The evolution of the programmatic experience in the post-pandemic digital world

The evolution of the programmatic experience in the post-pandemic digital world

The prediction is that advertising in Asia Pacific will shift from traditional advertising to digital advertising and programmatic advertising will, within the next three to five years, become the main source of media buys.

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Despite programmatic advertising platforms being newer to the Asia Pacific, the region today is considered to be the second largest programmatic market –  and already taking up a sizeable 30% of global ad spending.

Programmatic advertising platforms have for some time allowed marketers and advertisers to automate the purchasing and management of their digital ad campaigns – including media buying, ad placement, performance tracking, and campaign optimisation.

While in the past, programmatic was used to sell remnant ad space, this is no longer the case and the pandemic has drastically impacted the world of advertising, accelerating and bringing programmatic into the mainstream and offering more efficient ways of ad campaign management .

To learn more, iTNews Asia speaks to Ori Gold, CEO of Bench Media, which provides programmatic media solutions for brands and agencies across APAC, to better understand the changing programmatic advertising landscape and find out how advertisers can manage the rising uptake in adblockers and anti-tracker solutions.

iTNews Asia: How will the programmatic advertising landscape in Asia change post-pandemic when it is considered something fairly new?

Digital transformation has undoubtedly led to an acceleration in programmatic advertising. One major change we’ll see moving forward is that organisations will begin activating programmatic advertising to become part of their growth and marketing strategy.

To do so, they’ll need better tools and better connectivity. The increased flow of data in real time to stakeholders means that platforms will need to adapt in order to facilitate seamless campaign management.

Consumer behaviour is another aspect that has changed massively as well. With the pandemic, people are increasingly consuming products and services digitally. This is particularly so in Asia, with the region being more mobile first and with peer-to-peer (P2P) payments that is also much more advanced as compared to the West.

E-commerce will become the main source of consumerism for Asia and thus create programmatic natural places online. I believe the pandemic will only accelerate programmatic advertising’s growth in Asia even though the industry already has a strong footing in the region.

In the next five years, post pandemic, programmatic advertising will only grow from strength to strength. I believe that in the next two years, the vast majority of advertising in Asia Pacific will shift from traditional advertising to digital advertising and that programmatic advertising will, in the next three to five years, grow rapidly to become the main source of buying media. As such, organisations should begin to look at and understand their marketing and advertising strategies, such that they’ll continue to innovate and remain relevant for their consumers. 

iTNews Asia: In the post COVID-19 era, what do you see are the main challenges for advertisers in reaching their target audiences? How can organisations overcome or work around these challenges?

The main challenge for advertisers in reaching their target audiences is their inability to access the channels which will enable them to reach their audiences in an agnostic way. The marketing team needs to communicate with the digital or IT team to create a full comprehensive digital portfolio of the various channels that they use to execute their digital strategy. Thus, the various channels used by the marketing team are placed in one basket, like their digital strategy for Google and Facebook.

What happens then is that, because Google and Facebook are closed gardens and with pandemic-driven digital transformation, prices have been rising rapidly due to the high demand and ease of use. Additionally, there are also numerous privacy changes happening currently such as Apple’s new Privacy Act changes and the anti-trust act against Google and Facebook.

Due to these privacy changes, the platforms’ foothold on the market is under pressure, not just in the Asia Pacific region but also in North America and Europe, which limits their audience targeting capabilities.

For advertisers using Google and Facebook, what we’re seeing now is that they’re losing return of investment (ROI) on advertising due to the rising prices and this is a trend that will carry on into the future even as the targeting capabilities of these platforms continue to decline. However, advertisers will continue using these platforms – creating a crowded competition space and driving up prices in turn.

In this scenario, my advice to marketers and advertisers would be to diversify their channels and platforms, gain transparency into where their advertising dollars are going and make sure that it’s not a black hole whereby they have no clarity and control of what and where they buy. Additionally, marketers and advertisers should work on their own capabilities such that they’re able to access new platforms, channels and data sources in order to truly optimise their strategy and growth.

My advice to marketers and advertisers would be to diversify their channels and platforms, gain transparency into where their advertising dollars are going and make sure that it’s not a black hole whereby they have no clarity and control of what and where they buy.

- Ori Gold, CEO of Bench Media

iTNews Asia: Given the rise in adblockers, would these be the biggest challenges for companies? Why do you think adblockers are on the rise, and how will it impact the online experience? 

Adblockers are great because a consumer who does not want to see ads should have every right to refuse to see them. The consumer’s online experience must improve and improving the quality of the consumer’s online experience is our responsibility in our capacities as marketers and advertisers. While engaging consumers is important, this engagement needs to be done only when the consumer is receptive to it.

What marketers and advertisers should do when consumers are utilising adblockers is to understand the motivations behind the consumer’s action, improve on their engagement, and get their engagement right. They need to understand how they should engage with these consumers, the message they wish to convey and the consumers’ experience of the ad.

To do so, marketers and advertisers need to use the right platform to collect data and additionally, obtain feedback from users through proper analytics and data in order to craft the best engagement strategy for consumers. This means that not only do consumers benefit in having the company’s message reach them at the right time and place, the company benefits as well with increased revenue and growth. 

iTNews Asia: With rising concerns on the collection and use of personal data, how can advertisers ensure that the collection of data of consumers is done ethically and without infringing on users’ privacy rights? 

Marketers and advertisers forget that consumers need to willingly accept and enjoy the ad experience. In today’s landscape, it is crucial that consumers connect well with the brand. Marketers and advertisers should tap on tools that enable them to access user data with the users’ consent and with users’ privacy in mind.

Marketers should also follow the GDPR guidelines that have been put in place by the European Union and the Australian and American guidelines that are in place as well, as they provide good guidance on what is ethically acceptable and unacceptable.

There are tons of unified ID solutions by numerous large platforms – with some partnership combinations such as iAB, The Trade Desk, etc. or the big platforms solutions such as Google FLoC solution. There will always be a need for data collection, but this should be done only with the express consent of consumers. Consumers should have the power to decide and control what data they share. In doing so, consumers will willingly share data that can help to improve their lives and increase convenience.

With data collection, the focus should be on consumers’ consent and their choice on the type of data shared. Organisations should also question their understanding of the platforms they use and their communication with consumers as they will each have different privacy thresholds of what is acceptable for them.

There’ll always be the question of ethicality when collecting data, thus marketers and advertisers should respect consumers and shift their focus away from simply pushing their products and services out to them. Marketers and advertisers need to research tools that they should be using which will enable them to cater to the different needs of consumers.

Currently, there are various practices in the market, such as the collection of data by organisations and then selling that data, which consumers are not aware of. In the case of big platforms like Google and Facebook, this is done with consumers’ knowledge and with fairly high standards. It is the other providers and platforms that companies should be aware of.

Aside from the sale of data, we have networks in smaller companies that don’t necessarily store their data properly by ensuring that the data is secure and that employees cannot access or steal this data.

However, consumers now are increasingly aware of their rights and are not afraid to voice out on what’s ethically acceptable which places pressure on these large platforms. Most importantly, when advertisers work with agencies on a platform, they need to ensure that these agencies do not cross sell the data to other advertisers, and that all data collected belongs to either the advertiser or organisation working with the agency.

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© iTnews Asia

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