Live Blog: Publisher Forum Scottsdale

Live Blog: Follow the Festivities from Scottsdale

We’re officially live from sunny Scottsdale, where the air is dry, the palmtrees are towering and, most importantly, where it’s 2,000 miles from the impending Arctic front heading for the Northeast. But, don’t fret if you couldn’t join us in sunsoaked Arizona, we’ll be coming at you live over the next few days with much of the discussion, debate and thoughts from our 31st Publisher Forum

Monday, 11 November 2013: 

First up, Technorati’s Executive Chairman Richard Jalichandra offers a holistic look at the development of digital advertising during today’s morning keynote, Opportunities in an Inefficient Marketplace

9:16 – After a year-long sabbatical, Jalichandra dives back into ad tech on the AdMonsters PubForum stage. 

9:20 – Jalichandra asks the PubForum audience the industry’s typical fears concerning programmatic: The usual fear when you talk about programmatic: Is someone going to lose their jobs? Just how efficient is it really?

9:21 – What excites the industry about programmatic? “It gives the industry a strategic edge,” says one participant. Technology helps to enable the relationship between buyers and sellers. Automation and the lack of paperwork are also big pluses. Also, access to more (and non-endemic) demand. 

9:24 – Industry analogues from the financial market: The financial market has been automated for more than 25 years now, i.e., electronic trading. 

  • More hedge funds and trading firms than ever before, yet less financial advisors than 25 years go (still 300,00 financial advisors exist today).
  • But there are 20x the amount of financial traders today.  

9:26 – Programmatic advertising is NOT (just) real-time buying, says Technorati’s Richard Jalichandra. Why is the confusion there? Because RTB was the first generation wave of automation, and today RTB and programmatic often get conflated. 

9:28 – Differentiating the different flavors of programmatic: Auction versus Fixed Rate = Real-time buying (RTB) versus Programmatic Direct (PD)

  • Unreserved versus fixed pricing
9:33 – Where’s all the money going? Direct sales, argues Jalichandra. Why? Programmatic is still pretty nascent, and the opportunity is still overwhelmingly anecdotal. But, the trajectory seems optimistic (remember: RTB’s advent was only in 2009). Programmatic direct will start slower than RTB and catch speed.
9:36 – Programmatic direct really hasn’t happened yet, Jalichandra says. What will programmatic direct look like? The first generation will just be the automation that occurs between buyers and sellers. Second generation will combine RTB and programmatic direct, becoming a sort-of hybrid.

9:40 – What’s your ratio? Today, most publishers are probably at 80:20 (only 20 percent being RTB). Depends heavily on size and vertical or niche cateogry, as well. The average publisher will go to about 40 percent RTB in five years, Jalichandra says.

9:42 – Where does an RTB dollar go? Imagine a vertical spectrum of your inventory, says Jalichandra. RTB developed from the bottom, from daisy-chaining, etc., all to gain that extra penny. There’s a big lack of transparency at the bottom, allowing a lot of players to take a lot out of that penny. 

  • Only 60% of every dollar of RTB is efficient. 

9:45 – We have a long way to go before we get to 100 percent efficiency, if we ever get there, Jalichandra says. To increase efficiency on your team, get your programmatic priorities straight: 

  • Start with guaranteed reserved,
  • Look at your unreserved fixed rates
  • Then, investigate private and open exchanges.
9:48 – You definitely need to integrate programmatic direct into your sales strategy (as an extension of your direct sales efforts). 
  • Programmatic is just automated the back-end of the buy, meaning compensation is going to mimic that of direct sales. Real-time buying is a bit different.
9:50 – Behavior modification from programmatic direct is going to come from the supply-side. The sales team will have to adapt to selling PD. 

9:52 – Are people really going to lose their jobs? Think back to the automation of financial services. Automation facilitates the flow, but doesn’t necessarily get rid of the human aspect of the operation, Jalichandra summarizes. People won’t lose their jobs, their jobs will change. 

9:54 – The growing threat of fraud: It all started with RTB — botnets, toolbar traffic and cookie bombing, etc. How big is botnet fraud? Pretty big (Costing more than $400 million per year by some measures). Check out U.S. Editor Gavin Dunaway’s recent feature on the growing infiltration of botnets

Next up, our newest lot of DMLA winners share the tales behind their rise within the operational ranks, their thoughts on current operational challenges and where they see the biggest opportunities (and hurdles) on the horizon during our first-ever Winners’ Circle panel discussion.
10:24 – The whole idea of putting technology into your ad system was kind of foreign, says JPMorgan Chase’s Michael Stoeckel on when he first dove into the industry.  

