ISBA creates best practice guide on programmatic to ease marketer ‘confusion’

ISBA has partnered with real time advertising specialist Infectious Media to create a “balanced and objective” practical guide to address marketers’ confusion over the programmatic ad buying space.

ISBA Infectious Media Real Time Advertising Guide
ISBA and Infectious Media have partnered to launch a Real Time Advertising Guide.

Only half of senior digital marketers surveyed by the two organisations feel they have “fairly good” (42 per cent) or “very good” (12 per cent) knowledge of the real time advertising sector, with over a third (35 per cent) unaware of what proportion of their own online campaigns have been bought programmatically.

Despite the overwhelming confusion in the space, ads bought programmatically – via algorithms rather than a direct booking with a sales agent – already make up a 19 per cent share of the display market in the UK, according to 2013 data from ad tech firm Pubmatic, which forecasts this share could rise to as much as 40 per cent in the next four years.

Some major brands are already switching the majority of their digital media spend to programmatic.

This week Cadbury owner Mondelez said it intends to buy all online video inventory programmatically through a partnership with ad tech firm Tubemogul. Speaking at the Cannes Lions festival this week, Mondelez vice president of consumer engagement Bonin Bough said he wanted to see “100 per cent” of digital media bought programmatically by the brand.

Elsewhere, P&G has recently stated an ambition to buy 70 per cent of its digital display ads via programmatic methods by the end of 2014. Also speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival this week, Buzzfeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, said that it is the fact that P&G also concentrates 82 per cent of its budget on brand advertising that makes programmatic work so well for the FMCG company.

ISBA’s marketing services manager David Ellison says the Real Time Advertising guide was created in response to a number of questions from its members on programmatic, around issues such as data transparency, the growing number of specialists and increasing levels of distrust about how much of their expenditure to media agencies is actually spent on viewable ads.

ISBA and Infectious Media will be launching the guide – which covers how real time advertising works, brand case studies as well as more than 20 key questions marketers should ask of themselves and their providers (see below) – at a members-only event in collaboration with MediaTel at the Haymarket Hotel, London on Friday 20 June.

In September the trade body will also be rolling out programmatic training courses for members.

Ellison says the next steps on the route to best practice in real time advertising would be to “open up as much discussion as possible”, which could include organising an event with other trade bodies such as the IAB and IPA.

He adds: “When it comes to best practice I think that would be quite an achievement at this stage, I don’t think we are in the position at the moment as the market is still very nascent.”

ISBA has already worked with other trade bodies in this area to form the Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG), which also comprises the IAB, IPA and AOP. In December the DTSG drew up a six-point set of good practice guidelines designed and publishers’ concerns over the reputational damage online ad misplacement – often the result of programmatic media buys – can cause.

Key questions to ask programmatic specialists/agencies/your own in-house trading desks

Source: ISBA/Infectious Media Real Time Advertising Guide

  • Can your first-party data be used to benefit other advertisers and are there structures in place to ensure this doesn’t happen?

  • Do you have the right to audit data generated as a result of your media buys?

  • How does your partner ensure it adheres to brand safety guidelines and enforces them in all campaigns?

  • What visibility do you have regarding costs (such as how much you are charged for media, data, tech and human resource)?