Programmatic often over promises, but patience is the key to success, say BBC advertising boss

Brands need patience to get the most from a programmatic advertising industry that often over promises and seems to be in perpetual testing mode, BBC Global News’ head of programmatic trading, Dave Goddard, has said.

Speaking ahead of his appearance at Mumbrella360 next week, Goddard described the past year as being one of the most challenging for the programmatic industry following concerns about fraud and brand safety which saw major advertisers either cut or suspend spending altogether.

David Goddard_Mumbrella 2018

Goddard sees programmatic as “a more intelligent way of executing digital”

“There’s a saying that’s been around since programmatic was in its infancy – technology has overpromised and undelivered. The whole industry is in beta, it feels like sometimes,” said Goddard, who also sits on the IAB Europe Programmatic Trading Committee.

For the BBC, programmatic has presented a number of opportunities, Goddard said: “We’ve been involved with programmatic for five years now at the BBC, it’s been a really exciting journey. It’s driven significant growth year over year and its been an interesting learning curve.

“We have a stronger programmatic direct business than most of the industry, I think that lends itself to the premium nature of the BBC’s audience and environment. We’re able to encourage people to invest in programmatic guaranteed but we still have a healthy real-time bidding model.”

He conceded though, that it takes a lot of work to get it right.

“We have robust supply chain management, we make sure every partner we bring on board we do the required checks and balances. It can be a long process but we want to make sure we can get it right.”

While the BBC has been successful with its inhouse platforms as a publisher, Goddard sees brands taking their adspend in-house as facing a number of challenges: “There is a lot of media about taking programmatic in-house. What we say is if it’s right for the client then it’s worth giving it a go. I think it’s important for advertisers and publishers to take control, of the technology, of the brand safety and the tracking so you know what you’re buying.

“For the pure execution element it makes sense for larger clients to have it in-house. However, some are handing it back. There are some clients who, having taken it in-house have handed it back to their agency as there’s such a small pool of talent out there and it’s not cost effective or they may not be in a main media hub or they don’t have the setup to deal with that. It can be a world of pain.”

Despite the challenges, Goddard believes the shift to programmatic ad spend is benefiting the industry:  “We’re constantly innovating and we’re looking at automating as much as we possibly can, not for just driving the cost down – that’s not the reason clients are investing – it’s to make processes more efficient and extend the media spend.

“We’re seeing more spend coming into programmatic, programmatic isn’t just about targeting a segment of one or precision marketing, it’s a more intelligent way of executing digital and we’re seeing greater investment in programmatic as people are investing in digital.

“There’s are lot of things out there about concerns but they’re trying to do some fantastic things to create a fantastic environment for advertisers.”

For the BBC, patience has been the key to success with programmatic, Goddard believes: “What we got right was patience. It’s a very fast moving industry, there’s a lot of pressures on publishers to say take this onboard and make these changes, you have to try to make the right decisionfor yourself. We missed some short term gains but picked up the long-term gains.”

Goddard will be presenting the ‘How Does a Publisher Adapt to an Industry That Has Been Redefined By Programmatic?’ session at Mumbrella 360. Final tickets are available here. 


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