Tag Archives: starcom

Audience On Demand is hiring..

VivaKi Nerve Center launched Audience On Demand in the US back in 2008, launched in London in 2010. Now the UK’s largest trading desk is looking to add to the team as we grow month on month working with some of the UK’s largest advertisers. We work with Starcom Mediavest, ZenithOptimedia and Razorfish teams and are the most lined up agency group in the UK with full support from the agency brands and our success reflects that.

Paul Silver Heads up the Audience On Demand Product and is one of the most respected people in the industry and he will be joined by the Head of Activation on Monday Geoff Smith, current Head of Technology at MEC, it’s a dream team backed by a number of activation and analyst team members and together we are really making great strides in the market place. If you want to work on private marketplaces, scale plays, strategies across the exchange space then you should contact me or Paul.

Bored at an Ad Network, or worrying about their future? Perhaps at another agency Group but struggling against constant resistance and confusion, maybe in a ‘specialist outfit’ but seeing just how restricting and myopic that can be? Want to work for a team that works openly and collaboratively with publishers then email us..

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Smart Agencies Understand the Partnership Imperative

In the time I have been writing for this blog, I have worked substantially with Google. The VivaKi Nerve Center are tasked with identifying key partners in their role of being the future facing R&D division of VivaKi. Google are one of our major Partners and because of this I invited Google to write my 100th blog post and to talk about the importance of partnership in this new media landscape that is evolving into a tech driven business rather than just a media one.

Simon Birkenhead of Google, Global Agency Leader for Publicis has kindly submitted the below post and I must thank Simon and the brave Comms team down at Google for letting him loose on my amateur blog!

Smart Agencies understand the Partnership Imperative

In January 2008, Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe, and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, shook hands on the terrace of the Publicis building overlooking the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Their agreement, to join forces and partner in the deployment of new digital advertising technologies, kickstarted a radical transformation in the way that large agencies work with technology companies.

For decades agencies have been the masters of delivering effective advertising campaigns at the best possible value for their clients. A key strategy to achieve this was to maintain an arm’s length (some would say, adversarial) relationship with media owners to preserve objectivity and a strong negotiating position. The slow pace of true innovation in traditional media meant there was little pressure for this to change: agencies’ fluency in offline media required little 2-way interaction with media owners beyond discussions over pricing and tactical proposals.

However, the explosive growth of digital marketing over the past decade, and the associated emergence of Silicon Valley’s fast-moving technology companies, has instigated an urgent reappraisal of this adversarial mindset by the leaders of the world’s largest agencies. The increasing importance of data analytics as a key component of agencies’ service offering, combined with the lightning-paced evolution and technical complexity of the new digital marketing platforms, means that a closer working dynamic with technology companies is no longer an experimental initiative, it has become a business imperative.

When Maurice met with Eric in Paris in January 2008, which was also around the time I joined Google, Google’s product suite was largely limited to Search and our display network. Just three and a half years later, the conversations I have with agencies now cover mobile, online video, social, ad exchanges, global ad-serving platforms, rich media advertising, DSPs, analytics, real-time insights tools, data platforms and even enterprise software.

The pace & scale of change is truly mind-blowing:
● In 2008 Search accounted for just 3% of all media investment in the US and Western Europe. Just 3 years later this has tripled to ~9%. In UK, Search now represents at least 15% of all ad spend.
● Android has grown from zero to over 550,000 new activations per day in 3 years and, with iOS, is radically transforming how advertisers can engage with customers through mobile devices
● YouTube now streams 3 billion video views per day, double the volume just 18 months ago
● Facebook, Twitter & Google+ together have close to 1BN users globally, 50% of whom log on every day, half of these through mobiles
● In just 18 months, Ad Exchanges, DSPs and Agency Trading Desks have revolutionized the way display media is bought, challenging the business models for hundreds of existing display networks
● Google announced over 350 major new products or feature changes over the last 12 months alone, an average 7 per week. (To see what these were, visit http://www.google.com/newproducts)

As a Googler, with full access to our internal resources, it is a huge challenge to maintain my own knowledge of all these technologies and the associated opportunities they afford marketers and agencies. For agency account leaders, planners and buyers, who also have to be fluent in a similar suite of products from dozens of other digital companies in addition to all forms of traditional media, it has become truly impossible to remain true media ‘experts’. Every new layer of complexity created by technology evolution creates an even deeper requirement to nurture and build strong external partnerships. As Rishad Tobaccowala of VivaKi recently commented, “The world is too complex and moving too fast for any one company or team to do it all. We need to train people who are cross-bred and hybrid and who are willing to work together.” Tight-knit day-to-day collaboration at account team level with technology companies like Google have now become a necessity for agencies to keep up with all the potential options for connecting advertisers with their customers.

