Ad tech is crucial for publishers and marketers. The term refers broadly to different types of analytics and digital tools used in the context of advertising. Bottom line: Ad tech helps maximise the effectiveness of digital advertising, by streamlining and optimising the process, and there are noticeable shifts in this space.
Programmatic is a buzzword at present, a trend which David Steinacker, head of publishing for Sub-Saharan Africa at Google, broadly themes as “acceleration”.
“South Africa went through an incredible evolution last year, when it comes to programmatic, seeing amazing growth in terms of collaboration between the buy-side and the sell-side and the understanding of publishers of data and the point of and value adds of programmatic,” he comments.
Even though it is progressing rapidly in South Africa, Steinacker (left) believes that “there still needs to be more understanding, openness, transparency and honesty on both sides (buy-side and sell-side), when it comes to targeting.”
Steinacker pointed to three challenges in the South African digital advertising realm, which are nothing new, but continue to hinder progress. These are the mobile dominant nature of the market, unclear buy-side/sell-side collaboration, and brand safety.
But despite these challenges, there are bright opportunities as well. Mobile, even though Steinacker labelled it a challenge, is a major opportunity that can’t be ignored.
Video is another bright trend, as they have some of the highest engagement metrics and the highest CPM rates across all formats. There are also exciting new innovations, particularly rewarded video ads and native outstream video ads.
A sales/technical audit
Steinacker advises publishers explore Accelerated Mobile Pages – an open source initiative for enabling fast content on the web, and progressive web apps – which raises the bar in terms of new mobile web experiences.
Mastery of technology drives competitiveness, and in a very technical presentation, Michael Allen (left), 365 Digital’s technical director, advised publishers on steps they should take to analyse the effectiveness of their ad tech.
He outlined four imperatives for competitiveness; deliver great advertising on every screen, connect with advertisers in every way, get the highest value for every impression, and provide a pleasant user experience.
He gave a four-step process for publishers to follow:
- Conduct a technical and sales audit – Evaluate your current capability, discover sales inefficiencies and technical issues, and map out future requirements.
- Hold a strategic workshop – Get input and buy-in from all departments. Have a discussion around the ad sales strategy and whether the solution is scalable.
- Formulate an inventory blueprint – the process of mapping out the elements of your ad sales strategy into a living document. Define your ad inventory elements, and your custom and user targeting.
- Implement the network – translate the blueprint into reality. Adserver, clean-up and archiving, and retagging will happen at this stage.
In order to maintain a healthy tech infrastructure, Allen said it was vital to test and experiment, support new ad formats, promote user-first principles, and embrace programmatic.
A holistic approach to monetisation
Julian Jordaan, 365 Digital’s commercial director, rounded off the presentations, speaking about a holistic approach to monetisation.
“Little wins in the ad tech structure can result in revenue growth and even though we’re quite an aspirational market, we look to Europe and the US, not everything they are doing is something we have to employ. We have to take it on a case by case basis,” he cautions.
Jordaan (left) revealed that back in the day, inventory used to be sold on verticals and inferred audiences, which is still done today, but display ad rates were very high. Now they are a race to the bottom, he comments.
“Media buying has now pivoted to audience buying. Advertisers can get inventory anywhere, but now it’s really about the quality of the audience and the value that the inventory can provide to them,” he adds.
Publishers have two very valuable things, content (which keeps people coming back and engaged) and data (of engaged users which is insights into their lives). The two things they can do to compete, according to Jordaan is firstly, offer inventory to buyers, the way they want to buy it, and secondly, speak their language and provide buyers with the option to add audience segments.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
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