Our fall Nexage Forum focused on building: building the capabilities that give premium publishers and advertisers the ability to win in an increasingly mobile world. And what a forum it was: standing room only (!!), a beautiful venue, panels that dug into the important issues of the day, and great conversations with our guests who are ultimately the key actors in the play to build the mobile future.
Evolve Panel: David Wiener (VP Product, BlueKai); Charlie Weiss (VP Ad Marketplaces, News Corp.); Bill Demas (President & CEO, Turn); Brian Silver (VP Ad Platforms for the Americas, Yahoo); Brian Gleason (Managing Director, North America, Xaxis). Moderated by Mark Connon (CRO, Nexage).
Evolve Panel: Kalyana Prattipati (Managing Director, Emerging Marketplaces, Accuen); James Lamberti (GM & VP, AdTruth); Michael Collins (CEO, Adelphic Mobile); Vikram Somaya (General Manager, WeatherFX); Parker Morse (VP Platform Revenue, Demand Media). Moderated by Victor Milligan (CMO, Nexage).
The two panels—composed of leaders from across the industry—generously shared their wisdom and experience; here are some of the highlights:
- The consumer is the center of the universe: Customer-first has been a longstanding and guiding principle. The challenge today is that consumers have dramatically changed their consumption habits to mobile—and agencies, advertisers and some premium publishers have struggled to catch up. Increasingly the game is to develop an audience-first approach, as the audience becomes more and more mobile-centric.
“Consumers are interacting with brands across the various screens of their lives as they go throughout their day,” said Bill Demas, president and CEO of Turn. “In order to succeed in this environment, marketers must think ‘audience first’ and plan campaigns that engage these consumers cross multiple advertising channels. We saw this transformation of advertising on the horizon, and today we are pleased to be powering audience-first solutions for Global 2000 brands and their agencies.”
- Mastering mobile: A key reason why agencies, advertisers, and publishers have struggled to catch up is that they did not have the mobile leadership or people in place to effectively respond to the massive consumer shift to mobile. The first wave of “mobilizing” was to try to fit the desktop ecosystem into mobile, which, for obvious reasons, failed. Mobile is different. Agencies and publishers are making the softer investments—leadership and people—recognizing these are critical ingredients to mastering mobile. Without it, organizations risk being left behind in an increasingly mobile world.
- The post-cookie normal: Mobile never had a persistent 3rd party cookie; and the online cookie is going away. The overhaul of the digital, cookie-less data model is underway—built on a consistent stream of mobile identifiers, the exchange’s ability to integrate and deliver 1st and 3rd party data, and buyers’ and agencies’ ability to develop proprietary linking and targeting solutions. The model is informed by privacy considerations: namely, effective privacy management and enforcement is inseparable from a healthy digital advertising market.
“With the reality that the 3rd party cookie is going away, there is high demand for a universal device identification solution that enables advanced targeting and retargeting,” said James Lamberti, GM & VP of AdTruth. “Equally as important to providing marketers the capability to reach and recognize audiences on any device is giving consumers a choice in the matter.”
- Programmatic past the tipping point: Programmatic is taking an ever-increasing role in mobile and digital advertising because it uniquely enables efficiency at scale and decisioning at the impression level. Programmatic also enables highly configurable private exchanges and programmatic guaranteed markets; both are becoming a more important part of premium publishers and buyer and agency strategies. It was inevitable that programmatic technologies would fuel a high-frequency trading market such as mobile and digital advertising. In fact, we are past the tipping point of adoption: programmatic will underpin virtually all transactions (including direct deals) in digital advertising.
- Rationale attribution: Attribution has been a gating factor for large-scale brand spend. But a workable attribution model, premised on view-through, is forming. The model goes well beyond “the click” and gives marketers visibility and analytics to plan, execute, and optimize campaigns in mobile and across channels.
“Advertisers need to understand performance beyond the click—and until attribution capabilities are fully in place, mobile will remain a testing ground for advertisers,” said Parker Morse, VP of Platform Revenue at Demand Media. “There will be great strides around mobile attribution in 2014; we’re even seeing some of that work coming to fruition today. But I expect 2015 will be the year where big budgets will shift to mobile as a result of these attribution capabilities.”
- Jumping into the imperfect pool: Both panels addressed a conflict in the market: if there is such an unambiguous strategic imperative to engage mobile, why have brand dollars lagged eyeballs? That is, in part, an organizational change question and, in part, due to the credible concern that the market wasn’t ready. But real progress has been made and is being made. Our speakers came to the same resounding conclusion: advertisers and agencies are increasingly “jumping into an imperfect pool” because the risk of getting left behind far outweighs the imperfections of mobile.
Our forum took a hard look at the issues shaping our market, and the priorities we have to build this market. Thank you to our panelists who shared their views and wisdom, and to our guests who helped make this event a success. It was simply a great night at a great venue with great people.