Prog.IO Digital: P&G’s Media Strategy, NYT Reconciles Subscriptions With Ads – And How To Build A CDP

Day Four of AdExchanger’s Programmatic.IO Digital conference brought the goods with perspectives from up and down the supply chain.

There was insight into P&G’s media spending strategy, a deep dive on how The New York Times reconciles ad sales with the buildout of a team, a knowledge drop on how identity infrastructure works – and way more.

P&G’s strategy to disrupt brand building

Eric Austin, P&G’s senior director of global brand building and media innovation, kicked off the day by outlining the CPG giant’s media prerogatives.

With the goal of driving productivity as the backdrop, P&G continues to invest in running its own media campaigns, rather than using a media agency.

“That leads to better value and faster decision making [and] all around better results and productivity,” Austin told AdExchanger Executive Editor Zach Rodgers.

The CPG is also trying to only spend in closed-loop environments, which leads to better value from its programmatic campaigns and the ability to optimize based on sales conversions.

P&G is also interested in growing its CTV and OTT footprint, Austin said: “We look at this as high-quality inventory, because it has high attention metrics.” Right now, P&G considers CTV and OTT as primarily a reach extension vehicle for its TV buys.

Speaking of TV buying, P&G made a splash recently when it pulled out of the TV upfronts. Austin says that decision was about helping create more value from its media, and trying to get more flexibility so as not to have to contend with the bulky buys that are so characteristic of upfront deals.

“And we want a more balanced exchange of information,” Austin said. “We didn’t feel the current upfronts provided that.”

Finally, another big initiative for P&G is increasing spend across multicultural agencies and suppliers.

Bringing publisher data sets together

Pieter Mees, VP of video and publisher product at DoubleVerify – currently in the news for its plan to IPO at a $5 billion valuation – laid out techniques to bring publisher data sets together in the name of transparency.

There are three main tools that advertisers have traditionally used in order to get that done: business intelligence solutions, which are powerful but lack the domain knowledge to interpret the data; media-specific tools that have lots of domain knowledge but aren’t particularly flexible; and in-house solutions, which are customizable but might not be particularly powerful.

Mees shared tips on how advertisers should strategize to get the combined benefits of these disparate tool sets.

Subscriptions and advertising unite!

It’s no secret that The New York Time has been remarkably successful in accruing subscribers, but what does that transition mean for its advertising business?

Once at odds, the Times has since brought those two agendas into sync. Jay Glogovsky, director of revenue analytics and operations at The Times, and Chiara Ravalli, its managing director of marketing and media strategy, described how the consumer marketing team and the advertising team have come together in partnership – after some initial and natural headbutting, of course.

But it eventually became clear that they share a common enterprise goal, which is a desire to first and foremost support a great reader experience and to drive subscriptions with advertising supporting the Times newsroom.

“It has to be a deliberate change in both mindsets and how you work together,” Glogovsky said.

“If you’re a publisher that has a subscription business already established, or [you’re] considering a subscription business, I’d start the partnership from the beginning rather than learning from mistakes down the road.”

The foundations of identity

Dennis Ellis, VP of identity at LiveRamp, tackled the topic of the many challenges that exist in creating a comprehensive identity infrastructure – and how to overcome them.

Identity infrastructure, as Ellis described it, is a set of services that revolve around different consumer data sets enhanced with additional ID graphs or data partnerships. This is what enables identity to work across the advertising ecosystem.

But … of course, there’s a but: identities are fragmented, there’s significant latency in receiving and activating data and fears about data security abound as does consumer wariness around privacy.

Which is why you shouldn’t expect a single turnkey solution that can solve everything, Ellis warned.

“There’s no one solution or platform that will solve every marketing use case for everyone,” he said. “It’s about how do these different solutions interoperate.”

Pandemic pricing

Standard Media Index President Ben Tatta broke out ad spend and pricing across the TV ecosystem. Historically, he said, spend and pricing stats have been dumped into one big, crude video bucket.

But he noted high variance of performance across different types of video inventory. For instance, ROI of premium video was 0.057% and ROI of national TV was 0.032% – both significantly higher compared to channels, such ad nets and search. Meanwhile, non-premium video brought up the rear, with an ROI of 0.059%.

Tatta also looked at some winners and losers in the media world. Not surprisingly, most companies lost out during the pandemic – but not Amazon, of course, where media spend grew 8%, and not The Trade Desk, which grew 55%.

“I was blown away by the Trade Desk,” Tatta said. “If there’s any validation for programmatic, that is it.”

Though he also noted that compared to other media sellers, such as Facebook and Google, The Trade Desk represents a much smaller share of spend.

Jiving with Jivox

Jivox CEO and founder Diaz Nesamoney dug into the changing face of dynamic content optimization. The company is currently riding a wave of enthusiasm, following its leadership position in Forrester’s recent creative ad tech wave.

During the presentation, Nesamoney described how the rise of ecommerce during the pandemic has been driving massive interest in DCO.

From DMP to CDP for SCMP

The day ended with Ian Hocking, VP of digital at the South China Morning Post (SCMP), talking about how the publisher has moved from a DMP to a CDP.

A few years ago, the SCMP used third-party data in a DMP to segment audiences. But that strategy, Hocking felt, diminished the SCMP’s relationship with its users. Plus, once data is made available through a third-party source, it’s freely available to buyers that don’t have to pay a commission to activate it. “The efficiencies sit on their side,” Hocking said.

Today, the company only uses first-party data to build profiles.

“Remember,” Hocking said, “the value of a matched audience should lie in the publisher.”

Hocking described how the SCMP has shifted its strategy – and where it still needs to go. It began by first gathering insight into its own audience, followed by activating that insight against display and branded content. Its next steps, set for the end of this year, involve building the ability to optimize display campaigns and track performance.

By spring 2021, SCMP hopes to activate full self-service and provide audience matching capabilities.