Publishers eye data alliances to tackle walled gardens

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 26 May 2016
UBS's Eric Choi, PwC's Megan Brownlow, Publicis Media CEO Matt James, Atomic 212 CEO Jason Dooris and Carat's Ashley Earnshaw spoke on the Investment Outlook panel at the Media Summit, moderated by Omnicom CEO Leigh Terry.

Australian publishers could be looking to get into bed with airlines, telcos and supermarkets to marry their inventory with these businesses authentication data, in a bid to take on the likes of Google and Facebook.

This move could see local publishers access these firms pools of customer data, with the hope that the partnerships will be able to help publishers fight back against the walled gardens created by the digital behemoths.

Speaking at the Media Summit, APEX Advertising chief executive Pippa Leary says that conversations between publishers and these businesses are already happening, explaining that the industry is set to see a rise in the “identity co-operatives”, which such deals would create.

“I think everyone is in the process of looking at this right now,” she says. “Everybody is wondering how do you create people based marketing solutions and addressability that is going to be able to compete against the walled gardens?”

Leary pointed to a recent Morgan Stanley report, which looked at the rate of global leakage and said that in the Australian media market Google and Facebook grew by a billion dollars in 2015. Of that, the rest of the media market grew by $300 million. Leary said this meant Google and Facebook took all of the growth and gouged all of the other media channels, “which obviously is an issue”.

Leary clarified that this move by the publishers doesn't mean that they'll be fighting walled gardens by creating their own walled gardens, rather publishers locally will be looking to work with technology providers and other data players to gain greater addressability, which is something that at the moment Google and Facebook have a duopoly on.

“This thing has got to open for it to work. We're moving into a different era now,” Leary added.

Leary was speaking on the Digital Reality Check panel alongside GroupM's director of technical operations, Timothy Whitfield, Gum Gum's vice president for Australia and New Zealand, Jon Stubley, REA Group's head of media operations and strategy, Jonas Jaanimagi and Vivaki's vice president for Australia and New Zealand, Lynn Chealander.

We've got so much wastage on our hands.”

The panel also looked at other big issues plaguing the digital space, including transparency, adblocking and viewability, with Jaanimagi saying that one of these big issues is actually a blessing rather than a curse.

“I see adblockers as forces for good, they make digital better,” he said. “If you have an issue with adblocking … You need to think about the ads you're delivering on a personal mobile experience. We've got to the point where we've realised what we've been doing is bad, it's just junk.

“So now we create the embedded native thought through creatively beautiful experiences for consumers that they want to be apart of. It's actually a win.”

Another big issue that was raised on the panel was that of wastage. GroupM's Whitfield explained that the agency group conducted a test that called on 16 DSPs. Only six agreed to take part, with the media agency group then putting in $100 to see how much of that spent actually hit the target audience.

The test highlighted that for every $100 of inventory on average only $16 actually hit the target audience – so that's a wastage of 84%.

“These are the really big issues that we really need to get down to solving,” he says. “It's not about how we can tweak this campaign and how can we get more ROI, we've got so much wastage on our hands.”

When it comes to what GroupM is doing to tackle this problem, Whitfield explained that the media player is working out how it can minimise waste.

“We use our size and scale to ensure that as much of that dollar goes to the publisher as possible – it's an economies of scale thing, we've got nothing to hide there,” he says.

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