Programmatic myths - the industry speaks out

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 23 April 2015

Will programmatic see off the agency model? Does it drive down yield? Is it for cheap and low quality inventory and will it replace human beings? Not according to these programmatic honchos who take aim at some common programmatic myths.

As part of the AdNews Programmatic Special Report in the 3 April issue of the magazine (Subscribe here), we asked those in the space for their views on what ridiculous myths were currently circling the programmatic scene.

Check out their views below and be sure to add your views in the comments section below. You can also read - the industry's blue sky thinking with 14 programmatic predictions at the ready, and Programmatic TV – a race to the top here.

Q: What is the single most ridiculous thing/myth you have heard about programmatic?

Mark Frain, national sales director, MCN, said: “That it is a race to the bottom for price. Programmatic, when it is defined as being data intelligence and automation is actually a premium offering, delivering a better outcome for agencies and advertisers.”

Doireann Ó Brádaigh, commercial director - AU/NZ at at pure-play DSP, The Trade Desk, said: “Race to the Bottom. The ignorant statement that people often refer to in market. Programmatic is about valuing each and every single impression at what the market is willing to pay at a particular time and not based on how a publisher decides to value their inventory.”

General manager international at the Rubicon Project, Jay Stevens, said: “RTB is driving down my yield. To me, that’s like blaming your fax machine because your sales person sold the campaign for too little.”

Neil Robinson, News Corps director digital strategy and sales, said: “Programmatic is cheap low quality inventory.”

Grace Liau, general manager VivaKi APAC, said: “That it is not transparent”.

Ben Green, sales director programmatic, audience and native ads and direct sales director at Yahoo7 and Yahoo NZ said: “The automation and efficiencies of programmatic trading means fewer people on the buy and sell-side are required to implement and deliver effective campaigns for clients. And for Salespeople and Planner Buyers, this means “…no more cocktails”. We still manage to get out for the odd Friday lunch.”

Patrick Darcy, RadiumOne commercial director Asia Pacific, said: “That programmatic technology will replace human beings. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Technology will never replace creativity, intuition, great ideas or the need for strong relationships between brands and consumers and buyers and sellers.”

Carolyn Bollaci, VP global accounts at Sizmek, Asia-Pacific, said: “That programmatic will mean the demise of the agency model. Although there is a lot of media decisioning being taken up through the programmatic channel, there is still a need for strategy and service layering.”

Michael Correa, sales director, Australia, at mobile DSP, PocketMath, said: “That programmatic is RTB and RTB is programmatic. It is more nuanced than that with applications for numerous business models and use cases. Conversely, I think Brandon Paine from AppNexus sums it up well: 'what is Programmatic? Using technology to improve process and data to improve results'”.

Daniel Rowlands, director of supply APAC at SpotXchange, said: “When people think about programmatic, many have a conditioned response to that it’s a race to a bottom and that’s totally inaccurate. The marketplace is no longer dominated by remnant, long-tail interview. We’re seeing many of the premium publishers putting more and more volumes through the programmatic infrastructure.

“Publishers can sell their inventory for more than they do today by giving addressability and optionality to buyers. If you allow an advertiser to buy their audience you can sell it for more. If publishers really harness this power of programmatic for they can sell inventory for more, and give advertisers more targeted, effective ad options.”

Mitch Waters, MD of Australia and New Zealand, said: “That it fuels a race to the bottom. Programmatic trading is very much a movement that has been lead from the buy side. Publishers have been much slower to the come to the table with concerns initially that they had everything to lose.”

Dan Sheppard, regional practice director at tech, media and communications recruitment group, Xpand, said: “Biggest myths...A recent opinion piece on dodgy DSP's I read on AdNews.”

Sam Smith, TubeMogul Australia/New Zealand managing director, said: “The biggest myth around the programmatic advertising market is that it’s not transparent. Our whole business, and media buying platform, is built around transparency. We provide our brand advertisers with more than sixty metrics at a site-level for each video ad impression delivered.

“We believe that digital media is now more accountable than any other media, and the deployment of advanced software platforms is delivering advertisers a granular view of where and how their advertising is performing.”

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