Rendezvous with Industry Leaders – Douglas Karr

The programmatic value chain is changing, video consumption is not TV’s exclusive treasure anymore and the lines just keep getting blurrier.

We met with Douglas Karr, top MarTech expert and founder of Martech blog to hear what lies ahead for the ad tech industry from an advertiser point of view.

1 – Recently, new technology solutions and initiatives (like ads.txt by the IAB) are meant to improve legitimacy in ad buying, making the video value chain more reliable. How do you foresee these changes affecting the face of the industry and its players in the long run?

The intersection between content and advertising continues to blur with sponsored content and programmatic advertising options. Because of this, publishers are being more selective of the ads they wish to have published on their sites – with tools like whitelisting, blacklisting, and ad category exclusion and inclusion.

On the opposite side, advertisers are recognizing that their brand integrity is at stake if their ads are mixed into sites that are irrelevant or offensive to their customers. Transparency is critical for publishers to protect their audience and for advertisers to protect their brand. We’ll continue to see high demand from each side for programmatic advertising systems bridging the gap.

2 – What are some of challenges facing the ad industry?  

Programmatic advertising, like every other technology, is only as sophisticated as the algorithms it’s based on. We already see how programmatic stock purchasing has proven very profitable – or falsely shifting the market due to algorithm problems. In fact, “algotrades” contributed to the economic crisis almost a decade ago.

Algorithms have been fixed in the past, but artificial intelligence can adjust algorithms over time to mitigate risks and improve overall results. AI and programmatic together will reduce the risk.

Marketers like to think they’re intelligent and unbiased in their decision-making, but we tend to be quite the opposite. By utilizing statistically valid, continuously modified algorithms based on actual data, AI is proving to be the best advancement in marketing technology.

3 – In video advertising, cross screen delivery is a major issue as video consumption occurs on many different types of devices. Where do you see consumer viewing trends headed?

A continued, steady decline in the cost of televisions is transforming the home. Combined with cord-cutting and inexpensive alternatives to cable like Amazon, AppleTV, Roku, and more, there’s really no split between the types of devices anymore. Every screen is smart, every screen is connected, and consumers have more and more of them. Currently, all devices tend to operate independent of one another, requiring advertisers to reach multiple segments via multiple connections or devices.

However, the future is in the ubiquitous display. A consumer may start watching a video on their iPhone, move to their laptop, then walk from room to room – where each device is responsive and communicating with one another. I even predict a future where a screen is nothing but a dumb device that we’ll set our phone next to and it will connect and will be a wireless display for our device. When that happens, we can put the screen anywhere we want, because the single point of connectivity is our smartphone.

4 – What are some ways that advertisers and publishers can customize the omni-channel viewing experience?

Publishers must work to unify their view of the customer regardless of the channel their customers are on. While content may be free, it should still require a registration of some sort to connect and track the user across channels. Engagement is omni-channel, so publishers that do this early and can effectively communicate to the customer wherever they are, will have the highest CPM for advertisers to reach those customers.

Advertising has never been about reaching someone once, it’s always been about multi-touch, multi-engagement strategies to drive a prospect into a relationship. Consumers are bouncing from channel to channel while staying engaged with brands and publishers – from text to podcasts to video. If you don’t have a unified view of the customer, you’re not going to be able to effectively communicate with them.

Marketing continues to be the right message at the right time to the right people. Video advertising requires all of those – when should an ad be seen? What ad should be seen? Who should see the ad? The mountain of big data necessary to provide the intelligence for these decisions has never been real-time until now. By accommodating all data in real-time, AI should be able to thwart issues that are unforeseen by humans. That’s an incredible advancement, reduces ad friction, and increases engagement.

Douglas Karr Bio:

Douglas Karr is the founder of The MarTech Blog and recognized MarTech expert. Doug is a Keynote and Marketing Public Speaker. He’s the CEO of DK New Media, an agency specializing in assisting marketing technology companies with their inbound marketing – leveraging social media, blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click and public relations. He’s developed digital marketing and product strategies for Angie’s List, GoDaddy, Salesforce, Webtrends, and SmartFOCUS. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies and co-author of The Better Business Book.