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Rich media programmatic not yet solving equation for buyers

Rich media programmatic is, at first glance, an oxymoron. Yet there exists a number of innovative solutions aimed at making rich media programmatic a winning proposition for both buyers and sellers of ad inventory. Marketing speaks to Wilfried Carrié, programmatic regional manager – Affiperf at Havas Media Group, to find out what it will take for rich media programmatic to gain serious traction in Singapore.

[Carrié will be speaking at Marketing magazine’s Performance Marketing conference, taking place on 8 September in Singapore.]

Marketing: Just how underserved is the demand for rich media programmatic?

Carrié:  Programmatic rich media solutions already exist but are not yet solving the equation for buyers. Demand is growing as branding dollars are coming to programmatic but the (local) offer remains limited and should be the next focus in order to grow the market.

Currently, it requires a lot of research and coordination for a trading desk to find the best solution to execute a rich media campaign.  This limits our capacity to quickly react and set up a campaign as we normally do for other kinds of formats. Nevertheless, it remain highly important for us to keep rich media executions within programmatic to maintain coherence within the plan and make sure that every line item is connected and aligned across the same KPIs.

SSP companies have been offering programmatic private market places for premium publishers and formats for a couple of years. A time will come when these formats will be easier to access in Singapore. To be attractive for advertisers and agencies, programmatic rich media must respect 3 key pillars: the same technical specifications from one publisher to another, across scalable inventory, with high viewability standards.

MarketingWhat will it take for Singapore advertisers to embrace rich media programmatic?

Carrié: The usage of rich media campaigns in programmatic is an opportunity for the entire market. However, the missing piece stands mostly on the sell side; our clients are already demanding for more premium content and rich media enabled ad formats. Historically, publishers have first aligned premium inventory on programmatic, then came video, mobile, social. Now they need to align on rich media with the help of SSP or networks to unify their offer to make it easier for buyers.

In a dense environment media buyers must reduce the complexity of campaign setup and targeting to be able to spend more time on optimization, campaigns analysis and providing insights to our clients.

Yet, regionally speaking, we still identify a lack of unification of rich media and branding formats on the sell side compared to other regions (such as the EU, US and Australia). There is a real need for alignment.  We would also like to see more premium publishers in the game offer a rich context environment and diversify the branding offer.

This is the role of SSPs like Rubicon Project, which have paved the way in Europe by creating publisher co-op’s like La Place Media, Audience Square or Pangaea to offer premium environments and solutions that help publishers fight the growing pressure from walled garden solutions like Google, Facebook and others.

However, as most rich media creative is made with Adobe’s Flash solution, we consider that the first challenge is very short term with the “flashpocalypse” announced for September 2015. As of this date, main browser solutions (Chrome, Firefox, Opera etc.) will change the way rich media Flash banners are played in the browser by adding a “play button” instead of allowing the banner to autoplay. These companies are now urging the ad industry to move away from Adobe’s Flash to embrace HTML5 instead, which is more adapted to mobile. This change of policy could create interference in the growth of rich media programmatic if buyers and sellers are not ready to embrace this new technology.

Given the fact that Singapore is fast growing market, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the industry here adapting the offer more efficiently than more mature markets, by allowing buyers to activate a range of rich media formats that are device neutral, optimizing on interactivity rather than standard metrics such as clicks, reach or views.

MarketingWhich major publishers and SSPs in Singapore are investing in rich media formats for programmatic?

Carrié: Major players such as Yahoo and Microsoft have enough inventory to deliver rich media programmatic campaigns at scale. The same goes for Innity, which is now allowing programmatic rich media execution with large and interactive formats, driving more interactions from Web users and better results for our clients. Rubicon Project has been at the edge of private marketplace (pmp) solutions for years and is now actively working on spreading this solution with local and regional premium publishers. Finally, we can highlight other players like Zedo, who are offering smart technology to transform standard banners and placements into rich media executions with, for example, the flip banner format which rotates a 300*250 on itself to create an expandable banner.

Display advertising isn’t the only channel in need of rich media execution.  We are working with partners such as Dailymotion to create interactive video pre-roll, allowing us to create rich media experiences across all digital media.

MarketingWhat effect does rich media programmatic have on CPC?

Carrié: As the cost for rich media campaigns is higher than standard desktop banners, CPC is not the impacted metric; instead, CTR will be affected, driving more clicks than standard banners. Nevertheless, even though CTR is higher with rich media executions, an expert eye should look at further campaign details, such as the engagement rate with the creative, site metrics (visits, time spent on site etc.) and viewability metrics.

We are using rich media formats for one of our travel clients as we manage a campaign entirely through programmatic activation. The goal of this campaign is to create brand awareness in a new market. As the final KPI is sales, we have to first initiate a branding phase using a high impact format.  This strategy supports our retargeting and prospecting effort across other channels to reach the final objective.

Marketing:  Will rich media programmatic compromise the ability of both publishers and media buyers to create truly customized ad formats that work best on specific platforms/websites?

Carrié: The main problem with standardization is the impact on customization and tailored advertising. However, this will be only a matter of size, as the only creative constraints will be the limits of exchanges’ technical specifications. Tailoring each format for each publisher’s specifications is anyway unrealistic for agencies or advertisers’ creative budgets. At the same time, standardization makes collaboration easier.  A well thought through range of standard rich media formats from the IAB has proven successful in the UK and US.  These are regularly updated following fully collaborative sessions with agencies, adverting technology vendors, and publishers.

Carrié is speaking at Marketing magazine’s Performance Marketing conference next Tuesday.

To register, please click here or contact Bernadine Reyla at bernadiner@marketing-interactive.comor call +65 6423 0329, +65 9830 4454

(Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)

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