Ayman Haydar, CEO of programmatic marketplace provider MMP World Wide, explains how programmatic goes way beyond simply distributing ads online.

How have clients’ requirements and budget allocation to programmatic evolved? 

Clients’ requirements may shift over time, but the expectation is always the same: more for less. However, the reality is, and especially in this climate, no one can have it all and there will never be just one perfect solution for everyone. What we do know is that from brand safety, measurement and transparency to performance and ROI, these are standards that are expected and can be delivered on, but there has to be a conversation on the true value of those methods and means. I’m not here to dismiss traditional advertising either, because everything has its place. What I will say is that traditional won’t die as a result of increased programmatic adoption; it will simply have a very strong competitor, and to keep pace, it will need to raise its game with a better offering overall.

There is a learning curve when it comes to understanding how to utilize these tools to their maximum potential. It’s a case of not only ensuring financial soundness in the media plans, but brand safety, transparency, and metrics as well. One of the areas we are pushing forward to address this in the region is a reintroduction of the private marketplace, which we believe is one of the most reliable ways of buying and selling inventory. As an ad-tech provider, our role isn’t just to offer these solutions, but to support our clients in maximizing their opportunities with the best possible price, safeguarding their reputation and giving them the control they need to make informed and accurate marketing decisions.

How can programmatic ensure a campaign’s effectiveness?

Programmatic showed a major increase in the effectiveness of media campaigns, with results that reached triple and even quadruple digits in some cases. This isn’t a ‘one-off’ either; we’re seeing a consistent lift in campaigns that are run programmatically. But let me be clear, this doesn’t mean that it runs unassisted for the duration; there’s still an important role for the human element to play. Theoretically speaking, much of what we see today is an automated process, but in reality, there is no ‘handbook’ that can guide this technology’s use, especially when it comes to advertising. Each campaign that goes online has its own set of characteristics and a dedicated setup process, which needs to be monitored on a regular basis to achieve the desired result.

Today, everything is happening in real-time. Programmatic enables us to tap into a continuous loop of anticipating, interpreting and making conclusions based on the data laid before us.

How can programmatic empower creative concepting today?

Creativity and programmatic go hand in hand today; it’s no longer about sacrificing one for the other. The restrictive ad formats and traditional banners that have come to define media over the last decade are long gone, with more emphasis now placed on interactive formats and concepts like gamification coming to the fore. Moving beyond targeted placement, we’ve seen ad-tech vendors involving themselves even more in the creative and production process, with marketeers investing in the latest programmatic capabilities to deliver on cost and efficiencies, resulting in improved Dynamic Creative Optimized systems becoming more of the norm. With endless reams of data, the challenge will be to provide useful and actionable feedback to lead on both sides of the media equation and advance the tech-enabled creative to new heights, embedded in things like e-commerce, videos and games for the user to engage and interact with.

What are the next steps and possible future?

Business as usual no longer applies, especially in the wake of what we’ve all experienced on a global level. The digital advertising industry is used to disruption, we thrive on change and won’t waste time looking back – it’s the future that matters.

Action must be swift to ensure our capabilities match our ambitions moving forward, embracing change to rebuild and thrive.

The nature of communication has fundamentally changed with remote work, which should make this transition easier. But what will be different is user habits online, and we’ll need to be prepared for that. There will be more mediums for us to leverage, adding audio, TV and OOH to the programmatic offering in order to reach people in a way that we haven’t before. I remember seeing a documentary about ten years ago, where a scientist predicted our walls would become LED smart screens in the future because it would be cheaper than paint. Compare that with a film like Minority Report and the technology deployed in that movie, and you realize that these ‘inventions’ aren’t 50 years away – they are much closer than you think to becoming a reality.

How to reach audiences across these different mediums? 

We need to embrace new mediums and not focus solely on screens, as audio will be a big area for us to tap into. Think about the explosion in podcast growth – and we haven’t even scratched the surface of its potential yet. I think as it matures from a ‘playback’ platform to a means of circulation and communication, we can expect to see it grow as a multifaceted channel for education and entertainment in the future.

Also, with the imminent rollout of 5G, we’ll likely see programmatic OTT initiatives start to crop up. Greater emphasis on interactivity across different platforms will be key, as brands will need to create increasingly immersive and personalized experiences to appeal to their consumers. Digital video is exploding. Worldwide, we’re seeing a 20% jump in online video spend, coinciding with a rise in total time spent watching videos online. Estimates last year forecasted that in 2020, it would reach 100 minutes per day, but figures are likely to be far greater than that, skewed as a result of the global lockdown and more families self-isolating. As a result, brands will need to find a way to reach consumers on the platforms where they are spending the most time, and as more AI developments come into play, this will allow for more personalization in digital video, helping brands to tailor relevant video ads as a result.

Interview with Ayman Haydar, CEO MMPWW
by Nathalie Bontems, Communicateonline.com