Webrepublic Event: Programmatic Shift

19 Aug 2016 / by Simon Wüthrich / Webrepublic / Comments

More than two-thirds of display ads are booked programmatically in the US and the UK, and Germany and Switzerland are picking up on this trend. Webrepublic invited one of Switzerland’s most trusted brands, SBB, and the leading publisher, Tamedia, to provide their perspective on programmatic advertising. Spoiler alert: Programmatic is fundamentally changing the way the industry is buying and selling ad inventory.



Although Switzerland has been lagging behind the US and the UK when it comes to programmatic advertising, the subject now apparently has caught the advertising industry’s attention – our event was sold out in just under two weeks. Publishers, brands and agencies alike are upping their game and pushing forward, shifting more media spend towards programmatic advertising as they recognise the potential benefits. Sylvia Epaillard of Tamedia pointed out that the programmatic share in digital advertising at Tamedia has been and will be rising significantly. The numbers she projected suggest that Switzerland might see a programmatic share comparable to the one in the UK by 2018.

The publisher’s perspective

So what’s in it for the publishers? Clearly, their productivity will increase, as the selling of ad inventory takes place automated. What’s more important, publishers can offer highly targeted inventory, that will translate into happier advertisers – they reach an audience with proven affinity – and more satisfied users – they see advertisements that are relevant to them. As selling inventory happens in real-time, publishers can utilise their inventory more efficiently.

To leverage this innovation, publishers have to rethink their advertising business. While some things stay the way the have been – strong media brands are and always will be essential – other things change. If publishers want to stay ahead of the game, they need to build up strong data skills to leverage the thus far all too often unutilized user data for their advertising clients.

The advertiser’s perspective

How can you get more than 30’000 customers to fill out a customer satisfaction survey in just two weeks? Sarah Stiefel showed how SBB made use of programmatic advertising to promote SBB’s new brand campaign and initiate an open and honest discussion with their most valuable clients, people who know SBB and would like to share their feedback on the aspects they dislike about the service offering. Thanks to the solid programmatic campaign setup, SBB reached more clients than expected and will be able to use the campaign data to improve upcoming campaign targetings. Find a detailed description of the case here.

The agency’s perspective

So what does all of this mean for digital agencies? Our very own Joël Meier identifies three key subjects, agencies need to focus on to excel at programmatic: Tracking and data, media buying, and creatives.

Just like publishers have to invest in data teams, so do the agencies. The data they can collect – given proper tracking has been set up – allows them to optimise ongoing campaigns in real time across multiple channels and platforms to increase efficiency; when a campaign is over they can consolidate all data for a more transparent reporting. With regards to media buying, things get much more interesting with programmatic. Data from publishers, advertisers, and third parties allow for highly accurate user targeting, or in Joëls words «Cherry Picking Impressions». This approach, of course, means that agencies need to have a solid understanding of the data they are working with and come up with creative ideas to combine these data sets to outsmart the competition’s targeting.

Last but not least, programmatic offers a whole new way of cross-channel storytelling and dynamic digital assets. This advantage is great news for creative agencies who like to develop assets that dynamically adapt to the target audiences’ context – think of a banner that changes dynamically based on the weather at the user’s location.

The future of digital advertising

Clearly, advertisers, publishers, and agencies who are betting on programmatic are not just adapting to a new technology, but rather pushing forward towards a world where users see digital ads as useful or entertaining because they are served to them with the right message at the right time in the right context. Want to push your digital advertising to the next level?

Check out our infographic or get in touch with us.