I recently had the pleasure of moderating a client dinner for The Exchange Lab in Montreal. It was a very interesting evening comprised of mostly retail / fashion / beauty clients. As the moderator, my task was to keep the discussion flowing along programmatic issues and ensure my client (The Exchange Lab) didn’t slip into sales pitch mode.
In short, my task was simple because my clients (there were four present) were most gracious, informative and objective. It was even simpler because after an opening question or two, the discussion did not let up for a good 3 and a half hours!
What issues concern retail advertisers?
The one issue that kept coming back from all advertisers present for the discussion was around transparency.
They’ve experienced, or have heard of a lack of transparency from their agency, from media vendors and from technology vendors alike. Some had experienced arbitrage from both their agency and a media vendor which left them unsure whether to try programmatic again without being ‘had’. They want to get proper ROI for their brand. Brands are cognisant that vendors and agencies need to make money too but seek a fair situation if they can find it.
What surprised me is that The Exchange Lab team simply put their cards on the table and told the group what they charge and exactly how they operate in full transparency. If you want to know their parameters – ask them, it’s not my place to repeat.
Another issue that came up over and over was the need to optimize to something much more significant than clicks. The Exchange Lab responded they can connect with the agency’s or advertiser’s systems to optimise on CPA or pretty much any other metric that’s important to them so long as a few parameters are shared. This surprised some of the advertisers present who seemed more than willing to share that data just so they can optimize on a meaningful metric.
I was pretty happy to see advertisers that were very experienced and others that were not experienced with digital advertising at all and all of them wanted something other than clicks.
I was surprised though that after having mentioned viewability and ad fraud at the start of the evening, those two topics did not come up again.