Many advertisers have also come to the same conclusion. A key component of many major media pitches recently has been the requirement for agencies to demonstrate the strength of their partnerships with Google and other players in the digital ecosystem, and how they can use these relationships to deliver additional value to their clients.

Smart agency leaders like Jack Klues, Laura Desmond and Steve King have realised that a close global partnership with Google would help their agencies to stay ahead. Today our global partnerships with VivaKi, Starcom Mediavest and ZenithOptimedia deliver immense value beyond the technology collaboration originally envisaged by Maurice & Eric in January 2008:
● Our industry experts provide deep insights into consumer & market trends that illuminate new consumer engagement opportunities for agencies, enabling their clients to lead rather than follow
● Our display, mobile & video experts work with agencies to create innovative, high impact campaigns for advertisers by pushing the boundaries of what is technologically possible
● Our product managers help agencies to understand and prepare for new marketing opportunities generated by technology change
● The joint research studies we publish each year with agencies deepen our understanding of consumer behaviour in this new digital realm and deliver the proof points needed to encourage advertisers to leverage these new opportunities
● Our training initiatives and digital media certification programmes, covering everyone from the top CEO to entry-level graduates, are helping the agencies to maximise the ROI from their digital campaigns and keep their teams operating efficiently and effectively
● Our ongoing partnership with VivaKi’s Audience on Demand trading desk is helping agencies & their clients to improve the performance of their digital campaigns through superior buying processes.

Yet despite all this, as I talk to agency leaders around the world, both inside & outside of Publicis, I still occasionally get asked what the value is to an agency from working with Google.

Agency leaders who have not yet figured this out, who are not actively encouraging their account teams to build a deep collaborative partnership with Google, may soon discover they are at a significant disadvantage to their competitors in this fast-changing market.

Simon Birkenhead is Google’s Global Business Leader for Publicis Groupe

My 2010 review for Exchangewire on Exchange trading, an agency perspective

End Of Year Review: Marco Bertozzi, Managing Director EMEA at Vivaki, Gives The Agency Perspective On 2010

Posted: December 9th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Online Advertising | Comments

Exchangewire story here

I first talked about ad exchanges in a pitch in 2008. The DoubleClick ad exchange was either recently launched or due to be. Either way it seemed like the answer everyone in the industry had been looking for: namely, the chance to only buy audience you wanted and move away from buying in the thousands. That principle stands true today and overall the ad exchange trading approach is a successful formula.

The market place has remained pretty static since the late nineties. The industry traded in the same way as every other media channel and it worked quite nicely. When ad exchange trading emerged and became a serious proposition it asked many questions of the roles of agencies, ad networks and brought to life the data practices that had become so prevalent in recent years. 2010 has been an amazing year. The companies and technology on the lips of the media industry now – Invite Media, Turn, BlueKai, DSPs – were not even on the radar here in Europe twelve months ago. It’s incredible how quickly our industry can adapt and I have enjoyed being in thick of it in 2010.

A year in developing an ad exchange proposition

One of the hardest parts of a role such as the development of a new way of trading is gaining trust and buy-in from agency teams. It is actually harder to get traction with a proprietary approach than introducing a third party – see how Group M has struggled with the purchase of 24/7. There has to be proof that something like Audience on Demand can work and beat the competition. Client teams are rightly very defensive of their clients.

In every group you also have of course different agencies with their own approaches and ethos to digital. My challenge with Audience on Demand was to create an offering that worked for each agency and one they felt they could make their own. You have to work with many different opinions but in the case of Vivaki we did that and through that due diligence has come a unified view on how Audience on Demand could look and one of the reasons we have made so much progress. It is great that we have Starcom Mediavest, Zenthoptimedia and Razorfish all involved through consensual means rather than command.

Unique in this arena is the level of attention that needs to be given to data ownership and making sure that we are not buying unsuitable inventory. It’s important that contracts reflect the new world we are living and trading in. Outside of that we need to manage some people’s concerns that ad trading will be the death of the buyer and lead to an automated buying environment. Those concerns are mainly unfounded. Of course as more media is traded in this way it will make agencies more efficient – but take a look at search where we still have teams of people bringing the strategies to life.

The challenges we face in an agency

In considering the challenges we face I have chosen to break up the ad exchange trading proposition into four core areas, people, technology, marketplace and data. Each area has had its own areas of positives and negatives.

