On Thursday 12th November, Scoota’s co-founder Torie Chilcott joined Scoota investor & advertising legend Sir John Hegarty on the Headliner stage at the Festival of Marketing to discuss ‘The Magic of Creativity in Online Advertising.’ Torie looked at the journey of online advertising and its evolving relationship with creativity and Sir John Hegarty took the audience through one of his iconic advertising campaigns, Lynx’s Getting Dressed, demonstrating how, if he were to make it today, he would use the latest forms of technology to make it even more successful and creative. As the closing keynote of the Festival, the session with Sir John and Torie also broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest ever marketing lesson, and was an inspirational call to arms for creative agencies and technologists to collaborate more and work together to make online advertising deliver on its promise of creativity.
It’s a term often used in digital and yet its definition lacks consensus: so, what constitutes premium? Traditionally speaking, a premium publisher in the digital sense is the online representation of a high street publishing brand, such as a well known magazine title or popular newspaper. As established media properties, these premium publishers have enjoyed strong audiences and hefty advertiser revenues. For advertisers, the proposition has become more interesting with the advent of digital marketing, where the ability to exploit end user data has resulted in better and better audience targeting mechanisms.
The digital shift within advertising propelled many tech companies to start extracting learnings from an individual’s online behaviour to decide which ads to show them. With data technology companies trading audience metrics through programmatic, the challenge for traditional premium publishers became how to assert their brand value and differentiate their audiences as “premium” in an increasingly cluttered digital ecosystem.
In today’s world, brands can connect to thousands of publishers and their audiences in real time. This unprecedented access to scale means premium publishers have had to up their game to set themselves apart: offering brands a more unique, relevant and measurable audience. Advertisers are also increasingly granular in their data, prompting premium publishers to increase the value of their audiences and advertising space when negotiating their trading currencies.
Rich media has been the mainstay of online brand marketing for more than ten years, thanks to its ability to deliver a blend of video and interactivity directly to where the user can be found. But, unlike standard display advertising and pre-roll video, rich media has been late to the programmatic agenda.
So what is programmatic rich media? Let’s start with programmatic. Just as stock-market trading activity migrated from ticket-waving and noisy phone calls to sophisticated platforms relying on algorithms to seek out and bid on interesting stock, online media buying increasingly exploits real-time trading opportunities now made possible thanks to demand-side platforms and supply-side platforms.
Last week Scoota headed to Dmexco – the world’s largest gathering of leaders, innovators and technologists. Held in the heart of Cologne, across three enormous expo buildings, the biggest data exchanges, ad tech vendors, publishers and media agencies came together for a mass celebration of science. A global geek-off, notably attended this year by an increasing amount of high profile advertising leaders.
Sir Martin Sorrell led the charge with a keynote speech on horizontality and consolidation at WPP. Yannick Bollore gave a glamorous description of how Havas intends to provide the world’s best and most meaningful brand experts. Yahoo’s Lisa Utzschneider spoke passionately about the challenges and frustrations of inconsistent data.
Looking back, Dmexco successfully mixed companies more likely to be found in Cannes than Cologne with hardcore tech businesses. All seemed to be suffering from the same issues of convergence, growth and engagement. Seeing such different businesses have this commonality was startling. Notable areas of growth were discussed such as the emerging mobile markets of Africa, the Middle East and India. Also on the agenda: fragmentation of platforms; inefficiencies of measurement; plus the common anthem- the huge opportunity of programmatic.
A big day for Rockabox: today we rebranded as Scoota and announced a new round of investment from some of the advertising industry’s biggest names.
Bartle Bogle Hegarty co-founder Sir John Hegarty; BMP co-founder and former Omnicom chairman Martin Boase; ex-TBWA president Michael Greenlees; and Innocent Drinks co-founders Richard Reed, Jon Wright and Adam Balon, among new investors.
Scoota is an online advertising technology company that enables advertisers to create, activate, measure and optimise rich media brand campaigns, at scale, programmatically – all within a single platform.
We have raised £3.7 million in this new round, which will be used to invest in continuing the development of our technology platform and growth into the wider European market.
Sir John Hegarty said of the investment: “Creativity is at the heart of all great advertising. Online advertising is a medium all advertisers should embrace, but how to deliver the best creative idea in the most effective way remains a big challenge. The team at Scoota is transforming the programmatic landscape and bringing to it exciting new opportunities for creativity; I’m delighted to be a part of this journey.”
Richard Reed, “Scoota has developed a unique platform that allows brands to reach current and future customers in a way that is relevant, highly creative and, thanks to some very clever technology, at an unprecedented scale. We’re very excited about Scoota’s future.”
According to recent figures from eMarketer, UK programmatic digital display ad spend will grow 66.2% to reach £1.8 billion this year, accounting for more than half (59%) of the UK display advertising market for the first time. Procter & Gamble said this time last year that it aimed to buy 70-75% of its digital ads programmatically by the end of 2014.
I had a word with myself at the weekend. The question I now ask is: was it laziness or lack of motivation that meant I completely failed to nail the short list of DIY I’d planned and confidently promised? Or was it the head-full of Friday evening grog that felt a tad strange but seemed so alarmingly effective at the time.
Either way, I failed, and equally failed in digging up any resemblance of a convincing excuse.
If we can get away with little, we often do. How many times have you looked in awe at a work of art and wondered how on earth the individual responsible stayed upright and sane long enough to finish it?
As The Drum’s 2015 Digital Trading Awards (DTA) approached, Scoota founder and DTA judge James Booth spoke to The Drum about the importance of separating the value from the noise when it comes to programmatic.
What are the main challenges in programmatic trading marketing currently and why?
I see the current challenges as being separating the value from the noise. Brands have a tough time trying to unpick what’s what in programmatic and there’s a way to go before the dynamic shifts in their favour. Whether it’s transparency driving better trust that’s then complicated by third party auditing solutions that misinform, to advances in technology limiting reach, the challenges remain, but that’s to be expected as we run at it at 90mph.
To what extent has transparency improved in the value chain over the past year?
Considerably. The market has had to suffer high levels of fraud in recent years; transparency is opening up a premium audience and driving better quality metrics. It’s surprising that the industry has been able to get away with hiding so much for so long.
What could marketers be doing better to maximise on their programmatic investments?
Develop a better understanding of programmatic and its capabilities. Demanding transparency but understanding how supply side platforms (SSPs) and premium publishers sometimes exploit the option on whether to reveal their URLs. Beware of third party analytics packages that claim to be able to track programmatic properly but equally aren’t built with full understanding in tow. Find individuals in the market who care enough to share without pitching; find good people to talk to.