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What We Learned at the Digiday Media Buying Summit in ATX

4 MINUTE READ | November 16, 2018

What We Learned at the Digiday Media Buying Summit in ATX

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Abby Bollinger

Abby Bollinger has written this article. More details coming soon.

This October, hundreds of digital marketing stakeholders came together from agencies, brands, consultancy groups, and ad tech partners to discuss the primary challenges impacting the industry at Digiday’s Media Buying Summit held in Austin, TX. These Summits are held throughout the year, all touching on similar themes. The ATX conference focused on topics such as the growth of programmatic, AI and Innovation, Personalization, Amazon’s dominance in the advertising space, GDPR and the growing importance of 1st-party data.

Abby Bollinger and Laura Bowman at Digiday Programmatic Summit in ATX

Programmatic dominated many conversations and stats were thrown around touting its continuous growth in the digital advertising space. Matt Doherty of stated that “84% of all digital display sales will transact programmatically in 2019 [as stated by eMarketer].”

Sarah Stringer of Carat then presented on Innovation where several interesting topics were discussed. She primarily explored the idea that human nature is still the driver of how people consume media and use technology. With personalization now the table stakes and users’ most loved platforms allowing them to curate the media consumed (*cough cough* Instagram) advertisers need to “think like a human” as Stringer put it and look to test innovative ideas and new technologies at low cost to prove out before scaling.

Personalization was a major theme with several speakers touching on this idea and the challenges advertisers face when pursuing this kind of execution. Jonathan Halvorson, VP of Global Media, Digital and Data at Mondelēz International, gave a cute example of a personalized campaign by Oreo where the company reigned in historical CPG marketing from “mass messaging” to the “This Oreo Goes Out To” campaign which advertised an Oreo package designed with left-handers in mind.

Amazon was, of course, discussed. Will Margaritis, VP of E-Commerce with 360i, said that “despite the challenges, if you can be using Amazon for your brand, you should be.” Amazon, as everyone knows, has the consumer best simply because they know when and what users have purchased. This advantage far outweighs the drawback of Amazon’s current state. Some compared the capabilities to ‘Google in 2008’, with a lack of training, transparency, and inexperience when working with agencies.

Lisa Purpura spoke of a world without cookies (we think the edible kind will still be okay) stating that 1st-party data is where brands should be focusing and building up in preparation of GDPR implications. She shared many eye-opening stats, including:

  • 64% of cookies are either blocked or disabled.

  • 64% say 1st-party data leads to the highest increase in customer lifetime value.

  • 62% say 1st-party data offers the highest lift among data sources.

Although all of this rich content was valuable to hear, the most exciting part of the Summit was the Programmatic Working Session. Kyle Krueger, SVP of Media Planning at Engine, led a group of stakeholders from all angles of the programmatic space in a discussion of the current challenges facing the industry. With DSPs, SSPs, agencies, ad tech providers and brands all represented, the group had an open and refreshingly intentional conversation about the different pain points and possible solutions. In the end, we came out with four problems and ended with one ultimate solution:

  • Programmatic needs a standard definition. “You’re selling native, you’re selling CTV, you’re selling video, you’re selling mobile, but you’re NOT selling programmatic.”

  • ‘Continued bad reputation’ needs to become a ‘badass reputation.’ There is a perception issue that has clouded the marketplace.

  • “Programmatic doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up, and there is a lack of direction for those entering the industry.”

  • “All industry stakeholders are lying to themselves to some degree with indifference running amuck to what inventory advertisers are running across.”

The larger group discussed these key points and decided that programmatic isn’t ‘scary,’ but it does need a rebrand and the way to do that? Education. We are all responsible for striving for excellence when executing programmatic buys and can do so through further education. Increased internal agency training more education from IAB is needed, vendors should contribute where possible, and more direct conversations are needed with SSPs.

After all of the impactful presentations coupled with meaningful conversations, our team walked away empowered to do more for our clients and inspired to continue our education as expert traders in the space.

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Thank you, Digiday, for another fantastic Summit!

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