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Is programmatic experimenting enough to move up the funnel

As more product and service providers, focussed on marketing, add programmatic to their mix, the opportunities from this manifestation of ad technology become evident. But with like all things new, programmatic comes with its own set of challenges

Premium inventory, for instance, has been an area of concern in the space even though with the likes of AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo opening up their platforms, this issue is getting addressed. For Asia Pacific, the impetus is also on devising market-focussed solutions instead of broad APAC solution that many believe does not exist in the current decentralised market.

“Marketers have to learn to address individual markets in this digital world. Programmatic buying is becoming very important to build that capability but it is still a clouded area,” admitted Michelle Froah, who until recently was the head of regional marketing at Kimberley Clark.

“The only marketers who are leveraging programmatic are the ones closer to the lower funnel, who largely deal with things that can be sold online. Interestingly, this is the same segment that latched on to search ahead of the others. This particular segment gets programmatic better than mass brands. Education is still a barrier, especially for things that cannot be sold online,” explained Prashant Kumar, President, World Markets – Asia, IPG Mediabrands.

One of the facts true for Asia is that players such as ecommerce and online travel are already seeing 30 per cent of their buying through programmatic, and this is expected to grow to 50 per cent in the next year. “There is a need gap in the market if you are to consider these facts,” explained Gautam Talwar, Vice President, Partnerships Asia, Makers Studios.

The challenges that programmatic faces in APAC, also depend on the market. Australia has made it abundantly clear that for a market that is ready, programmatic is also a reality in other media forms such as videos and out of home. The barriers to programmatic begins with first understanding its very definition since there still are industry players that confuse programmatic for real time bidding (RTB), not realising that RTB is only one component. The key benefit of programmatic is automation but the overall play goes much beyond.

The programmatic journey has covered significant ground in APAC. But what should the road ahead be like. One of the steps that could help programmatic move up the marketing funnel is leveraging more of programmatic direct. “Programmatic direct is a wonderful space,” stated Mr Kumar, and added, “It is good for mid and upper funnel campaigns and a solution that will resonate across multiple brands. It is a performance plugin that brings in affinity buy to the equation.”

Phil Duffield, Senior Vice President, International, Adap.tv pointed out the need to focus on transparency in programmatic offers, stating that if a marketer knows exactly how and where his ad dollar is being spent, it will increase trust and hence adoption.

Mobile programmatic is another point that can define the future of the space and in enable higher yields. One of the key areas to understand is that programmatic will thrive in co-existence — the machine offered answers will have to go hand-in-hand with creative/ human created bespoke solutions. Players in the domain will have to look for more ways to experiment much like digital brands did a decade ago. Programmatic doesn’t solve all advertiser needs and it is only the right combination that will attract the high spender.

The discussion was taking place at dmexco’s first satellite event in Singapore, hosted in association with sponsor partner Adap.tv.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.