Podcast / Scale / Episode 8

Can ad placement and user experience permanently damage your publishing brand?

Head shot photo of Thomas Barlow from Integrum guest on episode 8 of Scale

When it comes to programmatic and AdOps for publishers, Integrum is the team that comes to mind. And luckily for us, Jamie Walters and Ollie Clamp, founders of Integrum, were more than happy to jump on a call to dive into the world of programmatic for publishers and answer one of our top questions (plus many more): Can poor ad placement and user experience damage your publishing brand?

About Jamie & Ollie from Integrum

When it comes to programmatic and AdOps for publishers, Integrum is the team that comes to mind. And luckily for us, Jamie Walters and Ollie Clamp, founders of Integrum, were more than happy to jump on a call to dive into the world of programmatic for publishers and answer one of our top questions (plus many more): Can poor ad placement and user experience damage your publishing brand?

Jamie & Ollie launched Integrum 5 years ago after working together for 10+ years client side for media organisations. Since its launch, Integrum’s portfolio has steadily grown and they continue to work with media organisations around the globe.

Show Notes

  • For a beginners guide to Programmatic advertising, we recommend heading here

[00:00:05] Stewart: Hi there and welcome to Scale a podcast for Modern Media. I am your host, Stewart Ritchie, the founder and lead developer at Powered by Coffee. Powered by Coffee is a web and software development team focusing on technology issues facing the media today. Scale is a podcast about how technology impacts the media and how the media impacts technology in return, everything from ad tech and privacy to hosting and content management.

We’re interested in what’s happening today, what’s happening tomorrow, and where we might end up in the future.

[00:00:35] Stewart: . Today we have Jamie and Ollie from Integrum Media. As our guest, we’re gonna be talking. Advertising, ad ops, programmatic and all those kind of good things. So it should be a really interesting episode.

Integrum are a consultancy dealing with ad ops providers, so new entrance into the market and with media owners trying to improve revenue and general ad revenue overall. Sorry guys. I kind of like got a little off track on my intro there. Do you wanna do a much better, a much better job of telling us about, about Integrum?

[00:01:06] Ollie: No problem at all, Stuart. Thanks for having us. Appreciated. Yeah, so Integrum Media we set up we’re on six year now, so five years ago. Basically we set the business up to, to cover off two, two key things. One, to help advertising, technology businesses launch into the UK market. So typically established businesses in the US or the rest of Europe or the APAC region.

They’re looking to capture the UK market from a a commercial perspective, and they’re typically ad tech businesses. The other side of the business is very much driven around ad ops and revenue growth for media owners. So doing full programmatic setups, driving revenue to specific goals that we set advising on specific ad placements to manage user experience and just essentially building in a whole realm of possibility through the ad world for media owners, essentially in the best, most user effective way possible.

[00:01:55] Stewart: Awesome. And then what’s, what’s kind of your own roles?

[00:01:58] Ollie: So, so my role is, well to be honest, our roles are very similar. So Ja, Jamie and I come from very similar backgrounds. We actually worked together many years ago for a mobile advertising platform.

I think where we complement each other is that I’m very much more commercially driven and Jamie is very much more technically driven. So I focus a little bit more on the business development, the business, the business development for the businesses that we represent and focus more on the revenue side of things.

And over to you, Jamie, on your side.

[00:02:23] Jamie: Thanks. So, yeah, as, as Ali said, like our roles are fairly similar, but the thing that I would say I bring is more of a technical background and expertise. So my sort of career started in systems integration, computer science, that sort of world. And I think what I do for our business and our clients is more centered around demystifying some of the technology side of, of advertising.

There’s lots of sort of systems and platforms that need to come together for a publisher or a media owner in order to kind of deliver an ad. And my experience is more focused on integrating those systems in an effective way so that we can, you know, have a good experience of ad delivery for whether that’s a user on a website or for the actual platform delivering ads to users.

[00:03:09] Ollie: And I think now, Jamie, we’ve been working together in multiple capacities for how many years now? 10?

[00:03:13] Jamie: Too l too long.

[00:03:14] Ollie: 10 years. I think ?

[00:03:15] Jamie: 10 years.

[00:03:16] Stewart: I’m sure you must have an excellent working relationship if you’re still here after 10 years together. But that’s great.

[00:03:22] Ollie: We do. We do. We co. We compliment each other Well.

[00:03:26] Stewart: So brass tacks, then advertising, like it or not, it’s, it’s how we pay for content these days in most cases. For those who don’t know, for maybe someone who has never run advertising on the internet before, a new site led, a new brand, whatever, someone just getting started, let’s make sure they are caught up.

So how, how does online advertising work normally day to day.

[00:03:48] Ollie: That’s a, that’s a nice broad question how does it work day to day? I mean, I, I guess if you wanna focus on the kind of core element of program, of, of advertising now, which is programmatic, which essentially makes up, I think now 80, 85% of the ad spend that runs across the UK market.

It’s, it’s essentially running now as an ad platform that is completely automated, right? So all the buying and selling of infantry now is completely automated. So from the day-to-day running, it’s really ensuring that everyone has a team in place that can, can manage that automated process. And whilst it is automated, it’s still very much people orientated in in that tracking.

So Jamie, it might be worth, you just mentioned, talk, discussing a little bit around what that’s, that basic setup looks like for a publisher. On a day-to-day perspective, .

[00:04:36] Jamie: I think if you, if you have a website or you are a media owner of any capacity, it’s, you know, you will carve up slots and we’ve all seen it. You go to any website on the internet that’s free these days, you’ll see ad placements. Now, whether they’re banners or they’re skins around a website, or they’re integrated placements in content, each of those ad placements will have some technology associated with them, whether it’s a JavaScript tag for a direct sort of piece of ad that’s been trafficked into a traditional ad server, or as Ollie said, more in the programmatic sense.

