By Brad Graham, director, buyer services APAC, Index Exchange
Real-time, data-driven decision-making is the core dynamic required to execute deliberate digital media buying. This practice is enabled by advancements in programmatic technology and shapes how brands connect with target audiences in an environment impacted by changing consumption patterns, and technological disruptions.
As the digital media landscape continues to evolve, so do programmatic media buying practices. AI-powered optimisations, the increased reliance on contextual targeting, curated supply, data execution, and an ever-evolving CTV marketplace are all trends that are changing the future of digital advertising.
2024 will bring three pivotal trends that are redefining the rules of engagement in Australia’s digital advertising arena.
1. Curating supply and data execution: Unleashing new marketplace dynamics
Agencies are at the centre of a paradigm shift in media buying, embracing the power of curation coupled with data execution. Agencies have an abundance of internal talent and hold decade-long relationships with brands and marketers. This dynamic allows agencies to leverage their expertise and relationships better than ever before, representing a redistribution of value in the ecosystem and an enhanced offering to present to clients.
Agencies have become the drivers of media supply, strategically curating the sources from which they acquire content, ad slots, and placements. Hence, agencies not only ensure a high standard of quality but also create a more efficient and streamlined media-buying ecosystem.
This heralds the rise of a dynamic marketplace, where agencies play a pivotal role in driving value, ensuring transparency, and optimising every step of the media buying process. Because of a more intentional buying path, agencies, media owners, and marketers are empowered to forge mutually beneficial relationships that foster more innovation and growth in a new reimagined marketplace.
Brooke Aniseko, head of digital and Data ANZ, PMX Publicis Groupe, said: “Having a curated approach to data and supply isn’t just a strategy; it’s about tapping into consumer behaviour, understanding their needs, and crafting digital experiences that resonate. In this era of data-driven precision, we’re ensuring that marketers can create meaningful connections with the end consumer.”
2. Sustainability and efficiency: navigating towards net-zero media
In a world increasingly attuned to environmental concerns, sustainability has emerged as a fundamental driver of change within the advertising industry. Everyone has heard the statistic that one million impressions served programmatically use the same amount of energy as washing a load of laundry.
Whatever the statistic, the result is a positive one that sees media owners actively seeking to collaborate with fewer exchanges, aligning with partners that share a commitment to reducing carbon footprints and achieving net-zero emissions.
This shift towards adopting more sustainable digital practices is a moral imperative and a strategic choice, as environmentally conscious media buyers gravitate toward platforms that reflect their values. In doing this, an increased focus is placed on vendors that don’t offer enough value or efficiency, eventually leading to further supply consolidation, which in effect bolsters a more positive and sustainable ecosystem.
Liam Garratt, general manager, Bench Media, said: “A topic that’s frequently coming up for us in agency briefs today is our approach to sustainable media buying. Clients want to know more details about what processes we have in place that allow them to transact in a way that feels familiar to both them and their customers while not leaving behind such a large carbon footprint. Understanding these options and being able to represent brands ethically this way is an absolute must for us.”
At the same time, buyers demand net-zero media solutions, the consequence of which are media buys that are impactful and reach target audiences, while leaving a minimal ecological footprint. Marketers are eager to associate their brands with sustainable practices, and agencies that can provide these solutions gain a competitive edge.
As the industry seeks ways to operate more efficiently while treading lightly on the planet, partnerships between agencies, media owners, and media buyers are emerging as catalysts for change. Collaborative efforts to optimise energy-intensive processes and reduce waste are driving the transformation toward a greener, more responsible media industry.
3. Bridging the gap: technology’s role in shaping the viewing experience
In the wake of COVID and forced lockdowns, consumers spent more time at home on the couch, dramatically transforming the landscape of media consumption. As a result, Connected TV (CTV) and Broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) offerings were the biggest winners, and today Australians consume more than 25 million hours of BVOD per week. The surge from linear TV to on-demand video consumption has created an audience that demands a digital viewing experience that’s reminiscent of traditional TV.
The problem, however, is the technological infrastructure that delivers digital advertising hasn’t moved as fast as consumers have. To bridge this gap between traditional TV and digital media, technological developments need to be embraced for marketers to meet consumers on the digital screen while replicating the consumer experience offered by linear TV. The proliferation of screens and how Australians consume content currently makes it difficult for marketers to present consumers with the right message, on the right screen, in the right context.
Luckily, programmatic technology is making the progress necessary to address this via increased content signal transparency. This refers to the level of detail passed to buyers in the bid stream and provides the ability to make more informed decisions when responding to impression requests. It also signifies the visibility and understanding of factors such as consumer behaviour, contextual relevance, ad placements, and data sources.
The increased transparency in signal quality and data analytics is revolutionising the advertising landscape. The buying experience is moving closer to the familiarity of linear TV, where marketers can access granular insights into viewer behaviour and content performance.
This data-driven approach not only enhances accountability but also empowers traders to optimise their ad placements.
Looking towards the future
The advertising industry has been, and always will be in a state of constant flux, but these three particular trends are reshaping its dynamics in significant ways. Agencies are evolving the value they bring through curated supply and data-driven execution. Sustainability is becoming a cornerstone of media buying strategies, and technology is finally starting to combine digital and linear TV experiences.
As stakeholders adapt to these trends, the industry is poised for a more innovative and sustainable digital ecosystem that provides a seamless viewing experience—no matter the medium.
Top image: Brad Graham, Brooke Aniseko and Liam Garratt
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