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Manning Gottlieb OMD on the Rise of Real Time Bidding

Katie Eyton is Executive Director, Head of Operations at media agency Manning Gottlieb OMD. At the AOP Conference she’ll be speaking on the “What do agencies want from publishers?” panel. Here she talks about the changing relationship between agencies and publishers, the rise of RTB and the importance of viewability. How has the rise of RTB affected the relationship between publishers and agencies in recent years?
As more standard inventory becomes traded programmatically, we’ve seen a shift in the types of conversations we’re having, with publishers focusing on more creative ways to add value to the media plan. That can mean cross-media ideas, creative solutions or deeper, more integrated partnerships. From an agency point of view, it’s a really encouraging trend.

Is there a downside to the increasing dominance of data in the relationship between publishers and advertisers?
Taken as a whole, I think the upside is far greater than any potential downside. Despite all the focus, there’s still a lack of quality, insightful UK data available. For those publishers who do have good data, it opens up the chance to engage in a much more strategic dialogue with agencies and clients.
However, while there’s no doubt that data is changing the way we do business, there is a danger of getting so caught up in this that we lose sight of other factors like site environment and consumer mind-set, and we sometimes forget how valuable these can be. But while agency planners can sometimes become absorbed in their targets and numbers, their client counterparts are perhaps more attuned to the importance of site environment. Because they live and breathe their brand every day, they tend to be more sensitive to the nuances of how a particular placement can affect consumer perceptions of that brand.

Ultimately though, the publishers who can provide both insightful data and an engaging environment are going to be the real winners in this new environment. Publishers want to be involved earlier in the media planning process, rather than just working off a predetermined media plan. Is that a realistic aim, and how can they achieve it?
I think this is a tough ask for the majority of publishers for a number of reasons, not least the fact that agencies are often working to very short turn-around times themselves. Having said that, there are a number of things publishers can do if they want to become seen a strategic partner rather than just a supplier: --Demonstrate an understanding of the client’s business and objectives. Agencies want to see bespoke solutions that show you’ve thought about their brief. In an ideal world, increased use of RTB for standard media should free more time for this type of approach.
--Tell it like it is. Be willing to enter into a grown-up dialogue about areas like viewability, and the impact it has on pricing and campaign performance.
--Data shouldn’t just be a targeting mechanic. It’s also an extraordinarily powerful source of insight into consumer behaviour. Talk to us about how we can use your data to understand more about our own audiences. Using data in this way can help to drive a deeper, more strategic relationship that benefits everyone involved.

What one thing could publishers do to make it easier for agencies to work with them?
It’s a boring answer, but make sure we know who to speak to. There are some great initiatives and new structures coming from publishers, but all these changes can make it quite challenging for planners to know who to speak to about what. There are now sales teams focusing on comms planning, creative solutions specialists, cross-platform specialists, client sales teams, vertical specialists, technical specialists, campaign managers etc.
When I asked around the agency about this, it was one of the things that kept coming up, so help us know who we should be speaking to.