Media Working: OPS NY 2013 Live Blog

Live Blog: Battelle on big data, native

We kick off today’s OPS by celebrating five years of Rob Beeler as AdMonsters’ content czar and chief emcee. Here’s to five more, buddy!

But onto the meat – Derek Metz of Acceleration details early results from our Publisher Maturity Index survey – it’s not too late to add your insight into the process. But here are the interesting figures from what we have so far:

The Good:

  • 74% of publishers are in the programmatic pool.
  • 49% are employing audience extension
  • 52% dig some third-party data
  • 64% use audience-based targeting

The Bad:

  • 56% rated their ad tech ROI 4+ out of a possible 5.
  • #1 maddening issue? Forecasting. (Could you see that coming?)
  • 63% are selling audience with no DMP. Is that like driving without a license?

The Ugly:

  • 42% have no dedicated quality assurance process for creative.
  • 64% don’t have a vendor certification process. (Interesting: Almost 3/4 (74%) who ranked their ad tech ROI at 3 or lower do not have a vendor certification process; conversely, almost half (46%) that have a vendor certification process ranked their ad tech ROI at 4 or higher. Strong suggestion that Publishers that have/use a formal process to evaluate and vet their tech vendors are generating greater ROI from their digital technologies)
  • 81% ain’t monitoring third-party data collection
  • 51% are using order management systems (which suggests 49% are using… Excel. Joy.).

Go ahead and throw in your own data and keep watch over the results at AdMonsters.

John Battelle, Federated Media – “At the Intersection of Content and Marketing

9:32 a.m. Battelle likes to discuss consumers and how they look at data – or don’t. He’s been working on a book for five years –current title “If/Then,” a boolean operator. Goal: describe the next-gen world if we’re aware of the ways in which our core data are being circulated. Are we, the people, involved in the conversation?

9:37 On board of Axciom, which he found strange, as his approach to data is far more open than their lockbox approach. A couple weeks ago, Axciom launched Most people find their data inaccurate, but it offers consumers agency, control and ownership over their date. It’s a stake in the ground – this kind of consumer engagement is the next step.

9:43 But consumers taking agency – are people going to do it? It takes time… But think of data as clothes – at some point, society decided to stop being naked and start wearing clothes. Then they started caring about the clothing they wore – wearing clothing is a social behavior. Clothing describes and declare who you are in the world. Battelle believes we are going to dress ourselves similarly in data to declare ourselves in society/world lit by data. Massive opportunity to facilitate the economy of data as self-expression.

9:48 “We don’t even know if cookies will be around next year… Well, they will be, but we’ll call them something else.”

9:50 In the public sphere, we dress ourselves in brands – what car do you drive, what phone do you use… Declaration of who I am – the messaging from the stores coming by recognize me as a Gap/Audi man. Brands have opportunity to become more than their products. Brands need to become enabling software for consumers helping them express themselves.

9:54 Just came back to federated, realize we need to move faster than we are. Original idea – Federate to empower. We want to leverage our power to help small publishers have the same data power as their marketers. Big imbalance between buy and sell side in terms of data power – buy side has lots, only the biggest of the big on the sell do. For most small pubs, hiring a data scientist isn’t in the budget.

9:58 Editorial is still stuck with antiquated CMS. Hear the most – I wish your CMS worked like my ad tech…

10:00 Media as conversation has finally hit scale – Facebook became checkbox way for most brands. A way, but not the only one – native is brands discovering more targeted methods.

10:05 A direct sales force is highly important, but currently the more important currency is data – leveraging, rather than how do I sell my stuff. Federated has a very large exchange business, growing fast (so quickly he doesn’t want to share the numbers). 

10:08 Internet will swallow mobile without even belching. Internet don’t care! We’ve been in a box about what we thought the Internet was. With mobile, we forgot the importance of linking – that built the original value exchange of the Internet

Alex Linde, VP Digital Monetization, The Weather Company & Kalyan Lanka, Director of Product Management, Lotame – Mobile, Data and Mobile Data

11:21 a.m. – 80 percent of people that research on the smartphone will convert in store, says Kalyan Lanka on a case study about Best Buy, as we start our conversation on Mobile Data here at OPS NY. 

11:22 – The data itself has to be authentic to the company that’s collecting and using it, says The Weather Company’s Alex Linde. Location is at the zenith of big data on mobile. 

11:23 – “I think ‘one-hit-wonders’ are going to be a big problem on mobile,” says Lanka. How do you monetize those ‘one-hit-wonders,’ or one-off unique visitors who don’t return? 

11:24 – Location can be a touchy subject. What’s the importance of the role of context? Linde says very. Location-based advertising seems authentic; consumers expect it to be there. But, also, it performs better — it caters to an important demographic of the targeted consumer. 

11:26 – Things take time; there’s no way around it. And, now most of the industry is using IDFAs and other IDs — trying to come to a consistent mobile ID, which will help compile a huge swath of data from consumers, says Lanka. Until someone finds out how to pixel mobile apps, we won’t see the same collection of data. 

11:28 – Should publishers work together to share their first-party mobile data? “Absolutely,” says Lanka. “There’s no other way around it.” You’ure starting to see these IDs that are consistent for a given publisher; but, what would be ideal is if publishers created a consortium — sharing behavioral data, user information, etc. “If you share ata, you’re helping the industry grow with you.” 

11:30 – For a brand to be able to use their CRM data; to be able to offer targeting off of a brand’s CRM data is an ideal opportunity for a publisher, says Linde. 

11:32 – Is there difficulty in making other people’s data work for you? “We’ve found it fairly straightforward,” opines Linde. Once the data goes through the API, it’s easy to serve the campaigns. The challenge is getting the data in the first place, Linde argues. 

