Q&A: Turn’s Pierre Naggar on Video, Personalised Content and the Advantages of Choosing a Side

Pierre Naggar

Turn were first companies out of the traps in the programmatic race and, to this day, they remain one of the global leaders in ad tech. Here Pierre Naggar, Managing Director EU at Turn, explains what Turn bring to the video market, the advantages of serving just ‘one side’ of the industry, and how data is also being used to enable brands and ecommerce stores to create personalised content.

Could you give a brief overview of what Turn are currently doing in video?

Turn has been investing a lot in emerging media channels, as we know from the Turn October 2013 Global Digital Audience Report that moving to multi-channel campaigns can increase advertising ROI by an average of three times for a brand.

We’re integrating with ever more video inventory sources, focusing on premium content, as consumers are watching increasing amounts of content online. Deal ID is an important element for reaching audiences across premium sites, enabling buyers and sellers to transact around premium content and target demographics, no matter where playback occurs. We’ve also made enhancements to the Turn Campaign Suite, our media execution platform, to enable buyers to compare video engagement standards more easily.

What are the advantages of sticking to one ‘side’, in your case the buy-side? Are there any disadvantages when it comes to focusing solely on advertisers and agencies?

Turn is 100 percent aligned with serving brands and their agencies. The challenge in the industry is that we have two separate entities each trying to maximize the value for their respective customers; SSPs serve sellers, demand-side platforms (DSPs) serve buyers. Some companies try to serve both, but must deal with the conflict of interest in trying to balance the competing needs. If they make more from buyers, they may bias their auction in favour of buyers, or the reverse if they make most of their money from sellers.

The real issue is around market liquidity. Sellers want to drive up prices by creating more demand for each bid. Unfortunately, this drives up costs for buyers (advertisers), who should always pay their true value or less. Publishers should continue to be able to support the wealth of digital content that we all enjoy. However, the industry must look for new creative solutions, such as working with sites to reduce the number of ads per page, and not seek to have advertisers pay more for inventory than it’s worth.

You’ve been doing some interesting work around data and content. Could you explain what it is your doing and how you go about it?

Working directly with a brand’s content management system and Audience Suite, Turn’s data management platform, brands can identify returning customers as they arrive at the brand’s home page, and then tailor the experience and content. This dynamic website optimisation can be based on the advertising that customer has been exposed to, or around insights discovered through detailed analysis of consumer profile behaviour. The result is that the consumer experiences content tailored to their audience profile and life-time value to the brand, increasing conversion rates and improving customer loyalty for people visiting their site.

An example of this comes from one of Turn’s ecommerce advertisers, who are now using third-party data to create custom experiences based on segments designed by third parties: a “fashionista” experience personalised to high-value shoppers, and an “executive” experience personalised to business-focused shoppers. When visitors come to the etailer’s homepage, they’re seeing a site tailored to their own user attributes, based on third-party data.

Where are you seeing most growth – from agencies or from brands taking media buying in-house?

Turn is focused on growing our position as the top marketing software and analytics company for brands and agencies. We work across five continents with more than 1,500 customers, and all of the top agency holding companies.

As brands start to realise the possibilities that come with unlocking the hidden value from their data, we’re integrating into their business processes and looking at ways to help them centralise their data. By taking full advantage of the wealth of first- and third-party data available, brands gain a much deeper picture of their audiences, enabling them to act on these insights, optimise in real time, and drive revenue.

What’s the ‘next big thing’ for programmatic advertising? Is it a new channel or perhaps an area where you’re seeing particularly interesting innovation?

Both buyers and sellers are rapidly adopting marketing technology that enables programmatic buying. Buyers like the visibility and control afforded through managing all media spend through a single interface and the higher ROI it produces; publishers like the increased revenue programmatic revenue yields, by enabling far more demand for their inventory than can be sold via their direct sales team.

While DSPs offer buyers the simplicity of a single interface to target only the audience they want, in the context they want, at the price they want, they lack three additional benefits that traditional direct-sold contracts provided:

1. Access to the popular media that is fully monetised via the direct sales channel;

2. Access to publisher-provided user data that adds additional value to the context of the media on offer;

3. The guarantee publishers bundled into the contract that promised the certainty of delivering the entirety of the buyers’ budget with an offer of make-good credits in the case of under delivery.

Fortunately for buyers and sellers, the ad tech industry has been innovating ways to provide the benefits of programmatic in addition to the three benefits of popular, publisher-enriched, guaranteed inventory, through “programmatic upfront” or “programmatic direct” deals.

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