Cannes Notebook: Talking programmatic by the beach

Exchange Lab's Nikki Hawke 's roundup of conversations she's hearing in Cannes

This year at Cannes, ad tech made a big showing, with major players like Rubicon and Rocket Fuel hosting presentations and afterparties to impress the ad industry’s global elite (and attract some more of those sought-after brand dollars).

The Exchange Lab was one of those looking to establish a presence, hosting a panel called “The Future of Programmatic Marketing.” Global brands, media agencies and technology companies were represented. Sitting on the panel were Carat global chief digital officer Anthony Rhind; MediaMath co-founder and CRO Erich Wasserman; AppNexus vice-president of sales, EMEA, Nigel Gilbert; Deutsche Telecom director of international media Gerhard Louw; and The Exchange Lab’s own CEO, James Aitken. The panel was moderated by Charlie Crowe, chairman of C-Squared and founder of the Festival of Media.

You can watch the full talk in the video above. Although AD-Vantage wasn’t able to attend the event, our correspondents from The Exchange Lab offered some highlights and takeaways for the audience:

It’s (too) complex
Anyone who has seen the Lumascape and the IAB’s overview of the digital landscape knows digital advertising is a confusing ecosystem with a steep learning curve. The challenge and opportunity today is to educate marketers and close the information gap. At the end of the day, brand advertisers need to understand how programmatic media can help them reach their brand KPI’s.

Mobile is still an untapped marketplace
The consumer is mobile. It’s never been more apparent than it is today. Yet only 30% of the programmatic dollars spent in digital media is currently going to mobile. Anthony Rind from Carat feels like the opportunity in programmatic is to help publishers sell the other 70% of their unsold inventory and ensure brands are reaching their consumers where they are spending the most time – on their mobile devices.

Cross-device tracking is on the move
No one has solved the cross device-tracking problem yet, but programmatic players such as MediaMath and others are making massive investments in technology to find a solution and fast.

Geotargeting works
Geolocation is one tactic that currently works extremely well for advertisers and ensures brands can reach consumers with relevant messages at the right time and location.

Transparency amidst massive growth
Programmatic media buying has seen massive growth and is predicted to be 25% of the total global ad spend by 2016. Louw from Deutsche Telekom sees the potential for the majority of media dollars to go programmatic especially as traditional media like TV and Outdoor come into the fold. He believes what clients and marketers will continue to want and eventually demand is transparency on how those dollars are being used and how the different players fit together.

Programmatic as a brand solution
Clients are just starting to test programmatic against brand KPI’s and finding success. Programmatic media is no longer solely focused on performance-based campaigns, but brands can also utilize programmatic against all their brand objectives.

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