Is Ad Tech a Force for Integration?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

By Adam Kleinberg

This morning, I published an article in Ad Age called " Why ad tech is the worst thing that ever happened to advertising."

The gist of the story was that ad tech provides us with great tools, but that the way they have been implemented has left a mess in their wake that has negative impacts on both marketers and consumers.

Someone reached out to me to ask, "what's the solution?"

Well, the solution certainly isn't going to come from government regulation that stifles innovation. It think the solution is going to come from two sides.

First, consumer backlash. Ad blockers are likely to grow in popularity as the population matures. I recently saw data that millennials were the overwhelming majority of users of ad blockers. This makes sense. They've grown up with tech so they are more savvy, so they are more likely to take steps to block something that has an adverse affect on their experience.

Second, is marketer backlash. Mondelez CMO, Dana Anderson, was quoted as saying "I have sworn off programmatic! I think the topic is finished!" at the ANA Conference this year. I didn't see her speech so I don't know the context and obviously, programmatic itself isn't finished, but I think Dana's point was that she isn't going to accept paying for fraud and hidden mark-ups and un-viewable impressions without any accountability.

From our point of view as an agency, we think there's several things that matter. For instance, we now have a policy that all programmatic buys must have ad verification technology attached. We also have to shoulder the burden of educating clients as to what the risks are with this tech and why fees are what they are because it takes an investment of time to use these tools responsibly.

But I think one of the most important is integration. I've been a big advocate for creative and media integration and I think ad tech is another reason it is critical. Creative and media need to work together because the media can undermine the effectiveness of creative is it is misapplied. Running blind is simply dangerous.

About the author
Adam Kleinberg

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and and a founding partner of Traction. He has written over 75 articles in publications like AdAge, Adweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Digiday.

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