People

The challenge with ad trading is that it sits in the display camp. But the execution needs to be with those who are more direct response or search focused – namely those people who enjoy numbers and optimisation. This is not a ‘display’ buy. At the end of the day someone needs to have the skills to make this work and finding those people will be the next battle ground in this market. I fear a repeat of the search market where we competed for talent to the extent that search planners were getting large pay rises after 6 months in the job. We need to avoid a repeat of that by spreading the skill set as much as we can rather than concentrate on a select group of people.

I think there will be a new breed of buyers in this space but they could work across different elements of the same principle – biddable media. Some agencies claim to be employing NASA trained graduates, who could unpick the meaning of life in an instant. I don’t believe this is not a viable strategy for all. Some middle ground is needed here. What skills will be required by agencies? There should be heavy data knowledge, and more analytical than perhaps in the past – but this new breed of buyer shouldn’t be a complete departure. After all, the ad networks have been doing this for years without recruiting from MIT.

Technology

That’s easy! Why do I say it’s easy, well because it is all the same. I can already hear the howls from the baying crowds of technology companies, but fundamentally it’s true. Let’s not hide behind technology. It’s hugely important and exceptionally scientific but unless you have the people to make it work, it’s effectively useless. We work with Invite in the main and they are the leading player in the space now with the backing of Google – and hopefully they will continue to drive innovation. That said we have not won a single piece of business on the back of our technology sell. It’s all about the people and strategy. The most important thing any agency can do is work on the overall integration of the data provided by these systems into the agency’s data warehousing infrastructure. That’s where the value is created not in the individual system itself – and that’s where NASA knowhow comes in!

Ciaran asked me about developments in this space. I think we have been seeing the morphing of companies with a technical core into DSP offerings. That for me is the biggest shift. Real-time-bidding capabilities have also driven this development. As we have seen from results, it really makes a difference to performance and the margins publishers are able to take.

As I mentioned earlier its fascinating watching all the new players come to market. Dataxu, Turn, Mediamath, Appnexus and many others all staking their claims in this space and that battle with continue unabated. On the back of that I hope we will see product improvements to benefit our clients, especially around video and mobile.

Marketplace

Is there inventory or not? There is a lot of exchange inventory that needs to be supplemented with more mainstream inventory, Yahoo already do this. Microsoft has just signed up with Appnexus and there is a ground swell of larger publishers that are starting to hear the whispers that they can make more revenue through exchanges than going to ad networks. Critical mass is key and it is coming fast.

If you were to ask me what has changed in this area I would say that publishers are now considering putting more inventory through exchanges and dipping their toe in the water. Many people talk about the threat to ad networks from agencies – in terms of replicating their model. I am more inclined to believe that publishers are less willing to forsake their remnant and unsold to ad networks, preferring to move inventory into open exchanges.

Scale to compete is another topic of intense debate. Anyone who has run an attribution model on one of their campaigns will see that a number of sites can feature heavily across a number of exposures on a campaign but the last click will often fall to a small list of companies that effectively buy up the web. These networks buy at huge scale and therefore often win the last click battle. That’s not strategy or skill – it is sheer bulk. But it works in our current basic last-click-wins approach to digital. It’s no surprise to find that the ad networks are the largest buyers off the exchanges!

Data

Come back to me next year. There’s been so much talk but little action over the past twelve months. The area of most interest is of course retargeted inventory – first party data rather than third. For the last few years agencies and advertisers have been giving it away to ad networks to make their own campaigns work better. Ad networks were thus able to create greater insights on competing brands. The battle is now on to retrieve that data usage from third parties and keep it between agency and client. One thing that is blatantly clear is the need for a huge shift in data contracts. Client contracts and media owner contracts are going to change as everyone wakes up to the reality of how data is being used.

As for third party data, we are not there yet in Europe. There is little to no decent data on the market. A couple of companies are starting to shape their offerings. Obviously there are those who will sell data but on the back of their media networks. I think we will see some developments in 2011 as US companies come to town but we have some way to go. The greatest challenge is managing the price and value. Up to this point data has been too expensive and has invariably underperformed – so we should see some big improvements next year.

European ad exchange trading

I think that the idea of a group offering across Europe is more than possible, but it remains very complex. I spend much of my time investigating the developments in European markets and trying to understand their individual nuances. Each country has different marketplaces – with some more ready than others. Germany is a particularly entrenched market with some very established publisher relationships and a low use of ad networks. There are big companies in the space such as Weborama, Adjug, Adscale all looking at establishing opportunities. The importance of working with local partners cannot be underestimated if you are to make a success in these different markets – a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.

Conclusions

It’s been a fascinating and exciting year. I have met with some extremely bright companies and people – and I believe that this ad exchange trading tide will change our business more than any other single development. As we move into 2011 – and we see the addition of video and mobile to the automated ad trading mix – the ad exchange space will become even more complete.