11:33 – Mobile is actually easier than the display place, argues Lanka. Less calls on the client-side; it’s all a simple push of client-side data. 

11:35 – Moving data across screens – Weather’s just in the early stages of doing so. “We’ve done an awful lot of investigation into it,” Linde says. Lack of mobile registration for Weather Company may be a hindrance; but, cross-platform probablistic is a key element to future cross-platform endeavors. 

11:38 – Focusing on having that capability to use location as a first offense with DMP targeting is a primary focus for Linde and the Weather Company going into 2014. For Lotame, concentration is activiting cross-platform channels for an increasing number of clients. Cross-platform being beyond desktop and mobile — taking on the multi-screen world. 

Dave Skaff – Closing the Circuit: Linking Digital and Physical

1:47 p.m. – What is the science project?: Brigning commerce to a variety transitions; including custom digital content, seamless transactions, as well as experiential projects for e-commerce

1:48 – In theory nothing has really changed in marketing: right place, right time, right audience = transaction. But, today, customers now more than ever are mecurial, changing their spending and browsing habits day-to-day. Four different states of consumers and e-commerce:

  • At Home: relaxed, inspired, browsing long-form, content, tablet. While people expected the iPad to be a big consumption device, the idea of it being a great shopping platform was underappreciated at first. 
  • At Work: sophisticated, task-oriented, multi-tasking. Oriented towards task completion versus browsing. 
  • On the Go: empowered, informed, social. Engaging and consistent. 
  • In-Store: indulgent and seeking. The biggest opportunity for a brand to build a personal rapport, which can affect and augment relationships with brands and consumers on digital platforms. 

1:51 – There’s a lot of data from several platforms, but the data together is somewhat disparate. What we really need is small data, says Skaff. Small, and actionable data. Small data creates repeatable, copycat initiatives to help facilitate consumer-brand rapport. 

1:54 – Bridging the Gap with Data Consolidation: It’s time to consolidate data from CRMs, point-of-sales, e-commerce, orders, etc. Unsiloing data gives you a better perspective on your consumer base. How do we do this? We use APIs to create custom service layers to target consumers over a more vast continuum. Doing so gives brands the ability to see corelations between email and social interactions and in-store purchases, etc. 

1:59 – Like launching satellites, you have to push new technologies consciously and gradually, says Skaff. A more successful implementation

2:03 – E-Commerce, Location and OOH: Lady Gaga Twitter instillation gave worldwide Twitter acounts a spotlight at a window at Barney’s New York; but, geolocating allowed tweets from a geofence around Barney’s Uptown Manhattan location to have priority over others. Creative usage of geofencing and location targeting.

2:06 – In-store digital accounting for almost, or more than, in some cases, 10% of brand scales. Who knew e-commerce could take off in a brick and mortar?

Programmatic: Counterbalancing Human and Tech

3:19 – Part of what we can bring to the table above and beyond the technology itself is the ability to help navigate the space, says Index’s Alex Gardner. But, in no way are the machine’s taking over; in fact, the human relationship may be more important tahn ever in the ad-tech environment, argues Gardner. 

3:22 – Xaxis: Productizing the portfolios of publishers, summarizes Xaxis’ Sara Mead. Why are brands going into programmatic? Audience is a big push; some advertisers bring their own CRM databases to Xaxis, which implements them across their premium channels. 

3:24 -The marketplace is pretty opaque for sellers; Index seeks to add transparency for sellers, giving them a smart approach to jumping in the marketplace, says Alex Gardner. 

3:26 – We rely very heavily on our publisher partners and SSPs to let us know what’s going on their platforms, many DSPs don’t offer enough data to make buying more actionable, more reliable. Transparency is a two-way road; but publishers and buyers have to work in tandem to create a more efficient marketplace, says Centro’s Jeff Huter.

3:31 – Xaxis is looking throughout the funnel to see how consumers engage with brand at different aspects of the funnel and which stage of the funnel is optimal for a particular consumer.

3:38 – Being able to control the levels of transparency across the marketplace empowers the consumer, says Index’s Gardner. There are different ways to extract transparency to increase value. 

The Ultimate Investor Throwdown

5:17 – The investing in ad technology seems to just be confusing things; new platforms, new funding. But, is confusion innovation? AdMonsters content czar Rob Beeler starts the conversation off with a bang.

5:19 – “We’re here to make your bosses more money; but, there are some eggs to be broken in the process,” says Genacast Venture’s Gil Beyda. But, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. “We’re looking twice; and, we’re actually looking at companies that are not only point solutions” but, can also innovate and create. 

5:21 – In the last two years, we’ve seen very few ad-tech startups; the number of ad-tech companies being started has fallen precipitously. Many of the big VCs don’t dive into ad-tech, says Neu Venture Capital’s Jerry Neumann. 

5:23 – We’re still for a few more years of non-consolidation; vertical structuring, however, may be in ad-tech’s horizon, says Genavest’s Gil Beyda.

5:25 – The consolidation of ad-tech can be good for both VCs and buyers (although consolidation’s benefit to buyers is still to be seen), Mesa Global’s Bob Ennis points out. That said, there are some horror stories in the industry to go unseen. 

5:27 – You have to figure out really early in your lifecycle whether or not you’re a feature or a business, says Ennis. You have to institutionalize a sales function to migrate from mere feature to true business — but, developing that sales function takes a lot of cash. 

5:28 – I can do what one company does 10 percent better; but, I’m not going to invest in a company to do somethng 10 percent better, says Neumann.  Investment takes innovation and creation – something new. 

5:32 – By the time I see 10 companies in a space, it’s too late for me to invest says Gencast’s Gil Beyda. VCs have to dive in and take risks when it comes to the ad-tech field