by Celtra // October 30, 2019 // Blog

Most have never encountered a boxing ring at a tech conference — that is, with the exception of The Drum’s Programmatic Punch attendees. This was the theme of The Drum’s Singapore event held on October 3. The energy was high as publishers, brands, agencies, and ad technology providers gathered to discuss key topics in the industry. Some were debated while others offered information and roused inspiration. 

Overall, Programmatic Punch delivered on their promised impact, providing plenty of actionable insights. Here are the highlights you should know. 

The difference 25 years can make 

Looking back 25 years (several lifetimes in tech), revealed invaluable wisdom. One major finding was that digital has become the most efficient channel, with a strong mobile-first focus in APAC. Another was the benefit of moving away from short-termism. To accomplish this, there should be less emphasis on per campaign strategies, which is crucial to the offline to online attribution model. After all, services are virtual, products are not. 

Likewise, it’s evident that CTR, and VCR alone cannot accurately measure success. Such measures are typically the result of click-bait articles and cheap “spray and pray” campaigns. So instead of focusing on these figures, brands are better off allocating resources to improving brand stories with measures such as awareness, favorability, and purchase intent.

Looking forward at the next 25 years, AI will undoubtedly have a huge impact. In fact, it’s predicted to spur the most change in the industry — accelerating efficiency, enhancing relevancy in digital ads, and empowering humans. The first step towards this future is embracing change. Especially as the industry’s speed continues revving up over the next decade. 

Gaming myth-busters  

There were some surprises when it came to the gaming industry in Asia. The first one is its immense popularity — there are more than 1 billion gamers in Asia. Three years ago, 27% of Asian residents were gamers. Today, that figure is 60%. 

It’s also worth mentioning the female presence. More than 80% of females who are active online participate in gaming. In accordance with this demographic, beauty brands are now finding a relevant space here.

Data, data, and more data  

What’s the point of collecting tons of data if there’s no clear direction for using it? Right now APAC is heavily driven by the quantity of data when the quality should be the focus. This imbalance is reflected in the heavy investments APAC companies contribute to DMPs, even while they’re struggling with the usage.

Publisher collaboration and innovation 

Publishers are having a difficult time scaling data. A universal ID that goes beyond the scope of a single platform and with global application would better support their efforts. Companies such as TTD, Mediamath, and Adobe have tested the universal ID system and the results have been encouraging. However, a real-world collaboration between publisher and technology partners has yet to happen. 

Scaling Creative for ‘Programmatic Everywhere’

Creative is still the most important factor in advertising. Yet, most APAC companies are failing to invest the necessary time and money into it. For instance, Singapore functions with a media-first mindset where most resources are allocated towards media rather than creative variation. Additionally, the importance of local markets is overlooked. 

One of the main functions of a Creative Management Platform (CMP) is to simplify the process of global-to-local distribution. Teams can design a master template which is then handed off to local teams who inject some local flavor. With this capability, relevant messaging to a mass audience is easily achievable. 

However, without this capability, creative agencies in APAC are compelled to force-fit creatives into media spaces. This results in missed opportunities for media-specific experiences. 

Ad fraud is still a problem 

When 30% of advertising budgets are wasted globally, it’s time to consider a big change. The culprit? Ad fraud. And once it occurs, the fraud perpetrators have an easy getaway. Believe it or not, there are currently no laws or consequences for fraudulent inventories. Nevertheless, clients are partly to blame as well. Too many of them refuse to pay a sufficient amount for protection.

How can this be resolved? For one, there needs to be more conversations around price and effectiveness when it comes to strategies that prevent ad fraud. It’s a complex issue — 20% of OTT is fraud but current tech is unable to pick up the signals.

Hot tip: Don’t buy OTT on open exchanges.

What will blockchain mean for advertisers? 

In an ideal world, the 3 pillars of advertising (publishers, advertisers, and consumers) would be measuring the same thing in the advertising ecosystem. The reality is, however, that all 3 parties have distinct methods for measuring success within their own platforms. 

Aqilliz, a digital startup in blockchain technology, is aiming to change that by bringing the pillars together. On their platform, the 3 groups view advertising success on the same platform. Aqilliz already conducted a pilot project in APAC by partnering with Mindshare, Pepsi, and DoubleVerify to test viewability, a key metric. The results indicated a significant potential for success. 

Gowthaman Ragothaman, the CEO of Aqilliz, remarked that APAC will be pioneering blockchain tech in Digital Advertising. With access to global learning, companies are willing to test and invest in APAC. 

In-house Programmatic — the good, the bad, and the ugly 

Many brands that have tested in-house teams encounter challenges when it comes to resources, churn rates, and scalability. A multidimensional solution is the best prospect for more successfully implementing in-house teams. Meaning, brands can handle the strategy while operations are responsible for sitting with the agencies. Another potential fix would be in-housing a dedicated agency. 

Perhaps the easiest, and ultimately least expensive, solution is adopting a creative software designed for in-house production, i.e. a CMP. Multi-user access allows all approved users to tweak a creative and leave comments directly on the latest creative version. So rather than handling sophisticated assets through back and forth emailing, teams can access the platform independently. Taking out the middleman during the ad update process saves a tremendous amount of time. No need for re-approvals, re-QAing, or re-trafficking. 

Preparing for brand safety 

Instead of taking precautions, global brands generally function reactively when it comes to brand safety solutions. Only when an issue arises do they consider their options. This causes a wealth of issues, especially for local brands. Oftentimes, these incidents provoke a blame game as everyone avoids taking responsibility — which, of course, is highly unproductive. 

Are we seeing advanced TV in the future? 

In truth, the digital advertising industry is not very well educated on OTT, and OTT inventory remains low in APAC. Still, MediaCorp is already testing their OTT platforms even as while faced with the hurdle of making an app that’s compatible with all TVs. Even still, Samsung TV also continues testing Programmatic. OTT is not only open for standard preroll, but also for programmatic and dynamic ads. And certainly, TV is very helpful with incremental reach for content providers.

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