Future Proofing For a World of Autonomous Marketing Platforms
The next generation of digital audience platforms – delivering really compelling experiences to people and inventing new ways for brands to get involved – is both exciting and frightening. At first glance it seems that a lot of these platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, KIK, and Snapchat are social in nature. However the emergence of autonomous marketing platforms and their challenges and opportunities has nothing particularly to do with “social.” In fact, these platforms represent the next wave of innovation in advertiser capabilities solving fundamental challenges with display or any commodity form of media like identity, attribution, viewability, and fraud. These platforms bring a lot to the table like global scale, leveraged registered user data, are highly mobile, push tons of video, and span across the spectrum of branding and direct response. At the same time the sheer number of new platforms that are emerging in a non-conformist, autonomous fashion must beg the question of how demand is supposed to respond and create scalable solutions to solve for this new and evolving landscape.
As we saw in the world of standardized and commodity “traditional” digital media, the need for abstractions was instrumental to allow for demand to scale and create efficiencies for buyers. This was largely resolved by creating conformity at the publisher level. By unifying the rules for ad formats, dimensions, and pricing, it created for a much simpler way to aggregate supply and enabled higher level systems like the display exchanges and DSPs that we have today. In a similar fashion we need systems and infrastructure that will allow demand to scale across this new world of walled garden, autonomous platforms. These platforms provide the richest, unique experiences but as a consequence require buyers to approach their supply in a customized, almost individualistic way. This world is largely built around specific APIs that represent the language and behavior of each of the platforms available. Abstractions are possible in this world but needs to be seen through an entirely different lens.
For marketers, a reality without this kind of abstraction is frightening. The number of point solutions and custom partnerships will sky rocket and require the demand-side and the agency community alike to develop and maintain these one-off integrations and shift the focus from delivering value to advertisers to simply “keeping up”. Demand will require systems and technologies that can abstract this world and provide efficiencies to scale media buying efforts seamlessly, not only for the platforms of today, but more importantly for the next big thing.
What is required for this seamless abstraction? We must have the ability to provide access and capabilities from each one of these autonomous platforms quickly and with the nimbleness to develop agnostic solutions to new supply as they become available.
Even though this has nothing to do with “social”, in many cases you can argue that social really put forward and made popular this idea of API based walled-garden supply. This has to do with a new philosophy that it is not always in supply-side interest to commoditize inventory and this will continue to happen in both social and nonsocial environments, such as mobile messaging and video. Each of these platforms will allow for solving marketing objectives across the board, from performance to brand and mobile to video. As we see the next generation of autonomous marketing platforms emerge, we must have solutions and technologies to provide simple but effective ways for advertisers to take advantage of them, without missing a beat.