PROGRAMMATIC MEDIA received during the last years some hard blows, such as Fraud, Ad blocking and confusion around good praxis in general. What I observe lately however is some light in the tunnel and that Data driven marketing is beginning to observe an important turning point. I invite everyone to participate and this is how I see things.


The “aggressive traders” licensing external platforms with objetives to buy low CPM with a terrible outcome in view ability, NON human traffic and fraud, combined with aggressive strategies based on simple retargeting techniques is very much questioned and I personally love the heads up from people that are critical.

My sensation is that the height of the problem came when intrusive ad formats where exposed on small screens (mobile). I personally was not too much exposed with pop up in desktop browsers for the last ten years and it’s not really a big problem. On the other hand an irrelevant mobile & full screen interstitial is a drag and many times the users are victims of “positive” Returns of Investment by accidentally tapping on mobile ads, well known as the "FAT FINGER phenomenon". These taps were sold to a very low price on a click basis. Isn’t this crazy?! (also do not forget that the utility on a mobile is different than a desktop. The adserving is more sensible)

The industry was in a coma and did not even interpret the metrics correctly and worse is that a lot of agencies sort of went along with all of this!

The result clearly is that the industry has started to raise serious doubts in terms of credibility on programmatic trading and the end users at a too large extend have decided to install adblocker´s. This is extremely unfair since the publisher’s loose revenues that highly effect how content is provided. A person believing that INTERNET and its content are free of charge is obviously completely wrong. Nothing is for free! (...and by the way the Adblockers get revenues by publishers paying to be included in white lists so its clearly not an act of bravery and good will....) 

As almost an invisible hand, the industry has reacted and now I have the sensation that things are looking more promising than ever, and I do see signs of consciousness and understanding from some key trendsetters getting back to principal values such as CONTROL & DOING THINGS RIGHT.

Aggressive retargeting happened because YOU the advertisers let traders (that do not share the same values as you), use your 1st party DATA to torture your most important asset that is client prospects and loyal users to watch the same ad over and over again without no relevance to their intents or interests.

Publishers what did you expect when you opened your remnant traffic to an adexchange at any price, placement and format? It’s obvious that aggressive traders take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t forget they are not worse than you, they just don’t share the same values and their objectives are completely different than yours.

Why was not view ability on the top of any agencies priority list? It’s really easy to detect fraud and non-human traffic, and as a matter of fact its the agencies main job to audit advertiser´s marketing spending.

We don’t really need IAB or any other organizations to “fix” this problem (although I am grateful that IAB do exist and is doing a very good job to address these issues to the market)(Collaboration with IAB). At the end it all boils down to one single thing and that is COMMON SENSE. The Advertisers and the Publishers need to take back the control, push things in an organized way and question things such as:

  • Who are the technology vendors and do they share the same values as me?
  • Where and how is the DATA stored? Is it safe? Who has access to it?
  • Are my technology partners truly neutral and media agnostic?
  • Is there capacity for my technology partners to offer services according to my need? How big is their development team? What experience do they bring to the table?
  • How can we bring knowledge in-house?

The market does not need more opportunistic traders, because what is needed are advertisers & publishers that understand the importance to work on a strategy combining DATA, programmatic buying and getting back to the roots on designing ads that are relevant for audiences at the adequate moment.

I am observing healthy signs that advertisers and publishers slowly are beginning to show interest in technologies that do not defend traffic, do not offer DATA leakage and most important that are transparent to show the true outcome of a campaign.

To manage sensitive things such as audience DATA require responsibility and full control on things. If not, we will get back to bad practice that hurts the advertisers, publishers, technology venders and most important the end users. We are all part of the problem and we are all part of the solution. 

If you as a Publisher and/or Advertiser are interested in getting new insights, then please contact me to participate in our certification program on programmatic´s, DATA and Digital Advertising. Knowledge is the most powerful way of not falling behind in today´s fast moving digital revolution.


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