First Meetup

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Close to 100 people at the First Meetup. Venue – Google Campus Gurugram, India

How it started?

Programmatic 1×1 started as a web series of interviews (1×1) with Industry leaders in Digital Media who are at the forefront of the evolving online advertising industry. The idea was to share their knowledge with a wider set of audience to accelerate the adoption of Programmatic Advertising in India.

When I met Prabhvir from DoubleClick for his Programmatic 1×1, I bounced off the idea of organizing a small meetup where we could bring in select set of people from the community in one room and talk about where we stand in terms of Programmatic adoption. He was more than happy to host it. That’s how we started moving from idea to execution.

The Meetup was on March 23rd, 2017 at the Google campus in Gurugram, India. We saw close to 100 people from the Advertiser, Publisher, Agency and Platform communities attend the meetup.

The point behind putting this down is to try and sum up the energy and key takeaways from the day for those who attended and those who could not.

For the Publishers

We had a great turn out from the Publisher community. Some of those who attended – Times Internet, Olx India, Flipkart Ads,, Network 18, Sony Liv, Wittyfeed.
It is now clear that there is an encouraging number of advertisers who are buying 100% of their Display ads via Programmatic platforms. So if there are Sales people from Publishers thinking on why they are missing out on some campaign RO’s, you got the answer now 🙂

“Advertisers are ready to pay a premium for audience data”

Talking about Data led advertising, the advertisers are ready to pay a premium for audience data. But a Publisher will only have limited information about the user’s interest levels or browsing patterns. The Publishers will know about their most engaged users, not who is best suited for the Advertiser.

“Limited monetization scope for Publisher Data”

So there will be limited monetization scope for Publisher Data. What may be premium for one, may not be premium for another. That being said, Audience is definitely more important than placement as Advertisers start to bring in their own first party data.
It is recommended that Publishers try to understand the business goals of the Advertisers rather than just campaign goals.

“Publishers try to understand the business goals of the Advertisers rather than just campaign goals”

Lastly, let all your demand compete on one level playing field. Plug into Header Bidding!

To the Source of the Dollars (Advertisers)

To find out whether the tech/media works or not it is critical to have some advertisers part of the discussion. Pepsi, Ford, Max Life Insurance, Max Healthcare, Wishfin, Apollo Munich were among some advertisers who were present.
Repeating it because it’s important – “Programmatic is not the means to buy cheap inventory” nor should “Programmatic buying be compared with Affiliate channels.”
Yes, Programmatic advertising is an investment of efforts and patience. Just like all advertisers are patient enough when it comes to their Search and Social campaigns, that same way Programmatic partners should also be given a fair amount of learning time.

“Be patient with your Programmatic platform partners as you are with your Search and Social ad partners”

Some of the Agency partners themselves recommend that the Advertisers co-learn these new ways of advertising and be equally invested with them. The time is not far where all the Agencies will move to a transparent consulting model, some already have.

“Co-learn the new platforms with your Agency partner”

Today there are terms where the Clients get confused when it comes to measurement. For instance – post view, post click, view through conversions, etc. How do you define Attribution 100% accurately? The answer is you don’t 🙂 Let’s take a step back here, how many Advertisers have an attribution mechanism defined for their Print, Outdoor, TV and Radio campaigns? How accurate you think that mechanism is? I assume most will say No. Going by that, then why chase 100% attribution for Digital campaigns. There could be a way to look at overall business goals being met rather than being overly critical about a small INR 10 CPC RO in digital.

“Aim for but don’t chase 100% accurate attribution for your Digital campaigns”

There are some global, some domestic clients who have taken Programmatic platforms in-house. But very few have cracked it. Not because the skill set in Programmatic media is limited, but because media is not the core expertise of the Advertisers. They are best at what they do – whether that means making shampoos, or phones, or liquor. Agencies are best suited to handle media. With time, buying media is getting more and more complex. The advent of these new age platforms have helped filter the TG the advertisers are looking for. Also the Agency should be rewarded well to invest their time and effort to meet the business goals of the clients. As someone rightly said – you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

To my Agency friends (Mad Men)

About 2 years back I had written an article about the much needed “Programmatic Makeover for the Agency.” I understand that most of the leading agencies have a come a long way. Educating the clients and learning new platforms has become a part of the job for the agencies. Some clients event look forward to the insights from their Online Video campaigns which they use for planning their TV campaigns.

“Agencies are evolving to become Consultants”

Agencies are moving to a partner consultant model where they will have deep understanding of the Business goals of the Clients, and the focus has started to move away from making that hidden arbitrage out of the campaigns.

Needless to there are still those moments where the Agency planners get worked up looking at the numbers towards the end of the month. That’s when the low cost optimization takes priority over the long term brand building and business strategy. But we have come a long way. There are Advertisers, Agencies and Publishers who now engage only via Programmatic Direct deals.
In attendance from the Agency world were – GroupM, Xaxis, Dentsu, Amnet, Omnicom Media Group, Neo Ogilvy, Motivator, iProspect.

What I learnt from the Math Men (Platforms)

The platform community was there in full support right from DoubleClick – Buy side and Sell side both, recently launched in India Mediamath (along with their partners Zirca), Lotame which is the popular DMP widely adopted in India, Yoptima – the audience targeting platform, – first to launch S2S header bidding in India, Zedo Zinc, Pubmatic among others.

  1. Third party data marketplace – yet to take birth in India. Second party data by DoubleClick is popular. Advertisers who understand Programmatic have come on board with the First party data.
  2. Advertisers are willing to invest in technology. They are buying a DMP to understand their audience data. Publishers are using DMP’s not only to serve relevant ads, but also to show relevant content. There are examples of Advertisers who are 100% programmatic for their display ads and they see more engaged users on their sites. This eventually helps in meeting business goals.
  3. Both buyers and sellers are cautious about their audience data. Advertisers are being guided to buy into factual data as there are many vendors claiming to sell the same data. Publishers encouraging advertisers who are bringing in their CRM data to target specific users on first-view.
  4. Data will soon become commodity. Everyone will have all the data, what will matter is how much sense can one make out of that data. It will be the combination of the media trader and data scientist which will play a significant role in the media buying.
  5. Transparency and stakeholder management is very critical. The involvement of CXO’s at business level helps reduce some needless queries that the agencies have to cater to.

It feels great to see that the basic resistance has diminished over the years. The channel conflict of sales credit between Direct Sales and Programmatic is no longer there. Now they do work hand-in-hand, plus there are various other emerging revenue avenues like Native Advertising, Content ads, etc which the Direct Sales is building on to increase the overall pie.

For those who attended the meetup and to the readers, I hope this addressed some of your queries. We did survey with those who attended and based on the encouraging results we will plan out the next meetup soon.

For those who did not attend hope to see you next time ! Would love to get some feedback/inputs.

Detailed agenda with topics that were discussed   

Some pics from the meetup


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