What does the Rise of Ad Tech mean for Publishers and Agencies? Q&A with CMO of Epom


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According to the IAB, more than two-thirds of marketers and agencies are expected to increase their digital ad spend, which has prompted many ad tech companies like G&R and Epom to seek new ways to stand out in a crowded media landscape. We spoke to Serge Sokolov, the CMO of Epom, to learn more.

Serge Sokolov, CMO of Epom

As the usage of private data becomes more of a pressing issue, what can be done to reassure users that their data is being used responsibly in the face of increasingly specialized, personalized ads?
Consumers often underestimate how thoroughly regulated the digital industry is. The IAB, the NAI, and other regulatory organizations have a clearly defined their vision of how companies should work with consumer-related data, how it should be protected, and what purposes this data may be used for. This means, users can always know what to expect from member companies.

Furthermore, how is the legal system adjusting and redefining itself to legislate, as services and platforms evolve so rapidly?
On the one hand, legislators acknowledge that end-users can benefit from targeting, big data, and other innovative digital solutions. On the other, they need to prevent the misuse of these technologies. Obviously, this goes beyond self-regulation. Laws such as the EU legislation on cookies and rigorous requirements for Privacy Policy documents are already in place to protect users. As online marketing evolves, so does legislation; even if it’s slightly behind.

What does it take to stand out in this crowded marketplace?
The over-saturated online advertising market makes it difficult to stand out by means of technological innovation. Start-ups that enter the market with new functionality will often get bought-out or integrated with a larger company.The solution is to provide customers and clients with stability and thoughtful support. A personal approach to every client and consistent reassurance of stability is what keeps existing customers and brings in new ones.

How much consolidation of the ad tech market can we expect?
The trend of mergers and acquisitions is likely to continue. When a start-up enters the market with new ad tech functionality it is very likely that they will see many merger offers soon after their launch. For many prominent online advertising firms and businesses the path of acquisition is likely to be a sounder economic decision compared to in-house development.

Are brands, agencies and publishers making the most of ad tech? What factors are holding them back?
There is a lot of conservatism in the online advertising business, both on the side of the networks and on the side of individual publishers and advertisers. The paramount importance of mobile advertising is no longer an issue of debate, however people still debate whether this tactic is right for them, whether they should pursue mobile advertising. The same applies to programmatic buying, the active use of data management platforms, and other existing and emerging ad tech trends. Those who are quick to embrace innovation are, as a rule, usually the ones who get ahead.

How can advertisers connect with consumers across multiple platforms?
First and foremost, understanding the consumer is important. To do this, advertisers need to encourage their potential clients to identify themselves upon their first visit with an email address or social network account. This will allow them to reach this potential customer across multiple devices at a later time. Advertisers need to understand that users are likely to work on desktops and use tablets and mobile devices when on the road or relaxing at home. This knowledge needs to be considered and used when planning an advertising campaign. For example, advertising a new business solution when the user is likely spending time with family or watching TV is a waste.

As online advertising becomes increasingly targeted, what can the industry do to reassure users of their online safety and security?
The key to ensuring and reassuring the safety and security of internet users is largely a question of preventing ad fraud and malvertising. The average internet user is likely to benefit from targeted and re-targeted advertising and would only question the safety of their online browsing when encountering disturbing and malicious banners. Those users who feel that their privacy is infringed upon by re-targeting usually take preventive measures themselves. However, if an advertiser is worried their re-targeting campaign might scare users off, a well written Privacy Policy and thoughtful, comprehensive user support is likely to put users at ease and dissipate their worry.

Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed is a brand journalist. He is a post-graduate of "Squared", Google's highest qualification for marketing strategy. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Market Leader, Consulting Magazine, Global CMO and Brand Quarterly. He is interested in the dynamics of advertising including industry topics such as how media is being transformed by technology. He can only be reached at [email protected] and responds within 24 hours.


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