When a user visits your website, those bits of code will fire and traditionally they will fire to an ad server. The ad server is then the bit of technology that acts as the kind of arbiter, which tries to see what’s available, whether that’s programmatic, direct sold, whether it’s something that’s running through another kind of middleware technology like Prebid and it’s the, the sort of auction that happens at that time from the millions of sort of connected buyers that may want to serve and add to, you know, you as the user that comes onto that website and the process end-to-end of, as I say, that moment you visit a website all the way through to, you know, this is always traditionally happening in a couple of hundred milliseconds. What ad is then gonna be shown to you so it’s, it’s that sort of basic process of. Getting an ad onto, onto the page basically as the content is loading.

[00:06:03] Stewart: So then just, I, just to recap that I guess make it shorter is like a webpage will have, or I suppose even a mobile app has integrated advertising these days.

So anything you’re kind of seeing on a screen, you know it’s gonna have slots or units in it, and the total number of units on a page multiplied up by the page views that is gonna get, is gonna give you a rough idea of the inventory available to that, brand or that advertiser plus the actual that media owner.

And then the advertising fulfillment happens, goes off request to server the Google Ad manager, and in fact the Google Ad manager comes back with, put these ads in these, in these slots, and then. Like we, we mentioned they’re programmatic a couple of times, which is kind of in this thing that has taken over.

I think you said it was 84% of the overall market.

[00:06:53] Ollie: I think it’s actually closer to 90 now.

[00:06:55] Stewart: Oh really?

[00:06:55] Ollie: But it, but it’s I think by end of next year, they’re expecting it to be around 92 and a half percent of UK spend will run programmatically.

[00:07:02] Stewart: And it’s programmatic as opposed to, Manual.

So say direct sell, where you’ve got like this line item is gonna go into here on this, this targeting, is that the differentiator between programmatic or not, or?

[00:07:16] Ollie: It kind of is, but there’s different, there’s different versions of programmatic, so depending on how someone’s utilizing it, there’s open, there’s open exchange essentially, and sort of basic exchange revenue.

So if someone’s just plugging in, let’s say a Google ad sense or Google adx account and running programmatic that way. It’s relatively open, but then if someone does wanna sell directly, they can get into things like PMPs, which is programmatic guaranteed buys and so on as well where they can sell direct to an agency, but the agency or the advertiser will still potentially want to run that campaign directly.

 For a number of reasons. One, they get better measurement control transparency as well, and also, , all of their kind of data layers that they’ve put in place to track on their end around measurement as well, also brand safety and so on, all wrapped up into that programmatic setup. So it’s a lot more efficient typically for a buyer to run programmatically on, on that basis, so, I think we’d say now that the, the sort of five to 10% that’s not running programmatic is only not running programmatically because the creative units, let’s say they wanna run, or the kind of more sponsorship style deal they’re trying to deal with, that publisher just, just can’t physically be delivered programmatically because of the complex creativity they’re trying to deliver or the brand message they’re trying to deliver across that site specifically.

That would be typically the one piece that would drive that smaller percentage that still direct, but pretty much everything else from a standard ad format perspective. Runs programmatically.

[00:08:41] Stewart: And then, and just my own kind of like clarity as well, would, would something that was a direct deal to say you were in your app manager and you added the line item yourself, would that still kind as programmatic or, cause I suppose that auction is still running to be like, who’s gonna pay the most? For this particular page for you?

[00:08:59] Jamie: It depends because I think programmatic is typically something that runs through an exchange of some description. So if you go into Google App Manager, you know, other ad servers are available. But course Google is obviously the most prominent. . You would go in and you would traffic a, a campaign.

You would’ve done a deal with an advertiser. You’d have creative, you would traffic that creative in the ad server. Unless there is a component of that that is running into an exchange, I would not define that campaign as programmatic. So, programmatic is typically where there is so Google Ad Manager acts as I, I, there are kind of a lot of terms in programmatics, so they would typically be functioning there as what’s called an S S P or a supply side platform. Then there is an ad exchange, which is the component that sort of act in the middle as the, exactly as it sounds, the exchange component. You are the inventory, the inventory units are the supply, which is available for sale, and then on the advertiser side there is the demand side platform or the bidder or whatever’s plugged into the exchange.

That function in the middle is what typically would define a programmatic ad, and it’s all sort of governed by some standards that are defined as open rtb, which is real time bidding. So when we talk about programmatic, that’s what we’re really talking about. It’s that process of when an advertise, when a, when a slot or a placement becomes available for sale on an exchange, there are a number of connected bidders which see that opportunity and they can bid into that placement with a given price, a given campaign, a given creative, so in, in your ad manager setup or your ad service setup all a publisher or a media owner would do is say that I have this imagery available for sale. That’s sort of where it differs from direct sold because you know exactly what that deal is, what that advertiser is, your price points around that, and you would go in and create campaigns and set things up and have a lot more sort of visibility about exactly what’s gonna happen.

Whereas programmatic is more about making that inventory available for auction.

[00:11:10] Stewart: So then why, why has programmatic become, become so prevalent? Like why is it not up to this kind of 80, 80, 90% of the market? It must present some significant advantage over how things were done before, like for, for groups to buy into it, both on supply and demand side.

[00:11:32] Ollie: I think there’s, there’s kind of two key areas, right? One is, one is efficiency, and the other is the, the targeting and relevance that it presents. So from an efficiency perspective, it removes the, the manual process that, that typically existed before, multiple iOS to multiple partnerships, which means more staff a lot more admin, and it’s, it’s much harder to kind of track performance. So essentially it eliminates the need to negotiate traditional, what would we would’ve seen as traditional deals, right? And because of that, it’s now driven by auction dynamics and, and rules. So we’re creating this nice, as Jamie mentioned on RTB we’re creating this nice kind of auction environment now where best price wins for the publisher, but also the, I guess, transparency over supply and where the ad’s gonna run and the data points are now implemented against that added impression if you like. You couldn’t really get in, in an original, sort of traditional, just standard media buy. The publisher could essentially run that across their site wherever they wanted and just say, right, we’ve delivered it. Here’s the amount of impressions. Send us the cheque.

