We asked Pawan Setpal, Commercial Director, Middle East & Africa at Adform on how marketers need to start thinking about ad technology, the changing landscape of Programmatic and what the future might hold for us.
Firstly, what is Adform and what does it do?
Adform is a global, independent and fully integrated advertising platform built for effortless modern marketing – comprising of a demand-side platform, ad server, data-management platform, supply-side platform and dynamic creative optimisation tool. Since 2002, Adform has pursued the goal of more effective and efficient advertising across the entire digital campaign lifecycle, through the application of deeply integrated technologies. It has developed technologies to deliver augmented intelligence and to enhance collaboration between humans and machines, thereby amplifying business results for clients around the world. With our presence in Dubai we’re hoping to drive similar results for both local and global clients in the region.
How do the different aspects of your business fit together?
We recently had our biggest launch in the history of Adform – our integrated platform after three years in the making, Adform FLOW is designed to meet the continually evolving needs of advertisers and agencies and allow them to plan, buy and activate media intuitively, resulting in seamless campaign management. The configurable, transparent and secure platform combines the feature richness of a best-of-breed point-solution setup, with the scale, simplicity and efficiency of a walled garden – allowing brands to build their own modern marketing ecosystems or ‘brand gardens’.
The three core pillars of Adform FLOW go to the very heart of programmatic and are efficiency, identity and control.
Why are the three aspects of FLOW important?
Efficiency is vital in today’s economic climate, but it can be difficult to achieve when marketers deploy a myriad of martech and adtech solutions. By offering a seamless user experience, across all aspects of the campaign workflow and all digital media channels, a fully integrated programmatic advertising platform with a single dashboard enables a marketer to plan, buy, and activate media more efficiently and deliver better results.
Identity is a topic that all decision makers should currently be considering in regard to their adtech relationships. With third-party cookie depreciation in full swing, and an expected decline in mobile IDs, marketers need solutions to maintain – or ideally improve – the level of personalisation enabled by these IDs. First-party identity-ready solutions that are set up for privacy compliance and a post-cookie world provide the answer. By using an end-to-end first-party ID based programmatic solution, marketers not only benefit from personalised advertising, they can also maintain essential functionalities such as frequency capping, retargeting, profiling, optimisation, fraud detection, and attribution.
With first-party IDs considerably more persistent than third-party cookies, marketers benefit from increased transparency, superior end-to-end data, true people-based marketing and enhanced compliance with privacy regulations.
Control is something marketers have been trying to regain for many years as they seek to address the endemic operating issues in the adtech and programmatic ecosystems. They want independence through technology that is configured around them without conflict of interest, ownership where every impression counts and adds brand value, and transparency around media costs and operating fees. While there are undoubtedly some benefits to walled gardens, they sit at the opposite end of these three operating conditions that allow brands to enjoy full operating control on their own terms. An independent and fully integrated advertising platform built on SaaS technology can provide increased control and flexibility, including a modular and open API approach, coupled with the ability to control costs through license-based fees. Media-neutrality, with no media or data ownership and therefore no conflicts, also gives marketers enhanced control over their own data.
What do you forecast for the industry?
As intimated in the previous answer, I predict a move away from walled gardens towards purpose built ‘brand gardens’. These will be designed around the specific needs of the marketing team, as brands increasingly demand more control over their data and advertising operations. By creating their own modern marketing ecosystems through independent technology partnerships, brands can benefit from flexible operational capabilities, transparency around costs and access to their own first-party data. Brands will begin to realise walled gardens aren’t the only way to achieve reach, it can also be attained through the thousands of premium environments driven by quality content producers. Brand gardens empower marketers to realise the independence, ownership, and transparency strategies that drive better commercial outcomes.
In addition, I expect the coming months to see a shift in human / machine collaboration. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been part of marketing operations for many years, but a lack of both understanding and transparency means it is not currently used to full advantage.
A shift towards augmented intelligence will help to liberate and amplify AI’s potential for marketing. Defined by Gartner as “a design pattern for a human-centred partnership model of people and AI working together to enhance cognitive performance,” augmented intelligence will place humans at the heart of machine-enabled experiences, blending people and AI applications in a transparent and easily understood way that will truly drive effortless modern marketing.