Irrelevant ads a thing of the past in the programmatic future

SINGAPORE – September 25, 2013 – As brands learn to leverage digital data, consumers can look forward to bidding irrelevant ads goodbye.

According to Cheuk Chiang, CEO, Asia Pacific of Omnicom Media Group, the prediction is that 60 percent of media buying will be programmatic by 2016.
The old days of buying media are gone, Chiang said, noting that there is great opportunity when it comes to leveraging digital data in order to understand the target consumers.
From a consumer’s online behavior, brands can identify the best time to serve up ads, in real time. For instance, if a brand sees that someone is looking for a car, they can select that person to see a particular ad. "In a nanosecond we can tell who that person is, what they’re interested in, and serve ads up at that time," Chiang said, emphasizing that relevance is a huge aspect that impacts the way media is bought.
"In the old days, we would place an ad and hope that a consumer would see it," he said. For instance, ads that are aired during a football show would be targeted toward a 40-year-old man. However, there could also be a 13-year-old girl in the room – a wasted opportunity.
There will come a time, Chiang said, that facial recognition technology will pave the way for brands to identify who is in the living room watching a particular show at a certain time. "That’s where things are heading, and that has a huge impact on where our business needs to be heading," he said.
According to Chiang, the true power of this kind of media buying is it allows brands to retarget consumers by tracking their behavior, something that was not possible in the old days.
"In the old days, if you placed an ad in a magazine and someone flipped past that magazine, you’d lose them forever," he said. Through retargeting, brands can follow a consumer online and serve up ads that the consumer missed before.
Another opportunity for agencies such as OMG is partnering with creative agencies in order to be able to leverage the content aspect. With information such as a consumer’s online behavior and location, brands can now serve up ads that are relevant both in terms of timing and content.
Chiang compared ads five to 10 years ago, where a copywriter and art director would spend a huge amount of time crafting an ad tailored towards a general target audience, to ads today, which can be marketed to very specific audiences.
"We were marketing to the thousand. Today, it’s one-to-one marketing. So we’ll be able to serve an ad up, tailor it towards you, even mention your name in it and that’s the true power," he said.
This shift, according to Chiang, will turn advertising around. No longer will people hate advertising, which occurred because ads were irrelevant. "We couldn’t be at a better time to be in the business today," he said. 
On the other hand, there are privacy issues that need to be considered, and Chiang said the group does not currently gather personal information. "Opt in and privacy is very important to us. Currently when we do programmatic buying, we don’t gather personal information like who you are, how old you are, or your telephone number. It’s only behavior," he said.
The challenge, then, is for media and creatives to collaborate in order to create more relevance. "With relevance, we stand to create stronger influence. That’s what advertising is about," he said. 

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