Not all programatic is created equal

The AANA met in Sydney last week to discuss media transparency. This meeting followed a tumultuous start to the year for digital media, which has included P&G Chief Brand Officer Mark Pritchard’s landmark keynote regarding digital media transparency and recent widespread press coverage of brand safety concerns regarding YouTube and Google inventory. 

At the AANA meeting, Nick Manning of auditing firm Ebiquity turned the heat up on Programmatic Media, questioning its value to advertisers and highlighting its starring role in the debate around media transparency. 

In his keynote Manning stated: 

  1. Programmatic investment isn’t working 
  2. Only 20c of $1 spent in programmatic media makes it to the consumer 
  3. Greater transparency is required between Advertiser and Agency. 

1. Programmatic media isn't working

It was the biggest statement of the day: "Programmatic advertising simply isn’t working". In the same breath, Manning continued: “It can happen and we do see it, but mostly it doesn’t”. Despite his immediate contradictions, Manning’s main takeaway was that return on investment simply does not exist. 

The primary flaw of this statement is that programmatic media, much like broader digital or even print media, can have multiple interpretations and definitions (Newspapers, Magazines, DPS, Strips, etc). The statement is made with too little context or supporting evidence, which undermines what is inherently a highly intelligent and accountable method of media investment. 

Programmatic media investment can, and does drive value for advertisers. From prospecting campaigns targeting 3rd party audience segments, to highly targeted and personalised retargeting efforts utilising 1st party customer data, programmatic technology gives advertisers opportunities to make highly intelligent and sophisticated decisions to drive outcomes for their businesses. The type and amount of value very much depends on the strategy behind the investment and the approach taken by the people on the tools. 

Could it work harder for advertisers industry wide? Yes. Can we continue to be more creative with its deployment? Of course. Have there been practices undertaken by some which have undermined its value since its inception? Absolutely. However, to say that it does not work, is simply incorrect. 

2. Only 20c of every $1 hits the consumer

Nick Manning Programmatic Chart

A chart was provided which claimed to outline “the true cost of programmatic”. This perhaps best sums up the generalist and sensationalist nature of this keynote. This graph depicts the 'clips of the ticket' taken between advertiser and consumer when dollars are invested programmatically. 

What's important to note here is that not all programmatic agencies and/or their offerings are equal - far from it. 

An Agency Trading Desk model is fundamentally different to an integrated Performance/Programmatic team model. References to 'Agency of Record' fees taken in addition to programmatic fees, and 'Agency Trade Desk' margins taken can only be applied to situations where programmatic investment is applied in that fashion. 

Certainly there are costs taken from every dollar invested; however these technology costs (both demand and supply) vary widely based on volume and provider. While they can add up to a significant portion of the investment in media, the question that needs asking is whether each and every cost adds value to the investment? If the answer is yes, leave it in. If you can achieve the desired outcome without it, then you have your answer! 

3. Greater transparency is needed between agencies and advertisers

The final topic covered the nature of contracts between agencies and advertisers in the programmatic space. 

Advertisers had earlier been quoted by Sunita Gloster, CEO of the AANA, in relation to the lack of understanding they had regarding the nature of their contracts. This was reinforced in the keynote with reference made to 'opt-in' deals which leave advertisers with little to no recourse in terms of auditing or investigating the costs outlined above. 

This has been a hotly debated topic for years and for the seasoned digital investors there was nothing new here. The fact remains that 'opt-in' style contracts are ever present. They are agreed upon due to the value proposition the provider can offer, generally based on scale and proprietary data/audience intelligence. They do put the Agency Trading Desks in a position to control the margin made out of any programmatic investment. 

Whether such contracts have a place in a relationship between advertiser and agency is a question every advertiser must answer for themselves having fully understood the reasoning behind it. One has to question why it is necessary if all parties are committed to a fair and reasonable commercial relationship. 

Where Ikon fit into all of this?

The future of digital and broader media investment is programmatic. This method of investment provides advertisers with opportunities they simply couldn't obtain without it. Ikon has and will continue to lean into this opportunity with a programmatic offering designed for clients, not for the agency. 

We operate on a transparent and integrated model which sits programmatic traders alongside client teams. We establish market leading measurement frameworks to understand the value driven for our advertisers. We are transparent on media/tech/data costs which are passed on to our clients. We provide commercial models which do not favour investment in programmatic over any other digital channel. This allows us to focus on investment strategies that best serve our clients, which has always been the Ikon way. 

Playing catch up on Influencer Marketing

Playing catch up on Influencer Marketing

With the rapid rise of the "influencer" it's no surprise that legislation is just starting to be defined, and although it's great to see the industry start to take some first steps, we are far from reaching clear and concise laws that would be realistically enforceable.

The hope is that the guidelines will further bring the issue into the spotlight and move influencer marketing from out of the shadows and into a legitimate space with better quality standards.

Ikon Head of Content Maria Casas examines the recent changes.

Here’s looking at view - Digital advertising in transition in 2017

Here’s looking at view - Digital advertising in transition in 2017

When the AANA released its report last year stating that the minimum viewability should be at 70% by January 1st 2017, everyone wondered if this was actually possible or sustainable. It’s now March 2017, so how far have we progressed?

Sian Whitnall, Head of Digital Ikon Group Sydney looks at the the changing state of play for digital advertising. 

Ikon Group Sydney wins Australian Apples creative account


Horticulture Innovation Australia has appointed Ikon Group Sydney as the creative lead on Australian Apples following a competitive pitch.

HIA looks after the marketing for various horticulture industries, including the iconic Australian Bananas campaign.

The Australian Apples campaign will launch in March and includes TV, cinema, digital and a Netball Australia partnership.

We’re delighted to have this rare opportunity to create category leading creative work.

Tell someone who cares. Social media is about real human connection.

Tell someone who cares. Social media is about real human connection.

Social media has been copping a bit of flak lately – from enabling cyberbullying to Mark Ritson’s recent criticisms as an “unproven and misrepresented channel”. Negativity aside, social media has been the golden child of the advertising world for the past few years. We’ve all read numerous articles about its scale, reach, engagement, effectiveness… and the list goes on. So the last thing you need is another article telling you how good it is, right?

Apple Pay now accepted in Australia. Opinion piece by Tim Micallef, Ikon Sydney

Apple Pay now accepted in Australia. Opinion piece by Tim Micallef, Ikon Sydney

Apple Pay is far from a new concept, in fact, it was initially released in October 2014. However, it is relatively new in the Australian market. For those unfamiliar with the product, Apple Pay is Apple’s direct payment solution, where all your bank cards are stored on your device, thus enabling users to make payments with their phone at EFTPOS terminals. 

Microsoft makes largest aquisition in its history buying LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion - Ikon POV

Microsoft makes largest aquisition in its history buying LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion - Ikon POV

On Monday 13th June, Microsoft announced they would be completing a $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, with the deal to be completed by the end of this calendar year. This is the largest acquisition made by Microsoft in its history, dwarfing the acquisition of Skype in 2011 at $8.5Bn and the $7bn paid for Nokia.