Essentially we’ve done what you asked. Whereas now there’s just so many levels of I guess measurement layers and so on in there that the efficiency it creates to ensure that that ad is being seen on the right site at the right time in front of the right person was very, very difficult to do before programmatic, essentially.

And those technical layers have allowed us to do that. So that’s, that’s really bringing the sort of targeting and relevance piece as well.

[00:12:54] Jamie: It also sort of provide, if you think of the evolution of advertising, and we, you know, you can go back you can pre-digital, if we talk about print for example, you would go to a print publication as an advertiser and you’d say, I wanna buy this many double page spreads, or whatever it is, because of the type of content that this print publication presents.

Digital advertising sort of started in the same way. So you would go to a, as an advertiser, you would go to a particular website or a particular news publication and you would say, I want to put these ads. in front of your audience, and that is sort of all the, the measurement that sort of existed in the early days of digital programmatic brings that measurement for the advertiser to an impression by impression level.

So when, when any user goes to any website with, with programmatic advertising enabled, what happens is there are data points and parameters about that user you know, may, may be available about that user, about the, the specific type of content that’s on that website. There are, you know, data even around, you know, what time of day it is, what the weather’s like, all that sort of, all that information is made available to the advertiser at that specific moment so that they can decide which campaign or which creative they want to serve.

So it becomes a much more dynamic experience end to end. So in a perfect world, it’s a better experience for the user because they should be seeing a much more relevant, targeted, appropriate advert. Than for the advertiser. It should be that they are reaching the user that they want in the place that they want, at the time that they want.

So in theory, and again, this is all things, you know, all things created perfectly. The experience should be better for the user than the media owner and the advertiser such that if you then go back to that sort of original example of early digital or print, you know, I’m putting my ad in this magazine and it’s going out regardless and it doesn’t matter who sees it, when they see it, what they see, they’re gonna see the exact same creative. So yeah, if you think of that sort of evolution, that’s what programmatic has taken us toward.

[00:15:07] Stewart: Okay, so generally like the, the assumption here is that it’s a better, better experience for, for the user ’cause they are getting something that is, you know, targeted and tailored to what it is matching their intent, the effectively it has taken them to to the place that they are to read that.

[00:15:24] Ollie: Yeah. It’s take, it’s removed, it’s removing assumptions from the buying process. Right? Like Jamie was saying, taking an assumption that just because it’s an automotive site, you can only run auto campaigns because that person’s only interested in buying a car.

Whereas actually now the, you might see an ad that might not look like it fits well with an automotive site because it’s something completely different. But it’s being targeted to that user, specifically programmatically based on their, their user trends their buying patterns and so on. So that ad is probably the most relevant ad that user can see at that particular time, given that they might have actually been looking for a tv half an hour earlier before they went on that site, it’s now showing them an advert for a new TV at Curry’s Digital that’s in the sale or something like that. As a, as an example. So the TV might not be relevant to an automotive site, but it’s relevant to that particular user at that time that is on site and that’s where that kind of efficiency and and targeting really comes into play for, from a programmatic perspective.

[00:16:19] Stewart: Is there any concern that that is a little bit diluting for the media brand owner? I know I have experiences of being on you know, amusement analysis sites, political sites that are fairly well targeted and seeing ads for softwares service providers, often marketing solutions that are advertising at me ’cause clearly like I’m a valuable user.

I’m worth a lot to them. Those are ongoing, like three fair month subscriptions. They’re clearly paying a lot to the advertiser to the brand to get my eyeballs, but it takes away from their, overall of their brand, where they’ve got like this, like leading edge analysis and this ad for an SEO tool to the left.

[00:17:01] Ollie: Well, I, and I think this is where this comes down to the media owner to manage their own user experience and, and figure this out against what their own personal goals are. Right? So if it’s all about driving revenue there, there’s kind of almost a, a three tiered process, if you like, with regard to the level of advertising that you run the site.

The first is what That, that they would sell directly to their audience. So if they’re big enough publisher or media owner that they have their own sales team, they’ll be going out and selling two brands that are typically. To the site. So let’s just use automotive as an example. Let’s say it’s a classified automotive site.

They’ll be, in an ideal world, going to agencies and brands that will be managing Mercedes, Volkswagen, et cetera, and they’ll be asking for, for quite a high budget, probably running that through as a programmatic guaranteed deal, but that is guaranteed almost like a direct buy. But running programmatically with those levels of measurement and technology layers and so on, we mentioned that would probably take.

25, 30% of their real estate. They’ve then got the piece where they’re opening up. Some PMPs to agencies where they’re giving other automotive brands or relevant brands to bid at a slightly lower price, where the retargeting and everything comes into is really in the kind of remnant leftover supply that they haven’t sold directly.

Right? Sure. And you know that, that unfortunately does typically take up a higher percentage of the real estates because, most direct buyers only want to be seen once or twice per user. But if it’s a site where they’re looking at 20 pages, let’s say it’s a classified site, they’re looking at 20, 30 pages in a user session.

No advertiser that wants to pay a high CPM to be the 28th ad they see in that session. Right? So that’s where the sort of open exchanges and the open channels of programmatic come in, and that’s where the retargeting is. And. When you mentioned about being retargeted with something that might not be relevant to the site, but relevant to you, that’s when you start to see those ads, so any media owner has the ability to actually remove that if they want to. Sure. But it does drive quite a significant amount of revenue if they have scale, if a media owner doesn’t have that much scale, they don’t necessarily have to go down that open route because it’s not financially viable enough versus detrimenting user experience if they don’t have that scale.

 So, so it’s just creating that kind of almost pyramid of, you know, the, the top chunk of that pyramid, that 25, 30% is direct and specifically relevant to the content of the site. The bottom of that pyramid is where there’s more infantry, but the relevance of the ads are potentially less effective, but more effective to the user rather than the brand.

[00:19:34] Stewart: Absolutely. I mean, it sounds like there’s a lot of advantage here to at every point along the way. The advertising brand is getting a lot more control over where things are seen. They’re getting a lot more deal, a lot more transparency, a lot more kind of insight into where their ads were run at what cost.

