The Value That Real Time Brings to Marketers

TURN AGENCY DINNER: Attendees from GroupM, MediaContacts, Amnet, Annalect and Accuen

At the recent Turn agency dinner at the famous Koffmann’s restaurant in London, we had an opportunity to discuss key opportunities (and challenges) facing our sector today with some of the industry’s top senior trading desk executives. We’ve compiled their answers into a video montage which we think you’ll find insightful!

Following are some of the insights which came out of the conversation:

We are still in the ‘50’s of TV advertising when it comes to real time bidding (RTB)

It’s one of the hottest buzz words at the moment and has certainly revolutionised the way we buy media, but the point was raised that it’s not the bidding itself that’s important but rather what it delivers. The biggest shift in RTB buying has been the move from buying advertising placements to buying consumer segments, making it possible to place true value on each and every buying decision.  And this true value can only be measured with data insights that give transparency to the worth of each and every consumer to the advertiser at a given point in time throughout a campaign’s lifecycle.  With continued investment in data insights, we will certainly see more effective use of RTB. 

The conversation then moved onto the topic of true value….

“If you purchase an impression – is it valuable?”

One of the problems we face in online advertising and indeed media in general, is the definition of value.  A large part of traditional media buying was judged on how low a price you could secure for advertisers.  But now that advertisers are able to buy consumer segments, there is a growing need to educate all parties - buyers, sellers and publishers - on the value of each buy.  As an industry, we can’t keep asking for the lowest price, but rather we need to enable advertisers to see the real value each buy has.  This in turn, will not only enable agencies to bid higher prices for quality consumers who they know will deliver a higher ROI but it will also help publishers monetise premium inventory that may otherwise go unsold.  “If we don’t change our idea of value, it’s simply a race to the bottom,” one senior executive stated to nods of agreement.


The conversation on value led to a debate about data.  Some had strong views on the relationship we have with data claiming it’s still the ‘wild west’ with unregulated pricing and lack of quality. For example if you are charged £0.50 for a consumer segment, do you really know the justification for why the segment is priced that way?  Similarly, because a lot of data is not validated, agencies feel it is important to generate their own 1st party data. This also means advertisers are starting to have the desire (and ability) to share their data with agencies and partners, such as the integration of their CRM systems into agency/partner platforms in order to get a precise view of their customers in real time. It’s the job of agencies and partners to clearly show the real value data delivers and how it leads to greater efficiencies in ad spend and importantly, generates higher conversions for advertisers.  All agreed wholeheartedly that unique data attributes is key and that 3rd party data alone cannot work. 

We’re too removed from the creatives

Great advertising has always been about creative that engages and inspires an audience to take action.  But has the innovation in sophisticated technology within our sector detracted from the importance of creative execution?  The resounding answer was yes and part of the blame, it was agreed, needs to be placed on our own shoulders as we haven’t made it accessible for creative agencies.  All parties agreed that there is still a divide between the ad tech sector and those responsible for creative.   

“Is this why we aren’t better at brand advertising?”

Online advertising doesn’t necessarily give the spike that TV does for brand campaigns; therefore, it may harder for advertisers to justify brand spend online.  With new ways of media buying focusing more and more on the importance of audience buying, connecting with the consumer becomes increasingly vital.  TV, undoubtedly, is the best example to showcase great brand advertising effectiveness – but how much is spent on TV ad creative?  With the ability to target down to the individual level, the question arises, is the same creative relevant for everyone?  This means, brands need to leverage technology, such as dynamic creative better.  Currently used for direct marketing, such as retargeting, its cleverness is underutilised.  Someone brought up the example of the recent Old Spice commercial which is famous for great digital execution.  Imagine the greater impact it could have had if executed with dynamic creative to tailor the campaign’s message to each consumer. “Knowing where the user is in the buying cycle, means we can be cleverer with creative messaging,” one guest commented “It’s about real data, real insights and real relationships with your audience.” 

And with that we all dug into our pistachio soufflés.