10:26 –
Machinima’s Jeff Mayo highlights his trajectory from aerospace to ad operations.

10:31 –  What are some of the lessons learned along the way in your career? The toughest balance is when you’re pushing the vendor or the tech that may be deemed premature. All of the conversations with the tech and engineers looks great — but the implementation is a hardship, says Michael Stoeckel.

In the old days, ad ops was all about delegation. The ability to get into huge challenges and solve problems is critical for moving up the ladder, says Machinima’s Jeff Mayo.  “Putting Jeff into the biggest problem, and he’ll try to solve it. Coming up with the solution is still a cornerstone to what we’re doing…” Let’s all be the problem-solver.  

Stoeckel: “You really need a couple of fearless deputies. Know those people who are willing to dive in.” (but don’t necessarily be completely committed – continue to dabble, continue to learn). You don’t want to be the smartest person on your team. You want to have people who are smarter than you, who can add strengths to your team’s/company’s weaknesses, says Heather Keltz.

10:40 – How do you develop your teams today (with programmatic, data, analytics, etc.)? It’s all about trying to make the most money out of your inventory,” says Jeff Mayo. The ability to prove out the same KPI across all groups is the crucial part.  

“We’ve had a lot of success with specialists,” Keltz says. It helps people really grow into a mold in ad ops, moving from a more general capacity to a more specific one.

10:44 – I always found myself gravitating towards the business leaders that knew how important what we do is to the company’s bottom line, Stoeckel says. Don’t get stuck with the numbers people.

10:48 – You’ve got to scrub through all the noise to figure out which areas are important to your company/publication, Mayo says. But, you need to put yourself in the position to hear the noise, Keltz argues. (It’s important to keep abreast of the industry.)

10:52 – What’s the importance of mentorship, asks AdMonsters CEO Bowen Dwelle.
10:53 – I never eally had this formal way of thinking about it, says Jeff Mayo.  Build those relationships in yout company; put those people in your network. These are the people that I call when I have an issue.

10:55 – What are some trends you’re paying more attention to than others? Programmatic is such an crucial efficiency, says Michael Stoeckel. The agencies may be afraid of it; but, it’s the future. Programmatic is on its way to a world where the cross-platform tool is the key to the solution.

Spending a lot of time planning for the future of programmatic, says Keltz. Giving them better metrics, variables to advertisers.

In the video space, I’m not really spending as much time as many of you are [on programmatic], says Jeff Mayo.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013: 

IPSOS OTX’s Chief Disruptor Shelley Zalis takes the stage for day two of Publisher Forum Scottsdale in our Tuesday morning keynote Publishers Take the Wheel.  “Publishers, you own the road map,” Zalis begins. “If you don’t just sit and watch — if you take the wheel because content is what’s going to drive us.”

9:02 – “If we do not keep up with our consumers, we will fall into a Darwinism.”

9:05 – IWWIWWIWI – I want what I want when I want it. Consumers want what they want when they want it, but it’s harder than it sounds.

9:10 – There are seismic shifts happening in the way people connect today. – The world’s not changing, it’s already changed. (“And, what are the implications of this?” Zalis asks)

9:14 – The four screens: the everyman (TVs), the sage (computers), the lover (cell phones), and the wizard (tablets). But, we’re no longer monogamous with our screens — we’re multitasking and multiscreening. 
  • The implications are enormous — rising importance of simultaneous screen consumption. How are people today multiscreening? 
    • Content-grazing: Using one screen and another without connection (using Internet while watching TV
    • Investigative Spider-Webbing: Using one screen to investigate what you’ve found on another
    • Social Spider-Webbing: Interacting/reacting with content of one screen on another screen.
    • Quantum: Path-to-action/path-to-purchase, one screen affecting decisions on another. Cross-screen actions.
9:22 – What are the importance of infomercials? Allows brands to tell a story. But, they’re during inopportune times — until Microsoft launched Windows 98 with a primetime infomercial.
  • Tide’s ‘stain remover’: innovative content advertising from the nascent era of the Web.
9:30 – How are brands connecting today? They make a checklist — put my message on Facebook, YouTube, etc., etc. But, we’ve but merely disseminating the same content across platforms. Is it the right strategy?

9:32 – Don’t just be functional in migrating content; how can you help brand engage? How are consumers consuming content along their journey? What’s the content that they’re sharing?

9:34 – “You’re sitting on the smartest data in the world — Own it, together!”

9:37 – “What Google is to search, native advertising is to discovery.”