Great. The publisher’s getting, you know, an increase in efficiency or so the media increase in efficiency ’cause they’re not having to run a huge sales team. They can backfill that inventory with, you know, et cetera, et cetera. And again, that, you know, increased data element makes it look good for them to their advertisers of like, Hey, you got this and this and very, I imagine probably fairly easy to actually do that kind of attribution work of like, yeah, this can’t be an actually generated X, Y, and Z through this site. And that’s great. And then for the end user, the reader, you know, more targeted, relevant as to what it is they’re looking at. But I mean, nothing in the world is purely advantageous.

 I mean, there must be some. I’m downside to this.

I think the obvious one for me is like user privacy. There’s a lot of user data being tracked around and I think there are pros and cons of that. I think, I know we mentioned in, we were chatting just before the show about some of the Apple stuff with putting more adverts on the app store where you were getting wildly inappropriate ads on some app listing.

So one of the examples is like an Alcoholics Anonymous or an Addiction recovery app. Those ads having those apps pages, having ads for, you know, gambling cars and casinos and gambling.

[00:21:10] Ollie: And then two minutes later, don’t do it. We’ll help you .

[00:21:13] Stewart: Yeah, exactly.

[00:21:14] Ollie: I was gonna say, and, and actually just, just for that, just with my, my kind of publisher hat on, there’s, there’s multiple aspects of both setups that’d like a publisher to controller that. Right. So if you are, I’m just gonna stick with the automotive route just cuz that’s the narrative that we’re on. Right. If you are auto, automotive site and you don’t want anything else to run, bar let’s say finance for things like insurance and so on.

Automotive specifically, or anything within that realm. You can block every other category in most of these platforms, including Google. In fact, all all of the platforms, you can block categories, right? So you are holding the the programmatic buyers responsible. For adhering to those guidelines that you have set for your site to manage that user experience and manage the content that’s been driven.

So you can go in and block dating, I mean, so a very, a very top line level. And also more detailed dating, gambling alcohol, anything like that. You can block all of that. If, if you start to see those ads, that’s where the team you’ve built out, which would be a programmatic operations manager, whatever it is, someone that’s gonna look after, you know, your, your, your head of programmatic, it’s up to them to, to make sure that’s controlled and, and nothing slips through the net, right? But with most of these reputable companies, they have the right setup to ensure that’s controlled. The other thing is, as you set up programmatic, you have to have ad compliance in place, right? So you’ve gotta have things like a cmp, which is a consent management platform.

That consent management platform basically allows any user to go in and most people click accept all, I think we’ve all seen it, the kind of cookie acceptance piece. I think with some publishers we’ve run the percentage rate of people that just clicked accept was actually around 85, 56% Jamie? Seems to be a common theme here?

[00:22:52] Jamie: Even up into the nineties. I think a lot of. You know, we could do a whole different topic on consent, user privacy and data, but I think programmatic and the ad technologies that surround user privacy and data have, I don’t wanna say it’s a mess. , but it is challenging for a publisher to know what to do, how to implement it, how it’s then governed and controlled.

But the, you know, there are frameworks in place that sort of make that better for users. And, sorry, I just wanna come back to sort of one of the earlier things I touched you around the Apple example. I think where that differs with something like an independent publisher. Apple is a wall garden, the app store is a wall garden.

They can do whatever they want in terms of putting what ads in front of what content because that’s, that’s a, an ecosystem that they completely govern. I think from the independent publisher’s side of the world and, and even when we’re talking about, you know, using Google Ad manager and all the other platforms out there, there are standards and there are independent bodies that sort of help to govern and help to moderate experiences in that world because user data and privacy is a very hot topic, and I think it has only become more and more important with the, you know, the transmission of every buyer. We, you know, I spoke earlier about every, every single time you go onto a website and an ad unit fires off there are pieces of information and data that could be tied back to you as a user going across the open internet to, you know, hundreds of buyers that are connected. So things that Ollie mentioned, like a consent management platform are really, really crucial in the fact that you do that correctly because there are sort of there’s legislation and there are, there are legal implications of if people down the chain don’t abide by what you say if you go onto a website and you give consent or you withdraw consent, there are things that have to be done and there are ways that your data as a user have to be treated now in light of, you know, the legal and, and sort of, data privacy regulations that have come out. So it isn’t easy of course, but there are things in place in order to try and, you know, make that as safer place for a user to sort of transmit their data as possible. But I dunno, any users necessarily understand all of that and that that’s sort of another whole other side of the conversation. It’s not necessarily user or media owner understand it. Yeah. But do you, does does my mum you know, does, does my grandma, when she goes onto her website and she mindlessly sort of, oh, just get rid of that, dismiss it.

They don’t understand what that means. And I think that’s a whole other problem.

[00:25:32] Ollie: And that’s, that’s, that’s down to the industry to, to educate. But then also the industry isn’t gonna educate every single person in the UK, right? Only people that have a general interest in advertising.

They’re really gonna see that. So I think when you’re creating a consent management platform on the site, there’s some that are so overcomplicated, and then you click, you know, you click the settings bar instead of accept all, and it just comes up with a whole realm of stuff. I think if you can use one that’s as, as simple as possible, that explains things in a nice, simple manner it definitely helps the end user.

The other piece, just to explain that a little bit more, is that actually programmatically no programmatic buyer due to GDPR compliance now should serve an ad if consent hasn’t been given. So essentially as soon as someone clicks, except all that creates what essentially calling the consent string, that consent string gets passed in real time to any potential buyer or or advertiser through those exchanges to deliver an ad.

If that consent doesn’t pretty much equal yes, that user’s given consent, then they shouldn’t be serving an ad onto that page. So, Typically in any programmatic setup, as long as you’re working with, you know, the go-to sort of top 10, top 15 reputable businesses that are out there that are typically global businesses that function in the UK coming in from the US and, and other markets.

