We brought together top industry leaders for a programmatic breakfast workshop on Tuesday, December 6th at The Vine NYC in New York City. With publishers scrambling to get their strategies in order, this workshop was dedicated to what publishers should do after they’ve implemented programmatic. Industry experts from leading publishers including Bonnier Corporation, Hearst Corporation, Mashable, Rodale and Dow Jones were in attendance.
Our first panel discussion included Sara Weinstein, Meredith Corporation Director of Programmatic Sales and Michael Shaughnessy, Bauer Xcel Media Vice President of Revenue. Michael had a unique perspective on programmatic since Bauer Xcel Media does not have a direct sales team. They have a data-first approach where they use data to dictate their revenue strategy. Sara, on the other hand, has both a direct and programmatic team at Meredith, who tag team deals with the agencies. Michael trains his programmatic team to constantly ask the agencies questions including ‘Are they layering their own data targeting?’ and ‘How are they frequency capping?’
A theme that both panelists hammered home was that ongoing communication is key. For example, both Sara and Michael solved issues around optimization and troubleshooting through constant communication with their agencies. Another key nugget Michael shared is that while programmatic is a more efficient buy, it’s actually better targeting that’s more important. Being more efficient would likely warrant lower CPMs, but really, it’s the better targeting capabilities – the ability for a buyer to more efficiently hit their goal metrics – that should drive up CPMs. On how they view social, Sara said that Meredith’s O&O site is the revenue driver. The goal of social is to drive back to their main site. Michael said Bauer monetizes both the O&O site and their social, but isn’t necessarily sure which one is more important.
Other key topics discussed include the following:
- On metrics: While metrics including CPMs and fills are important, publishers need to realize the value of content metrics – which types of content on which devices drive the highest engagements with which ad formats?
- On legacy sellers: They are great at relationships. If you can incentivize them to embrace programmatic, they will always have a leg up.
- On video: It’s the most important format, but it’s really hard to keep users engaged on a web player on a website with a pre-roll. Social seems to be the easier place to do it.
Our next session, a Q&A discussion with Operative Advisor Emily Riley and Accordant Media Co-Founder and COO Matt Greitzer provided publishers into the mind of a how buyers view programmatic. Matt gave us a history of programmatic, saying that if you could explain RTB in 2010, you’d win the IO immediately. Fast forward to now, mid-market brands seem to be the most efficient and creative buyers. They are the most forward-thinking and the best at leveraging data. Bigger brands, on the other hand, have divisions dedicated to this, but for the most part are lagging behind. Funny enough, a lot of Accordant Media’s employees were born into programmatic, and don’t understand the traditional media buying process or the value chain of native, for example. At most agencies, the executive mandate is to transact “direct” deals programmatically. The value here is efficiency, and better data in some cases.
Other nuggets shared include the following:
- On header bidding: It’s an afterthought for buyers. They do not pay attention to publisher setups. Their priorities are buy-side, data connections and DSP/DMPs.
- On fake news: This doesn’t really impact Accordant Media. They’ve already done all the work to blacklist pornography sites, fake news sites, hate speech, and so on. They work with a few vendors to automate that process and they review it once a week.
- On video: Matt spends over 50% on video, mostly with major brands who are still confusingly buying on a guaranteed GRP on digital. Since there are not a lot of programmatic vendors can support that, they are doing it directly.
The day concluded with collaborative breakout session summaries to continue the conversation with panelists. Publishers left our workshop better understanding successful programmatic strategies and metrics they can use in their business.
Hope you enjoyed hearing these insights from our informative breakfast. Check out photos from our workshop.
If you are interested in attending any of our future programmatic events, click here to request an invite. And if you are interested in speaking at our programmatic breakfast, or any other ad ops events we host in the future, please let us know.