As a product marketer, a big part of my job is analyzing the key players – competitors and partners - in the ad tech ecosystem. Over time, I’ve been struck by the seemingly endless expansion of the tech landscape, and the proliferation of new solution providers and even provider types. If you’ve ever seen a Lumascape slide, you’ll probably agree.
It’s easy to find voices who cite this development as a net positive or negative; however, the truth is, the trend is probably here to stay.
While there is a subset of enterprise-level digital marketing suites that include end-to-end demand side features like a bidder, ad server, creative tools and data management, the brands and marketers I’ve spoken to generally refuse to be locked into a walled garden, meaning choice will likely remain the order of the day.
Many of the players driving the vendor explosion are data providers. Their data sets - which often include demographic, behavioral and contextual inputs - make up a powerful arsenal for ensuring that every impression contributes to achieving a campaign’s key performance objectives and ensuring minimal media waste. This data can be owned by a brand or purchased from a third party provider.
I decided to take a look at our data to see how big this trend is for brands that leverage the Videology platform. Bottom line: it’s huge.
Since Q2 2013, the use of “add-ons” has doubled in North America; EMEA and APAC experienced even larger gains, although from lower bases.
At Videology, the most regularly used add-ons are audience verification products which provide unduplicated reach, frequency, demographic and behavioral data. Sale impact vendors, which connect digital video campaigns with offline purchase conversion and ROI, also experienced significant gains.
While choosing to use more data is easy, leveraging this new-found data in digital video campaigns is not.
Incorporating these data sets into campaign targeting and delivery introduce a new set of executional complexity to any digital video campaign. Importing, integrating and accessing these data points is difficult and frequently cumbersome in many ad tech platforms, often leading to inaccurate or inconsistent data availability across campaigns, plans and publishers.
In some cases, it may be impossible to use owned data sets in some part of a digital media buy. For example, if an advertiser builds a custom cookie pool/audience segment with a 3rd party vendor on a certain media network, if another media network is not integrated with the preferred data provider, you have to start from scratch.
If it’s not impossible, in some cases it’s a very manual process. Even if a media partner is integrated, it may be a simple pixel-based integration that could be prone to data leakage or trafficking errors.
The bottom line is it’s generally easier said than done.
That fact helps explain why we’ve worked to incorporate over thirty five data sets to ensure that best targeting, optimization and insights are available for all brand advertisers – the most data integrations provided by any ad tech partner.
We’ve also worked to make it simple for clients to manage campaign add-ons with an easy-to-use management tool built directly within the campaign management workflow.
Looking forward, I see continued tension between the forces driving enterprise-level tech consolidation and the continued proliferation of specialized point solutions; however it is clear there will be increasing value for technology platforms that make it simple for brand advertisers to bring together their preferred data partners in one place.