That’s all in place. It’s just when you start to work with some businesses that you know, are just, I don’t wanna name any names or anything, but there’s some people that aren’t necessarily doing things properly and I think that’s where, you know, the optimum setup. And the research you do in that setup is really key.

And as we get all this stuff in place, it then helps manage user experience across other mediums, like limiting amount of ads you serve, what the ad placement looks like, does it fit in with the site? All these things play together. And that’s, that’s essentially what Jamie and I do and support on a day-to-day basis.

[00:27:24] Stewart: I, that’s news to me cause I can’t think of a time when I’ve hit to not accept or to reject consent and then not see ads. And I’m trying to think back and try and pick an example. Cause I imagine that that while the consent hasn’t been passed for programmatic or off to third parties, that maybe that doesn’t apply to say a house advert or it’s an advert for something else within that business that you are already viewing the page on?

[00:27:50] Jamie: So there’s, there’s a, there’s a subtle thing there. So I think what Ollie refers to is if you go onto a website and you have not yet given consent, so either the, you can assume that consent is either a yes or a no. There’s a, it’s much more nuance than that.

But if we just assume for, for this example, that consent is either, yes, I give my consent for the, the purpose of data to be passed around , or no I don’t, at that point, prior to giving consent, Ad vendors should not attempt to serve an advert. If you give consent for your data to be passed on for those purposes, then they can do what they like.

You know, you and, and there’s all the work with that. If they say no, what typically happens is that you will still be served an ad, but it will not be with data, with targeting and it would be something much more generic. So it could be a house ad, but it could still be something served programmatically, but it would just be much more generic.

So I think what Ollie was referring to that moment that you don’t necessarily see an ad that’s more about when you have not. Yet given a signal of consent, whether that is a yes or a no, if you give a no, which is, you know, there are percent users that do that. And I think more and more users think about the way that they give consent.

You will probably still be served the programmatic ad, but what will happen in the exchange and that auction we spoke about is that the signal that goes across to the advertising platforms, the DSPs, is that it will be very clear that this user has not given consent. And even if there are pieces of data that are sort of associated with that advert, whether that’s the IP address or whether that’s the type of browser they’re using, or there are signals that you may not necessarily think are particularly useful for advertisers, but they, they still get passed in the bid stream if a user has not given consent, even if those bits of data are passed in the headers of the page or whatever it is, it is the responsibility of the buy side platforms, the DSPs, to not use that data for the purposes of targeting and such you know, well, whatever their decisioning logic is.

So that’s that kind of subtle difference. The only time you would probably not see an advert is that moment when you get that cookie banner come up, or that CMB CMP banner come up and you have not yet given a signal for rule against.

[00:29:58] Stewart: Okay. What about data that is part of the page view? So say that page view from the CMS has been tagged as relating to a particular category or a particular tag on the website; would that count as user data for purposes of targeting or is that cuz it’s not tied to that user in particular?

[00:30:18] Jamie: Exactly. So it’s like

[00:30:19] Stewart: The page content kinda, so that I imagine is a useful signal in some cases.

[00:30:24] Jamie: It is. And I think for a publisher, if or a media owner, any, any type of first party data that you can sort of understand about the content, the inference of where that advert is placed.

Even if a user has not given their consent for their data to be used, that’s the user’s right. Right. That’s the user’s data and that that belongs to that particular person. You as a media owner or any, anyone. As a media owner. You still have other signals that you can pass along in the bid stream. And, you know, content is exactly sort of the first thing that comes to mind.

So whether it’s tagged with, you know, various parameters of what type of content it is, or placement that you can still use and should still be using, in my opinion, for the purposes of trying to deliver a more relevant ad, because you’ll pass that into ad server anyway and you may choose to use that for direct sell, for a direct sell campaign.

So, there’s no obligation for the publisher to change the types of parameters that they may have access to and they may own and operate on even if a user hasn’t given specific consent around their data.

[00:31:29] Stewart: Absolutely.

 So then I wanted to like ask about, the future of programmatic, and I suppose with looking at how broad programmatic is, you know, if it’s so much of the market, future programmatic is the future of online advertising and things are very much in flux with so many data laws changing with, you know, how browsers are changing third party cookies, changing with new models of identification being proposed out of ad tech provider.

What, does the future hold you?

Work in 2023. Now, what is this market gonna look like in 2024, 2025, 2030?

[00:32:06] Ollie: So to give you, I can tell you from a revenue perspective what that growth initially looks like, and then what I think, well, some areas that we’re gonna, that program is gonna move into to, to help do that.

So we’re including social, just in the UK alone. Programmatic did 28.1 billion last. So billion, not million. Yeah. By 2026 the prediction is that it’ll be a 40 billion market in the UK. Which is, I mean, that’s, but it’s 2026. Yeah. So what we’re looking at three years, three years time. Four years time,

[00:32:39] Stewart: 34 % increase in three years.

[00:32:41] Ollie: Yeah. And, and if, and if we look at some of the, you know, if, if we just move away just from, from kind of the, the digital aspect that we’re talking about right now, which is typically desktop and mobile. Programmatics moving into a number of other areas now. So, We’re audio across desktop, which was, its kind of first, the first place it landed, moving into mobile and tablet.

Programmatic now is growing quite significantly across audio. If you look at things like, you know, Spotify, global Radio, global Radio have Dax, which is one of the biggest digital ad exchanges to say the UK I’m not sure if it’s truly global, but it’s huge and the vast majority of that runs programmatically now with audio ads.

You’ve got digital at home, so most people will see now that if you, you know, if you come up with Tube, at Oxford Circus. , they’re not just little posters anymore. It’s all digital screens. And it actually provides an immersive sort of digital ad experience the whole way up the escalator, right?

And then to the point that you could come out and then see a digital screen, let’s say a Piccadilly Circus that’s still projecting that same message. A lot of that now is, is delivered programmatically. So there’s now specific exchanges that operate just in the digital out of home space. And then on top of that, you’ve also got tv.

Most people, I mean obviously I’ll say most people haven’t got a percentage on this, but the vast majority of us now use the likes of Roku, Netflix Disney Plus et cetera, right? Yeah. And all of those are starting to take on ad models. So effectively it’s all becoming a kind of connected TV piece, right?

