now looking for signals familiar from traditional advertising buys, but that are often overlooked in programmatic. Featuring pioneering insight from UnrulyEQ, this panel will discuss the rise of AI and what using traditional targeting methods via modern programmatic technology actually means for those on both the buy and sell sides.

Speakers:

  • Liam Brennan, Global Director of Innovation, MediaCom
  • Becky Waring, VP Insight, UnrulyEQ
  • Anna Forbes, UK general Manager, The Trade desk

11:40 – 12:00: Closing remarks and refreshments

Trust Talks: The Great Programmatic Debate will be live streaming via the Unruly Facebook page from 9-12 on Tuesday 5th November!

Click here to find out more about this event.