Auto-Update: Trading desk transparency debate gets heated at Cannes

The week in ad tech at a glance

The Rubicon Project’s “Automate the Rest of It” panel at Cannes

Agency trading desks duke it out at Cannes

Things got a little heated on Rubicon’s agency and trading desk panel when VivaKi (Publicis) executive Stephan Beringer fired a shot across the bow of Xaxis (WPP) CEO Brian Lesser. “Everything I’m getting from our clients is they’re running away from Xaxis because of this transparency issue,” Beringer said. Lesser defended Xaxis’ policy of not disclosing its price model, arguing that it allows the agency to make investments that push innovation forward (and he got in a few digs at Beringer, too). On an unrelated note, Lesser walked back an earlier claim from GroupM chief digital investment officer Ari Bluman that the media agency’s clients would be out of open exchanges by the end of the year, instead saying Xaxis planned to have 90-95% trading done through publisher direct methods by an undisclosed date. Oh, and Accuen and IPG Mediabrands were there too.
Read a summary of the debate or the full transcript at Ad Exchanger

Big steps forward for viewability as currency

Two big announcement for viewability in the past week, and two approaches to making viewable impressions a the standard for programmatic buying. For one, analytics firm RealVu launched an ad exchange where only viewable impressions can be traded. And for two, Rocket Fuel announced that it will be offering audience guarantees based on comScore and Nielsen measurement, meaning buyers will only pay for impressions that are certified in-view and in-target by an independent provider.

There are two different solutions to the same challenge. Buyers want to only pay for impressions that matter, as they do in TV. On the other hand, the audience guarantee method has the benefit of relying on measurement from a third-party provider. Although RealVu’s viewable exchange will certainly be better than an open exchange, viewability scores are only as reliable as the companies measuring them. (Investors seemed to like Rocket Fuel’s approach, too.)
Read more aboutRealVu and Rocket Fuel at Media Post

DAA (still) wants W3C to give up on Do Not Track

Do Not Track has taken a number of big hits lately, with Yahoo opting out this spring and Facebook saying its new audience targeting won’t respect DNT. Now, the Digital Advertising Alliance, an industry-led self-regulatory commission, has asked the body currently responsible for drawing up a DNT standard to call it quits, in a response submitted to the Worldwide Web Consortium. The DAA and W3C parted ways last fall, at which point most of us concluded browser-based DNT was doomed.
Read a good summary of where DNT’s at on Consumer Affairs blog

AOL, UM plan to automate real-time marketing

Perhaps the most intriguing news last week was that AOL and UM plan to launch a platform to automate real-time marketing – in this case, meaning social posts and display ads tied to real-world events, as they happen. The example given in Advertising Age was an auto maker running ads about hybrids when gas prices spike.

Targeting users based on real-time events makes a lot of sense for performance marketers and it’s a good way to put some scale behind the real-time marketing ethos. But without the creative flare that made Oreo’s agency famous, does this really fit the real-time marketing bill? Importantly, the automation will have to be tied to events that algorithms can track – UM says it plans to use sports scores, market indices, local gas prices and personal events like work anniversaries. So that means for now, we won’t be able to automate responses to unpredictable events like blackouts and trending YouTube videos. (We’ll still need humans for that.)
Read the full story at Advertising Age, and check out AOL’s new TEG video series

Big Deals

Acquisitions and partnerships shaping the ecosystem

Oracle buys hospitality software/hardware developer Micros Systems for $5.3 billion
Oracle acquires LiveLook to improve cloud user interface
Twitter buys Snappy TV to make it easier for broadcasters to share video
SpotXchange partners with DoubleVerify for fraud protection
Google buys video advertising startup mDialog

Around the web

The best features and opinion this week

Why I worry for agencies (Ad Exchanger)
Ad Exchanger research director Joanna O’Connell enters the conversation about the broken agency business model, pointing to the trend of agency innovators leaving for tech companies
Speed of creativity making marketers lose sleep (Media Post)
A new survey by Adobe finds that a third of creatives are losing sleep over job security, deadlines, and automation
Yahoo wants you to linger (on the ads too) (New York Times)
Everything you ever wanted to know about Yahoo’s digital ad strategy, and where Mayer is taking it

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The programmatic mindset is not about numbers

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