And just programmatic is very much moving into that connected TV space. So we’re getting to a point now where, as programmatic is, or the vast majority of it is delivered across mobile and, desktop and tablet, the growth is gonna come from those budgets expanding and actually people doing kind of much broader media buys across the whole realm and real estate of, of advertising as we see it today, which is creating a brand message across mobile, desktop, digital, iPhone, connected tv, audio all, all in one buy, right? And that’s where the growth opportunity’s gonna come from, from a, from a programmatic perspective. The, the question is, where does that budget come from?

Do they take that from TV budgets? Does it come from somewhere else? Or does everything just at some point just become just one autonomous kind of programmatic budget and it’s not being pigeonholed into a specific media because it’s all becoming, becoming one, right? And I think that’s definitely one that aspects that the future holds.

[00:34:56] Stewart: Yeah. I think thinking about all that, It’s a little bit overwhelming cuz you now start thinking about the number of assets that are required and kind hit every potential touchpoint where, you know, we’ve known advertisers that have struggled to get you know, correctly sized banners, you know, for display advertising on a website, mobile. I can’t imagine the event. Okay, we need this many gifs or embeds to like, run up the side of an escalator be up to a 16, 9, 16, 10 up to out, to an outdoor video screen that could be any given aspect ratio.

[00:35:32] Ollie: Yeah.

[00:35:32] Stewart: It’s, it’s a crazy amount of assets required.

[00:35:35] Jamie: I’ve actually seen some really interesting platforms that are working to use artificial intelligence to create.

Assets of all the different sizes and to kind of create that omnichannel experience off of mm-hmm. a specific campaign. And, you know, I think AI is, isn’t gonna be an interesting thing to watch. There’s lots of noise that’s been made in advertising about just machine learning, artificial inte intelligence and, and engines generally.

I think it’s gonna be an interesting thing with, as we’re talking about the future, to think about what could be coming there. You know, I, I’m hopeful that it. Gonna create some interesting adds ad experiences that perhaps we wouldn’t necessarily have thought of. But you are right. I think for an advertiser it could, it can often be quite overwhelming to think about omnichannel delivery just purely based on the fact you, you know, the channels that OIE just mentioned there. We’ve got audio, we’ve got display, we’ve got video, we’ve got digital out of home. They would all typically need specialized efforts and teams to create assets and experiences around. So yeah, that’s where, you know, the, the ad agency really adds, add its value.

[00:36:40] Ollie: And actually one area we missed as well was, was gaming. Right? And not mobile gaming specifically, but kind of, you know, console gaming and all of this. And it’s, it’s all moving into, you know, if you’re playing, if you’re playing a football game like FIFA or you are playing an F1 game, a good chunk of that branding you see when you’re playing online is actually delivered programmatically.

It wasn’t, it wasn’t designed in the game. It’s being delivered programmatically in real time and they’re generating revenue from that. So I was like, I remember everyone used to look back to the future of the movie and say, oh you know, did the hoverboard really come out by this year? Or like, what predictions did they make?

And it makes me think of pro programmatic advertising links. I dunno if you’ve seen Minority Report with Tom Cruise, which came out probably what, 10 years ago now?

[00:37:24] Stewart: No, 20 ?

[00:37:27] Ollie: Long time, right. And I think it was a Spielberg movie, but there’s a there’s a scene where he’s walking along and you’ve got, as he’s walking, you’ve got these digital screens and it’s calling him out by name saying, Hey, do you fancy a Guinness?

And then he walks along and it’s like, Hey John, do you fancy such and such? And, that’s kind of what programmatic advertising is now, essentially. Essentially what it was like in that movie. But it’s just not talking to you necessarily. It’s talking to you through technology. It’s just not saying your name.

The ad doesn’t say, Hey, Ollie, do you fancy…

[00:37:53] Jamie: I have seen creative executions that do that?

[00:37:56] Ollie: It’s, that’s essentially. Where we’re at now, it’s, it’s that personalized and it’s across so many mediums now that you don’t realize you’re seeing something as a general consumer that actually has been targeted to you at that particular time based on your buying habits or, and so on.

So I think, I think those different mediums are a huge opportunity for, for growth and programmatics.

[00:38:20] Stewart: Then I think my next jump off from that is those targeted experiences being more personalized are definitely a thing that will come mixed reality content. So if you are walking down the street wearing, you know, some Apple or Google branded augmented reality glasses, it’s hard to imagine that whatever app you’re running is not also gonna be… your example; ” Hi Ollie, would you like a Guinness?” As you walk past, St. James Brewery and in Dublin? And I’m like, yes, I would. Thank you very much.

[00:38:50] Ollie: Yeah, exactly. Here’s a discount code on the door- yeah.

[00:38:55] Stewart: But at what point is it too much? At what point do people do, feel people will get tired of it and feel like it’s a service or? And I imagine this is a thing that will overshoot and then correct back to where people are comfortable. I don’t think it’s, yeah,

[00:39:10] Ollie: I think it’s, I think it’s the industry finding a balance that there, there’s benefits to it being sort of hyper personalized and hyper targeted because it means it’s relevant.

 And that relevance then, almost hides the fact that you’re being advertised to. Right? Because it’s, if it gets so relevant, it’s something you actually want. It’s not disruptive, it’s not distracting, it’s not annoying because it’s something you have a general interest in either purchasing or reading about or visualizing.

Right? Yeah. I think that’s, that’s where actually, it’s a benefit to the industry. I think it’s just, you know, there’s been times in the past where you’ve made a purchase and then you’re just being consistently retargeted for something that you’ve already bought, which makes it the most irrelevant advertising you could possibly buy or possibly see.

 Right. That’s where I think, and I think that’s changing. I think that’s where the annoyance comes from and the irrelevance, and that’s when advertising becomes, you know, I think to answer your question, it becomes distracting and, and too much, right? So I think as we, as we focus on becoming more personalized, it creates that relevance, which means advertising finally becomes less annoying for consumers because it because of that relevance.

