Programmatic Summit

Key Themes from the 2019 Summit

Louise Crompton attended the 2019 Programmatic Summit and has gathered her highlights and takeaways.

In its 5th year the annual Programmatic Summit in Sydney did not disappoint. It’s an important opportunity for the marketing industry to come together, learn from each other and bring attention to the key challenges and opportunities we all face, marketing in a digital age.

There was such a broad spectrum of topics covered across the two tracks, it’s hard to summarise, but here are the key headlines I took away.

The term programmatic should be denigrated to the swear jar!

The automation of media buying is a tectonic shift, which touches every nook and cranny of our industry, whether you work publisher side, in media agencies, the creative space, technology or run a marketing team. The consensus is this term no longer works. It does not reflect the complexity and strategic nature of the data used to drive automated trading decisions, nor the traditional top of funnel media channels that are transitioning to automated trading.

Within the next 10 years everything will be traded programmatically and it was great to have native, podcasting and some of the broadcasters represented at the conference. On one panel the need to break down channel trading silos and integrate trading teams was discussed, along with the idea that TV traders are having to understand digital but are digital traders versed in TV? As a result, there needs to be a more ubiquitous approach to targeting through the funnel.


Frequency came up throughout the day. Marty Carroll, Global VP Digital Marketing, who kicked off the summit with his keynote on Electrolux’s programmatic transformation, raised stack simplification as being key to helping manage frequency. Ryan Christensen, SVP, AppNexus, talked about the customer experience benefits of frequency capping, in addition to commercial efficiency gains. Erica Schmidt, Global CEO Cadreon, who shared one of my favourite case studies of the day (more on that later), talked about greatly reducing duplication and cross over when Cadreon managed the entire digital buy for Chrysler. And in the TV space Hayley Cameron, Digital Commercial Manager, SBS, mentioned that collecting login data had helped SBS manage creative frequency across platforms.

Thinking outside the rectangle on the page

Along with frequency, there was a call for more engaging and contextually relevant creative to build a better advertising experience. Nowhere is this more relevant than BVOD. With minutes watched + 64% yoy according to recent Future of TV stats shared on the “Changing the Channel” panel, serial binge watching has become the new norm. Brands that cleverly build their storytelling and message delivery around this will gain.

But its not just limited to TV, in the podcasting session (side note: 4 million uniques per month and growing) Henrik Isaksson from Acast talked about dynamically stitching creative into content. And Jennifer Stokes from Nova said that ads that perform best develop their messaging around the topic, tone and talent in this environment.

Native is also being traded programmatically and Triplelift’s Kevin Delie mentioned their focus is working with publishers to create a more integrated premium content experience, where programmatically traded new world creative, like memes and cinemegraphs, can be responsively tailored to the look and feel of the page.

Robert Leach from creative technology Kargo wrapped up track 2 for the day with some interesting biometric creative research and reminded us all that creative is the most significant lever to drive results.

Data partnerships

There were so many great examples of how data was being used in clever ways across the industry. Marty Carroll talked about how important retailer 2nd party data was for closing the loop for Electrolux.

Erica Schmidt shared how Cadreon had worked with a publisher for over a year on an MVP to demonstrate the benefit of using its data outside of its ecosystem. Then used the results to get more publishers on board.

Timothy Whitfield CTO BurstSMS who moderated track 2 and the discussion on Amazon, talked about the Amazon Ad Platform April launch bringing a whole new deterministic data set to our market.

But one of the greatest take-outs was learning more about the DigiTrust initiative. Championed by the IAB DigiTrust is a not for profit consortium from across the industry who are working on a “neutral identifier that is designed to improve consumer experience and protect privacy, in lieu of hundreds of proprietary tracking mechanisms. In short a unified non PII ID that syncs up across the web and device that could help publishers more easily club together to compete with the walled gardens. Something to watch as the working groups progress the thinking in this space.

To in-house or not, we are still having this conversation…

I was a bit surprised how hot this topic continues to be and how much it’s still debated. Contrary to popular belief, it was stated that less than 5% of brands are in-housing. The headwinds remain unchanged. Scarcity and expense of people, keeping talent up to speed with changes in marketplace and technology and personal growth and development when outside of an agency environment, are the key challenges. A hybrid where brands own the keys but use a 3rd party (agency) to operate the tools, was presented as a great middle ground.

At the same time more brands were in attendance at the conference than ever before and Niko Conner from Mighty Hive talked about a growing intellectual curiosity of marketers when it comes to programmatic. Aside from upsides like owning their data, greater transparency and more control of the process, he mentioned the more marketers understand this space the better advertisers they become.

Wherever brands sit on this spectrum and with whichever partners they work, all agree it’s a complex journey with lots of learning opportunities. I loved Marty Carroll’s approach to leading a team through such a steep learning curve with his philosophy that “empowerment trumps scaremongering” and leads to a much better outcome for the people and the business.

Has the industry grown up?

Erica Schmidt mentioned trust along with data and privacy as the 3 key challenges the industry faces today. Andrew Hughes of Louder reminded there are still dodgy operators out there, and marketers need to have their wits about them, understand their potential exposure and plan for this.

However on the Changing Industry Standards panel, initiatives like ads.txt and ads.cert were discussed. These protocols are transforming transparency in the market place by certifying sources of supply and the nature of the inventory (i.e geography, device, ad format). James Diamond, Managing Director ANZ, IAS reminded the audience that its much easier to avoid fraud today by following industry standards, only buying ads.txt inventory and using third party verification. And fraud as a result is declining to the extent that some DSPs even guarantee to refund fraudulent impressions.

It’s a Wrap

In closing, let me tell you why the Chrysler case study was my favourite of the day. The combination of buying auto websites, using behavioral targeting on the big publishers and re-targeting was yielding very few net new users for Chrysler. In fact as Erica put it, the process was broken! But by concentrating trading to one platform, reducing duplication, suppressing existing eyeballs and using 3rd party data to prime the brand for those near to the market (i.e likely to start car shopping in the future, based on other category sales) they radically changed the media strategy and increased visitors by 70% with a 30% increase in revenue off a flat media investment. A great example, in my opinion, that combined many of the key themes of the day to generate a material difference for the brand.

If you want to know more about programmatic trends, hear case studies from the marketers agencies and technologists that are pushing the boundaries in Australia and overseas, come along to the 2020 Ashton Media Programmatic Summit on March 3rd in Melbourne and March 5th in Sydney. You can buy tickets here.


Louise Crompton
CMO, Streamotion – Entertainment

Louise Crompton

Louise Crompton is a data driven marketing leader. She has 20 years experience building iconic brands predominantly in digital and ecommerce environments.

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