This was my second year attending AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O in New York City. The conference is very unique and specialized in its topics that keeps bringing me back. I have been following the AdExchanger publications for over 5 years now and I feel this conference is a nice extension to the different topics, as well as the podcast, that AdExchanger offers. I highly recommend it for anyone in the Programmatic Advertising or Publishing world.
I did not really know what to expect for this time around. I was a little busier than the usual so I had little time to prepare and do my homework leading up to the conference. The good news is that it is a small and intimate one so it is manageable for anyone including people attending with zero plans, ME. I was surely impressed with the topics: depth and breadth of the discussions. Over the course of two days, there were a lot of good discussions and sessions. I wanted to recap and highlight few that stood out to me:
One of the first sessions I sat in was the one about CDPs: Customer Data Platforms. It was co-presented by Wunderman and Air Canada. I usually like this combo of agency and client because you get to hear the true story from the client but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. It was clear that Air Canada had some good success with the CDP (they didn’t name it) but it sounded like the CDP was able to solve all the problems they had in real time. There was no mention of any limitations or issues which leaves me skeptical. Technology is not perfect and I know for a fact CDPs are imperfect. I wish they spent more time talking about the limitations they ran into or the governance and operation process they had to put in place to get the most value out of the CDP.
Probably one of the top reasons I attend Programmatic I/O is to see Chris Kane’s presentation. Last year I attended his programmatic 101 workshop, which he had again this year which I highly recommend it to anyone new and seasoned in the programmatic buy or advertising space. Chris and Jounce Media usually prepare something special for the conference and this year it was no different. In the morning, they released a very cool article, more of a study, showing how publishers use multiple supply paths to sell their inventory. This was followed by a presentation by Chris highlighting the findings and the reports they are releasing via Google’s BigQuery. I highly recommend you watching the recap from the session here and read the full article on Programmatic Atlas here.
I was hoping for a sneak preview of Aladdin but instead Disney was center stage presenting their latest offering in the Adtech world: Luminate. It is Disney’s Advanced Advertising Suite.
Think of ESPN, ABC and Freeform and think about the inventory and data these properties have. Luminate brings a new suite of products around programmatic advertising in Television space. From optimization, analyzing and attribution, this platform is meant to give its clients a new way to approach TV Advertising. This is very exciting to see given that many non-traditional advertising giants such as AT&T and Verizon are trying to dominate this space as well.
No conference is complete these days without some mention of blockchain, and AI ofcourse. It has always been interesting for me to see how blockchain technology intersects with advertising. I get the transparency and fraud detection but the speed of exchange is the challenge. I was glad to see Gartner’s VP, Andrew Frank, diving deep into the challenges but also highlighting some of the power of blockchain. It will not solve all your problems but it will solve some of them. Whether it is security, transparency or quality assurance, there are DMPs and Exchanges that are using blockchain to cope with those values. Andrew had a great message to the audience asking them to start talking to their vendors about this technology and not wait any longer. Blockchain will help us reduce our dependency on walled gardens and non-consensual processing.
Advertiser Perceptions had a great session on what problems a DSP solve and who are doing it best. A DSP, demand side platform, is essential to any advertiser who wants to participate in programmatic advertising. It is the platform that allows you to find, bid and buy your next impression. The problem is that there are so many DSPs today and it has become very hard to pick the right one. Kevin Mannion, CSO at Advertiser Perceptions, shared some great insights on who are the leaders in the space. The study concentrated on 22 DSPs and then narrowed the comparison on the top 5. They looked the trustworthiness of the brand, vision, data and tech expertise, insights to inform successful strategy and tactics and highest level of consultative and support skills. It was interesting to see Google dominating that space while Amazon trailing not far behind.
In summary, Programmatic I/O did not disappoint and I will be coming back for more. Maybe this year I will make it to the one in San Francisco. I hope to see you there.