The recent Media Ad Sales Summit dove head first into the conversations of automating the ad buy and sell process and what was made clear is the need for more open environments in which to transact along with deeper collaboration. Moderator, Joe Lampert, EVP Media Practice for Edge Technology Services asked the panelists if there were too many hands in the pocket, i.e. holding the industry back from adopting a more sustainable and automated process for buying and selling advertising?
Canvas Worldwide’s SVP Technology, Kevin McEvilly, explained his agency’s man in the middle role, whereby they are an advocate for the client first, but also have a duty to advocate for the technology as part of the overall buying process. Agencies need the buying process to function all the way through the entire buy/sell cycle, expressing that it can’t fall short and yet it often does because 1+1 is not equaling 2. So where is the problem?
Operative’s CEO, Lorne Brown, likened the ad buying/selling process of each media platform to swimming in your own lane and expressed that there is growth potential in switching lanes, i.e. selling across multiple platforms. The industry’s obstacles relate back to the varying platforms transactional differences, from negotiations, to the way we buy, to measurement. Most on the panel agree that Facebook is a great example of automated ad buying done right, with Lorne stating that half of the company’s $80 billion dollars is all automated. It delivers the buyer choice, maintains simplicity throughout the ad buy process, while delivering automated metrics. Lorne added that buying linear TV is a more complex environment than digital, but that complexity can be a competitive advantage.
Adopting an automated ad buy/sell approach will evolve as more common threads surface, such as a unified metric. And this is not a one-way street. It should be said that it is not all on TV to become more like digital; there exists an opportunity for digital to become more like linear. MediaOcean’s VP Global Business Development, Fraser Woollard expressed TV is still more effective than digital for agencies to process and re-emphasized that measurement is one of digital’s biggest problems. His example of when Nielsen has a rating of 3.2, we all agree that it is 3.2, yet on the digital side, we can all be using Google to measure and yet have varying results.
In addition to the common threads necessary for developing a more automated ad buy/sell across platform, so too is the need for a more open and scalable environment. With so many vendors in the mix and competing to grab more market share, Kevin shared that they often find their situation like that of chasing after a pretty squirrel. And yet, sitting back and waiting for that new thing to playout has more times than not proven the right move. In true panel conversation, Lorne expressed the need for action and change - stating that those who do nothing will fall behind like so many of the retailers did when they failed to embrace the world of online retail ahead of Amazon, who now owns 50% of the retail market.
It is understandable, and it is up to the technology companies, like ours, to develop the technology that enables the future. As Steve Jobs famously stated, “A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.” It is clear, given the complexity of the markets we are in that there is not any one company that has a crystal ball, financial backing, or customer base to easily solve ad buying automation for linear and digital. What is necessary is for us as an industry to collaborate and innovate together to deliver the solutions necessary to advance our industry as a whole.
The Media Ad Sales Summit was an ideal event to bring together industry leadership to discuss the latest in technology, challenges and the opportunities, and possible pathways for our future. Watch the Automating the Ad Buy session from the Media Ad Sales Summit, here.