But, you know, I mean, we see, I can’t remember the stat now, but we see something like, we see something crazy like, I dunno the exact number, so I don’t wanna, don’t quote this, but it’s like over 200 ads a day we see, and some on a daily basis per person. Like when you’re out and about, when you’re on the internet, when you’re on tv, I mean it’s, it’s in the hundreds per day per user every single day.

And half the time we don’t even realize we’re seeing it. Right? And most of those ads aren’t personalized because they’ll be on a billboard or they’ll be assuming that I’m watching a show on Sky and you know, that’s what the ad I should see for TUI holiday or something. I dunno. Right. So, so I think as that, as that diminishes, especially as we get more interconnected tv, everything becomes a lot more personalized across every medium.

I think it’s a good thing.

[00:41:03] Jamie: The other thing we didn’t touch on there, which I think for me is quite important, it’s that media owners have a responsibility, in my opinion, to show the value of, or show the reason why they are putting adverts in front of a user. So adverts are there to generate revenue, and I think if you are a media owner or you’re a website owner and you’re providing your content for free, it’s very, very obvious why there are ads on that website they’re there to pay the bills, keep the lights on, good journalism, et cetera. Now, I think where it gets challenging is where media owners are pushing the boundaries of how much of your attention they’re able to capture through adverts for the purposes of generating revenue. So we talk about connected TV and you know, Ollie was mentioning some of the platforms there and, you know, Netflix have, have spoken about bringing in ads in, you know, exchange for a subsidized subscription.

That’s a very obvious exchange. If you don’t want ads, fine, you can go ahead, you can pay the full subscription package and you don’t get ads. Now there’s as you sort of mentioned Stewart there’s gonna be a correction with how many ads we can show, you know, with, with all these types of new technology, whether it’s augmented reality or audio, there’s always going to be a commercial pressure to put as many ads in front of a user as humanly possible because they want to generate revenue, they want commercial outcomes, but then I think it’s a user’s responsibility or is the user’s responsibility on mass to vocalise and to feedback when that doesn’t make sense, when that experience vastly overwhelms the content experience they’re getting. And most of the time people vote with their feet that you, you’ll see if you , as a media owner, if you put ads on your site and your user numbers, half, you’ve gone too far.

Think about the way that you’ve implemented it and you know, you can use that example whether you are a website owner and you’ve got, you know, some content or you are a games developer and you’ve put an app out on the app store. I think it’s the responsibility of the media owner to think about their audience, the way that they’re using adverts in a mindful way, not only to generate revenue, but they should, in my opinion, they should add to the user experience, not completely overwhelm.

I’m sure we’ve all seen, and you know I won’t name names again, but there are websites you can go to where it isn’t a content experience anymore. It’s completely, it’s an ad experience with content rather than a content experience with ads. And I think that’s something just to think about.

[00:43:39] Stewart: I think that’s incredibly correct and also very difficult to track because from a website’s perspective, the way people access websites now is they generally don’t have a huge amount of brand loyalty.

They will search for something and they will click on the responses. Brought to them by the search engine to go through and consume that content. If that content or the answer to their intent happened to have more ads than content, the site owner doesn’t care cause they’ve already registered their impressions and fulfilled the inventory, knowing full well that their bounce rate is almost a hundred percent.

But it probably was anyway, cuz either that piece of content answered the user’s question or didn’t. So, is that user going to stick around once the question has been answered or are they gonna go off? Does the media owner care? Like that’s the, like the real trick and why we don’t see these sites so much having to go back to having fewer ads.

That’s my weird thought on it anyway. But, and then with like privacy changes and consent, it’s actually much harder now to track what is our return visitor, our return viewer versus not to be like, our return views have limited, but then do people even when looking at a search result, see the branding or do they just click on the first one?

[00:45:00] Jamie: Yeah, and I think when you look at individual cases like that, it’s always gonna be challenging if you think about it in a more macro level, if you know I’m interested. Computer building computers, and I go to a website for reviews on, you know, the latest graphics cards or whatever it is. If I end up on the same website two or three times, then if the experience has been good, then maybe I’ll just go there in future, whereas, I see what you mean.

Like, because bounce rates are already already so high, what is the incentive for the media owner to make that experience better? And I think when you look at it on a, an individual visit basis, it actually, it becomes quite hard. Yeah. But if you think about. A media owner should also be considering how do you show a positive experience over a longer term?

And if just in the back of my mind I’m like, oh, actually that was, you know, I found what I wanted and I wasn’t completely bombarded with ads. I will govpack there again. It’s the same as like the, the thought about, you know, , did you have a good meal at a restaurant or was it, you know, was the music too loud or was there something else in the environment that annoyed me when I was there for my core purpose?

And I think, you know, that this is gonna, it was gonna be quite hard to get right, but if we only think about ads in a purely commercial sense, if we think about the implementation of ads in a purely commercial sense for a media owner, then you know, over time we’re slowly starting to, well, not even slowly, we’re eroding the content experience that we’re creating.

[00:46:35] Stewart: And I think that’s like super interesting, like cuz you are, you’re actually correct and I think that we can look at that and kind of split in that market in two of like niche destinations that have in-depth on a topic and are trying to build a brand around that. So like graphics card sites, you know, a perfect example cause you know, there’s a lot of things of, like right now this suits me in the type of things I do and I’m interested in that person’s take because they match my taste versus say, national media brands that have huge overheads and are just the value is in the number rather than building the brand cuz nobody’s gonna go off and buy a t-shirt relating to said national media brand, where someone might buy a piece of merch from another brand that they really like if they get into that creator’s other work. I think that’s like a really interest around like smaller media firms often say on YouTube where they will have you know, embedded sponsorships where it’s just like a one off thing, but they’re building that kind of parasocial relationship that the brand is more important than individual ad clickthrough.

