How programmatic can foster creativity

The growth of programmatic trading will encourage ad sales reps from publishers to be more creative and analytical, says the general manager for international at Rubicon Project, Jay Stevens.

Mr Stevens, whose company provides major publisher partners with a platform to automate the buying and selling of ad space, said that the proliferation of real-time bidding and programmatic platforms was causing media sales teams to form into two camps.

“So you’ll have the programmatic trading unit, or the automated trading unit, on one side, and the direct sales team on the other side,” he said. “What can happen now though is the direct sales team can move into more holistic, 360 degree approach, where the product they’re selling is high impact, high engagement, high value executions that can’t be delivered programmatically.

“So the spots and dots are still sold, in an automated way, but then the really interesting formats and executions are done and sold – and can only be sold – by people.”

By expediting some of the more rudimentary ad sales procedures, sales executives now have much more time to think about innovative, unique ideas, said Mr Stevens.

Rubicon Project announced a major deal with News Corp last year to provide the publisher with a programmatic ad exchange platform across all its global brands and properties.

In Australia, News Corp’s automated trading platform for trading digital inventory is managed by Cameron King, who was appointed head of commercial platforms and products in April this year, and who said that the growth of programmatic within the company had created “a slight shift in terms of focus”.

“As sales people are less focused on delivering an IO (input-output), or shifting and shuffling paper from one person to the next, of crossing ‘T’s and dotting ‘I’s, an opportunity exists to focus on more creative solutions and to focus on more client analysis,” he said.

Rubicon Project also provides a platform for APN News and Media’s Australian Regional Media (ARM) division, which was launched in July this year.

Jennifer Stokes, who manages ARM’s programmatic trading across desktop, mobile and video, said at the time that “programmatic will have a positive effect because it frees the sales people up to move away from possibly labour intensive booking processes and work on more bespoke, innovative ideas with the client.”

The Australian newspaper industry launched a private exchange for the buying of print ads last month, which will allow agencies to “bid and book a print advertisement with a click of the mouse,” according to CEO of The Newspaper Works, Mark Hollands.

The platform, Bid on Print, was created by The Newspaper Works and Publisher’s Internationalé. During publisher trials before its release, more than $350,000 was transacted on the Bid on Print website.

Mr Stevens said that some of the most innovative programmatic ads he has seen were developed in Australia and credited the development by News and Fairfax of their own performance marketplaces.

He said that from his observations the Australian media landscape was strong but noted that challenges all publishers have in capitalising on earnings from their digital content.

“Premium publishers face a big challenge, in that Google and Facebook continue to take a larger and larger share of the digital media pie and the digital media budgets and that’s probably the biggest challenge that major publishers have around the world.”

Rubicon Project partners with news publishers from around the world, but also has deals with Google and Apple to provide them with automated trading services.

“Ultimately our job is to maximise the yield for the premium sellers and major publishers around the world that we work with,” said Mr Stevens.

“Today there are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 700 major premium sellers and publishers on the platform from about 30 countries.”

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