As I discussed it will ask questions of many company structures and approaches, people skills and data capabilities but that is the interesting area for me. It will make us all re-evaluate how we work and what our structures and people skill sets should be. I work with great teams in the VivaKi agencies and am fortunate to be able to push on an open door. This innovation requires some elements of trial and error, and we all need to learn together. I would also say we should encourage each other in this space. The more we work together, the better the traction from publishers and data companies, the more we will grow as an industry.

Vivaki Nerve Center launches The Pool video lane

When I started in the Vivaki Nerve Center I had quite a few things on my to do list. One of the most exciting was getting ‘The Pool’ live.

The Pool is a vehicle through which we would bring together advertisers and publishers to participate in a project that would shape the market in whatever field it is concerned with, drive future facing ad formats and hopefully drive revenue on both sides. It was designed to be objective, a consensus approach but based in consumer insight. The Pool started in the US with fantastic results, if you want to read more about it, click here

Video advertising is the subject of choice. Why is that? Well there are some fundamental factors that lead video to be an ideal Lane in any country. Firstly we all know its growing hugely, unstoppable and more and more quality content is migrating to the web which is not being followed by advertising pounds. That leads to the next couple of issues. The ability of publishers to monetise has been difficult due to the constant erosion of pricing and lack of research to prove it works and secondly it’s a chaotic ad market in terms of formats. If you work on the basis of 50-60% of TV ad pounds go against a 30sec Ad it’s easy to ramp up investment rapidly. Anyone who has done video advertising knows there are too many formats, too many creative approaches and publishers all have their own model. The Pool aims to solve that.

Tomorrow sees the launch to all the major publishers in the UK of The Pool Lane 1 in the UK, Long form video. Vivaki Nerve Center with close collaboration from ZenithOptimedia and Starcom will be aiming to get publishers on board with the project to find the single best Ad format for video across a range of categories of results. Once on board we will work through field research and with the help of clients to identify the winning Ad format.

It’s an exciting project and I hope very high profile, the end result should be a win for the publishers, a win for the advertisers and a win for the agencies in the Vivaki groupe. I hope by the end of this there will be a model that becomes second nature to planners and allows scalable spend in video which has to be a good thing.

I will then be turning my spotlight on mobile. Mobile suffers similar issues if not worse and needs to have a greater industry focus put upon it. The levels of spend in mobile display are appalling when compared with the time spent on mobile devices so I hope in 2011 The Pool approach will drive some great new learnings for mobile.

My new role at Vivaki Nerve Center , EMEA

Marco Bertozzi:03.03.2010
After a break of three months I have very recently secured a new role at Vivaki Nerve Center. I set out to find a role that was at the heart of the world of digital and I am pleased to say this role 100% achieves that. I am also excited about the fact that we are still at the formative stages for the Vivaki Nerve Center and that I will be part of the definition and growth of the unit.

http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/994625/Marco-Bertozzi-hits-nerve-VivaKi/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

In the last three months I have spoken to many agency folk around the market and its been a fascinating view on the market. All the major agency groups are investing in their parent group offerings, seeing the benefits of aggregation of skills, knowledge, technology and of course media investment. I hope that as part of the VNC I will be working in what will be the future for Publicis Groupe and help lead the change.

As I have written about previously I believe that the one thing that is for certain is that technology and changing trading methods will alter the way agency groups structure around digital planning and buying. The role of the ‘media schedule’ will be less relevant when in fact we should be buying audiences regardless of their location or site they are visiting. Trading will be about buying at the best price to deliver the relevant ROI not about the fact you bought 10million impressions at a set price earlier in the month and that will combine search and display in all its formats.

On top of that we are of course dealing with the huge changes coming from mobile, social and video, three huge topics that we have to make a success of in our marketing solutions. I am constantly on my iPhone and Nexus one, I surf, blog, update and find information and there are many like me so our solutions need to be making the most of that audience. I believe we have a way to go in that arena as an industry, I look forward to working with Phonevalley and others in implementing these new strategies.

Whether it be social media, mobile or straight forward impression buying we also need cutting edge tracking and reporting solutions and I look forward to working with our partners and Groupe companies in helping us to deliver intuitive, useful and accurate reporting suites to help us across Search, display, video and social.

Having just spent a few days in San Francisco its clear there is an enormous amount to be getting on with, some tasks more straight forward than others but all equally exciting. Our strategic partnerships are going to really create some amazing opportunities for our clients and there will no doubt be more to come. I work in a group of amazingly talented companies including Razorfish, Digitas, Performics and many others so this should be an exciting times and I cant wait to start.