Next week I’ll be touching down once again in Jakarta, my second visit to the country in as many months. I doubt this will come as a surprise to anyone monitoring the digital advertising activity in Indonesia right now. After all, this is an advanced hub for programmatic with rapid and continued progression providing great potential for expansion and growth.

In a recent report published by PubMatic, they estimated that advertising spend in Indonesia is due to reach $2.6 billion this year – an increase of 26 percent compared to last year, while programmatic advertising will also experience an uptick. According to their calculations, the estimated total spending on programmatic ads is set to increase by 89 percent, reaching around $500 million.

When you see figures like this it’s hard not to pay attention, or give weight to the prediction that Indonesia, or indeed other advanced APAC markets, could topple the growth of the digital advertising market in the coming years. As such, it’s clear why so many CEOs, CMOs, MDs, and every other acronym you can think of, are converging at the 2nd Digital Summit, SEA to discuss what this digital future will look like.

The fact that everyone is on the same page will make for a more refreshing conversation, as the value of programmatic is already so ingrained in their planning. As a result, adopting it as part of their digital strategy isn’t even a question, it’s a given, and now they want to take things to the next level of efficiency and results.

Therefore, our conversation as tech partners shifts from ‘Publisher Readiness to ‘Infrastructure implementation’ and how crucial it is to deploy the right ad-tech solutions to future-proof your business. That being said, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach and there should be a custom blend that answers to each individual company’s objectives and bottom line.

In the battle to get ahead in the great tech arms race, it’s tempting to just throw every new and existing technology at a problem and hope for the best outcome, which in today’s world of hyper-targeting, personalization and multiple data points, is (highly) unlikely to solve the issue. I’ve said before that tech can’t just be deployed for tech’s sake; there needs to be a fundamental understanding of what each solution offers, as well as assessing and upgrading what may already be in place to give the most detailed analysis of performance.

There’s no doubt that tech is the driver for change, and if deployed correctly, will give an edge to publishers looking to create these unique and custom layouts to lift user engagement. It’s only one side of the equation of course, as the creative element needs to feed through as well, but it’s never been more important to embed a layer of measurement into strategies too. Ultimately, having this solid tech stack in place opens the door for enhanced media sales, improved analytics and better targeting, which as competition increases will prove the key differentiating factor.

This market is so digitally native and focused on innovation that the value of AI and Machine Learning is no longer a topic for debate, rather it’s about how we use it to power the best kind of results. Effectiveness today is measured in engagement, and as anyone will tell you, attracting audiences in this oversaturated space isn’t an easy task. Key insights and effective measurement allows us to shape data into content that delivers, on both relevance and personalization. At the end of the day, metrics matter and are an essential component in today’s advertising ecosystem. Aside from giving clients and agencies an ecosystem that is brand safe, it also helps them achieve a healthy ROI.

What’s interesting is it’s not just the Indonesian market who are experts in the programmatic arena. This is a trend we are seeing across APAC, in Singapore and Malaysia in particular, which underscores why our own local enterprise needed to shift to a more global conversation. MMP’s expansion worldwide allowed us to open up our expertise, knowledge and infrastructure to guide and become partners in driving this digital advertising agenda forward.

This visit to Jakarta is unlikely to be the last I make this year, especially if the region holds true to its promising potential. While our role will keep evolving, the message remains the same: Investing in technology is essential to prepare, advance and add value – and in the race to excellence in this technological age, is this really something you can afford to ignore?

Written by Nader Bitar,
Deputy General Manager