Mobile programmatic II.

In my previous programmatic thought-flow I examined the ‘phenomenon’ optimistically, from a distance, and considered especially the advantages of it. So now come the backlashes – without an exhaustive compilation – of programmatic, because there are still plenty of shortcomings, which are having cast a shadow on this promising field.

1. Bad quality (mobile) ads are everywhere

I could express myself less delicately, but the truth is basically this. Earlier the automated world meant cheapness in advertising, and by now the name Google merged with the affordable and efficient web ads. Its sad consequence was that in many, even in the best placed ad zones are flooded with weight loss pills, window repairing and parking app promoting ads. It’s even worse on mobile, because the ads popping up (ever since Google has banned them) are very annoying, and do not involve the user, especially if a big blue arrow is putted on it, or it consists of only text.

Google and many other automated systems are offering very cheap ads; thus every SME is selling its little product on the big internet. What used to be the privilege of financially strong companies and good brands – namely to advertise on the best platforms – is now a public domain. But this eventuates mobile ads losing their effectiveness. If every time pops up a – in the worst case uninterpretable quality – banner after a time it becomes predictable, thus avoidable, especially if it’s also intrusive. Partly this is the main motive of the ad blocking movement.


2. Agency adserver

If the agency adserver doesn’t measure something, it doesn’t exist, the client and the agency only accept those stats as valid. In programmatic we also receive tracking codes, which fortunately measure well, but RTB systems are not constructed for it. There are more complicated goals going on here than complete the purchased AVs, thus it would worth to emphasise those measuring points.

3. Flexibility, or more specifically the lack of it

What is bound in a good sense, sometimes could turn into annoying situations. The whole system develops rapidly, and there are many new kids on the block, who are short in knowledge to help in tough situations. Time is money, and goes by quickly until a question is answered or a problem is solved. Sometimes it would be nice to have on hand the magic phone call to launch the campaign, exceptionally, the way it is.

4. Not adserver

The most DSPs and SSPs are not built on adservers, but stackable with one. This means they aren’t so prepared, for example in the terms of targeting. We had an issue recently when we wanted to run a video ad, but only served for those who come from wifi. The DSP isn’t able to do that, so I hope we will be able to do it on the SSP side (which is hopefully connected to an adserver). Obviously this problem could be overcome, but hopefully one day there’s going to be a unified system from which every part of the inventory is available and has all the targeting and setting options.

5. “Devil in the codes”

There are too many codes, because we want to measure too many things and stack through the systems. At least there is a DSP system, which invites the creative with a code. If we couldn’t dissuade the agency from the usage of their own code, it should be putted in as well. If there is no viewability tracker in the DSP it means one plus code. So the SSP tracker in the adserver has to invite that bunch of codes. Sometimes it feels like the devil invaded the codes. We spent long hours to find out what is the problem, why the ad is not running or why are a code not measuring.

6. SSP code

The core problem is that an SSP code should be putted into the site. It’s feasible directly, that’s also the less complicated method, but if we have more source codes and we don’t want more ads to get under each other, then it’s good to stack through an adserver. Another important question that whether the adserver has the communication with the different channels according to the RTB API, namely does it know from where and when comes the ad. If it doesn’t know that, a blank ad space will appear instead. A passback creative might be set as temporary solution if no ad comes. Disadvantage that the ad zone is overused, because the replacement picture comes in many times.

7. Lack of (professional) knowledge

Due to the intensive development, programmatic companies hire a lot of new people, and the PPC world also complicates the situation. There is no school where it is taught, and also deeper digital knowledge is useful. The road is tough, because the media owners need more and more digital experts and data scientists to understand the advantages of RTB system, and be ready for the time, when every media buying will take place this way. On the DSP side agencies or experts should show (elaborate) the clients this new direction, what should they be prepared for, why does it good for them. So far there is no capacity for it, or if there is, it bleeds to death on the client side, because they couldn’t fit the systems characteristics into their own corporate processes.

8. Advertisers

Nobody was fired because of the TV. Unfortunately, it’s still true. The attitude is changing, but there is a great need to more advertisers dig deeper into digital solutions. If that happens, it quickly becomes apparent that what can help them with this new platform. In addition, neither side is prepared from the analytic viewpoint, they aren’t able to handle all the data storm.

Slowly research and analytic teams are needed the size of the planning and communicating teams.

9. Rigid sizes

In theory serving different sized banners on the same ad placement is possible but we have never seen a code in real life being able to handle this situation, or if it could then the white/grey stripe caused by the size differences remains there.

10. Private deal

I am sure it will be a popular expression in the next couple of years, thus it’s crucial to understand it more deeply and to crawl the possibilities. Even the biggest publishers commit the mistake that the details are not specified, for example the size, where and what device to run the campaign, the frequency, etc. They specify only the price. Obviously that is the most important thing but there are a lot other to consider before make deals. There is a huge potential in it so it would be a great step if the different SSPs showcase their private deals on a joint platform for the DSPs. It occurs regularly that an inventory is available both in open RTB and private deal as well but with huge price gap, so the private deal doesn’t worth it. But it’s also only the matter of attention.

11. Data

I’ve already mentioned it in my previous post. I’m suspicious how efficiently is it going in London, New York or Tokyo, because in the shop window everything is fine but if we go into the details (regarding CEE consumers data), instead of facts only humming comes from the international data providers, DMPs.

12. Human resources

The algorithms do the lion’s share of the job but people are working here too, who sometimes don’t have enough time, overwhelmed, and not 100% sure what’s going on (see section 3). We often face troubles, which could have been avoided with a little care. The simplest example is when the publisher to the question where do they offer private deal marks all the countries, because it is the easiest and fastest way. We frequently find Hungarian mobile inventory in foreign publishers’ offer, but when we ask about it, either there is no answer or in fact there is no such.

If I would strain myself I could find plenty of immature parts, so far unresolved features but the direction programmatic represents is unquestionably forward looking in the world of digital advertising. Rather would one upset about problems that might be annoying in the particular situation, but in long-term leads to a much better status quo. 

I promise in the next part I will talk about mobile more specifically.

October 13, 2016
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