[00:47:44] Stewart: Bringing it all back around, I was initially gonna ask like, how does someone get started with programmatic if they were interested and they’ve never done it before. What is the first steps for someone who doesn’t have any advertising on a website, doesn’t have any advertising on their mobile app.

And it’s interesting in making, making that leap should people start to look?

[00:48:00] Ollie: Yeah. Good question. Actually, just, just, just off the back of that, I think , the first thing anybody needs to ask themselves is do they actually have enough infantry to, sell programmatically in the first place, right? What’s the size of the audience?

If the audiences of a decent size, you know, how many ads do you need to run per page to make it an effective revenue stream? And that’s, that’s where that, that balance is probably really crucial, especially when we’re talking about user experience and so on. So if you are of a size where you need to run six ads per page just to make some decent revenue you know, you’re not quite in a good spot yet cause you’re not gonna manage user experience. So I think understanding that your audience is sizeable enough that by running limited ads per page, let’s say two, maybe three where user experience is managed, they’re in nice prime positions and you can do a general rule of thumb of typical, average ad rates, generates some good revenue from that I think that’s the first question to ask yourself, do you actually have enough real estate to run advertising in the first. And then I think from that, if the answer’s yes there’s, there’s kind of two routes you can go down. If it’s a large size and it’s strong enough, you need to start building out the foundations of what that programmatic setup looks like.

And you can’t do anything without an ad server. Right? So that, that’s gonna be the first point. If you are, if you’re a little bit smaller and you just, you’re not quite sizable enough to capture you know, like Google isn’t just gonna integrate with, with everybody outside of, let’s say AdSense and AdSense isn’t their optimum revenue stream.

 If you’re not quite big enough to kind of be able to implement multiple partners, do you go and work with a sort of, I guess a programmatic sales house where they look after sites of a certain size where they can actually do a cross audience sell across multiple sites and you can piggyback off of the strength of their relationships with adtech partners that you can’t integrate because of your site.

So there’s kind of two route to go down there, but you can’t really establish that until you know the size of your, your opportunity based on your audience.

[00:49:56] Stewart: So assess the audience size, access how much inventory you can generate while retaining a reasonable UX and then set about obtaining an ad server to fulfill that.

And then partners to, you know, provide that fulfillment, whether that’s your own sales direct or, or through a one of the partner kind of organizations you said.

[00:50:15] Ollie: Yeah, there’s a route there of, and also, you know, if you’re looking internally, whether you, if you’re sizable enough, do you build in a whole sales infrastructure of your business where they’re selling directly to agencies and you have someone managing all the third party programmatic partnerships.

Or do you actually just need someone on their own to just manage programmatic and that would drive enough optimum revenue to, to get you where you need to be and the, you know, the next steps of that programmatic process are, there’s a lot of them, which we probably wouldn’t be able to cover them all off on their school, but Jamie could certainly cover off more from a technical perspective, what that setup looks like and what’s needed.

Post just putting in an ad server cause that doesn’t obviously solve the overall problem of of getting revenue to deliver. Right. It’s just the first step.

[00:50:57] Stewart: Awesome. Well maybe

Jamie we’ll have you on to again to, to talk through that. Cause I think that’s, that’s fascinating.

[00:51:05] Stewart: How can you help our, our listeners, what can you do?

[00:51:09] Ollie: I guess, we’ve, we’ve had a huge wealth of experience of doing this for ourselves, but also for others. And our background has very much been working with ad platforms to monetize publisher’s websites, essentially. Jamie and I have always been the publisher side of the industry.

 Not necessarily the agency sales side of the industry. So I think between us 30 years experience of monetizing publishers for companies and also representing them. So I think that experience probably says from one on one, that we can, we can strip out the noise of programmatic and just let people know exactly what they do need to do rather than get caught up in the complexity of programmatic. Cuz actually the complexity isn’t that important. Not everyone needs to know all the finer details of how every single layer works. It’s really just getting back to the basics of we have an ad it needs to deliver here, how do we make it happen through the integrations that are needed?

And so Jamie and I can certainly advise, implement, and also manage that process essentially.

[00:52:07] Stewart: Awesome. Great.

[00:52:08] Ollie: Anything further on that Jamie?

[00:52:10] Jamie: No, I think that’s, that’s it. If, if what we’ve spoken about for the last hour is interesting, but you don’t know where to start, that’s where we can help .

[00:52:19] Ollie: Yes.

[00:52:20] Stewart: And where can people find it more about yourselves?

Where can people follow or if you’re still using social media?

[00:52:27] Ollie: We’re, we’re actually in the process of a bit of a rebrand actually. Yeah, we’ve, we’ve been so busy that we probably haven’t utilized our social channels as much as we should. And one of the reasons actually is cuz every single bus bit of business that we’ve worked on to date has been through word of mouth and through connections that we’ve had in the industry.

So we’ve been very fortunate. We haven’t actually had to do any marketing to date in five years. Hence, while we haven’t utilized those social channels too much, so the best place to find us is probably our websites integrummedia.co.uk

[00:52:55] Jamie: And probably the only social media that is relevant for us is on LinkedIn.

[00:52:59] Stewart: Thank you both very much. It was great. Been on for a long time and I hope everyone listening enjoyed it. I know I did. So we will sign off and speak to everyone soon. Thanks very much.

[00:53:09] Ollie: Thank you, Stewart been a pleasure. It’s been a pleasure.

[00:53:13] Stewart: Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe. The skill is available in all the usual podcast places. Even better, if you could leave us a review that really helps us.

If you’re interested in finding out more about me or Power by coffee, you can find us on social media and again, in all the usual places, links are in the show notes. Scale is currently gonna kind of come out every two weeks and we will see you then.

A modern media podcast

hosted by Stewart Ritchie

When it comes to programmatic and AdOps for publishers, Integrum is the team that comes to mind. And luckily for us, Jamie Walters and Ollie Clamp, founders of Integrum, were more than happy to jump on a call to dive into the world of programmatic for publishers and answer one of our top questions (plus many more): Can poor ad placement and user experience damage your publishing brand?

Grab a coffee and let’s discuss your project.

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