Programmatic 2.0 Spring Workshop – Event Recap

Blog   |   Charlotte Kenyon   |   April 3, 2017

On Thursday, March 23, we hosted a programmatic breakfast workshop geared towards publishers looking to take advantage of the move toward a Deal ID–based economy. Moderated by our very own VP of Monetization, Adam Hecht, our two panelists Masha Kutilova, Yield & Inventory Manager at BabyCenter, and Semande Agosa, Programmatic Director at Bonnier, shared tips on how publishers could move their programmatic sold impressions up the yield curve towards more profitable channels. Industry publishing leaders that attended our workshop, which was held at OFFSITE NYC, included Altice, Hearst, SheKnows, New York Daily News, Reuters, and Viacom.

Our workshop kicked off with SintecMedia Advisor Emily Riley presenting the survey results from our Programmatic Is Here to Stay: Learn How to Profit from It whitepaper.

Not to sound clichéd but it’s true: When it comes to programmatic, publishers are from Mars and advertisers are from Venus. Advertisers love programmatic. In fact, advertisers are projected to sell anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of their inventory through programmatic in 2017. By 2018, programmatic will account for 6 percent of TV ads. While advertisers love to spend money programmatically, publishers are very wary. Publishers even admit that they don’t know how to structure programmatic partnerships.

Another factor getting in the way of publishers when it comes to programmatic: Low CPMs. This happens because publishers struggle with lack of visibility in programmatic inventory. In fact, the majority of publishers surveyed in the whitepaper were making 10 percent or less of their overall revenue from programmatic. They couldn’t even give an accurate number of how many programmatic partners they work with.

Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel for ending programmatic struggles for publishers. Emily provided some tips that publishers can adopt to successfully profit from programmatic:

  • Be fast, easy to work with, and make your audience know they matter.
  • Find the partner that best aligns with your brand’s needs, not based upon the first relationship or the most popular option. This will allow you to focus on increasing yield.
  • Reduce reliance on Facebook and Google.
  • “Jocks & nerds unite!” Know your brand and products and empower ad ops to educate your sellers to work together as a cohesive team.

Up next was our lively panel discussion featuring Masha Kutilova, Yield & Inventory Manager at BabyCenter and Semande Agosa, Programmatic Director at Bonnier Corporation. Masha shared that inventory standardization across their nine sites has been a major initiative for BabyCenter in ramping up. Audience is one of BabyCenter’s biggest assets. Their advertisers know and trust who their ads will reach. Semande shared that when Bonnier goes through site redesigns, they have programmatic opportunities in mind. There’s strong taxonomy across all sites while maintaining a great look and visual feel. Bonnier leads with content, and advertising follows. Instead of using verticals, Bonnier is successful at making the advertiser understand that they want scale and that the inventory that is presented is the true best fit; they should use one source of data as truth.

In managing programmatic deals, both Masha and Semande had epiphanies where they admitted, “The struggle is real,” when it come to scalability and managing huge numbers of deal IDs. Masha pointed to communication gaps between the buy and sell side causing delays, confusion and even finger pointing. Additionally, it’s hard to get seller buy-in because sellers are having a tough time being incentivized for programmatic deals. Semande noted that this year has been the most influx time for Q1 deals he’s ever seen. When it comes to delivery issues, it’s hard to place blame — “If we tell the advertiser they are not bidding, they don’t believe us.” He agreed with Masha that communication is key because programmatic is more complicated than direct deals and needs work on both sides of buy and sell.

Other tidbits our panelists shared included the following:

  • On communication: Make the advertiser understand that publishers want scale and that the inventory that is presented is the true best fit. Use one source of data as truth.
  • On education: There needs to be more of a priority on ops support, team structure and training.
  • On Google: By default, you cannot avoid Google. If you are big enough and can use a variety of demand partners, you can challenge Google to work harder for you.
  • On advice to buyers: Keep asking questions like: Can you see the creatives? What are the KPIs? What are the viewability filters? And get on the phone — it’ll save the back-and-forth emails. Ask the sell side for reporting.

I hope you enjoyed hearing these insights from our informative breakfast. Please check out these 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.