Publishers diverge on programmatic

20 August 2014
LONDON: UK publishers are taking widely differing approaches to programmatic advertising, as evidenced by the pronouncements from two different sources this week.

At the Daily Telegraph, senior executives felt the need to write to advertisers reassuring them of the newspaper's commitment to full transparency in this regard. While at magazine publisher Dennis Publishing, the company's head of digital sales warned of the risk that programmatic trading would lead to standard ad formats becoming "too commoditised".

The Drum revealed the contents of a letter from the Telegraph publisher's sales and trading director and its client director in which they addressed the concerns surrounding online ad fraud, including the viewing of ads by bots.

The new Telegraph Customer Charter, they explained, was a guarantee to all advertisers that its trading, whether programmatic-based or direct sales would be fully transparent and accountable and would deliver real readers.

Dennis Publishing, however, remains wedded to direct display advertising, which accounts for 70% of revenue; programmatic takes just 4% and native advertising the rest.

Gary Rayneau told The Drum that Dennis currently offered the option of programmatic trading only in conjunction with direct spend.

"I think it will become the default way of buying impressions if the focus is direct response … and I completely understand the legitimacy of programmatic from that perspective," he explained. For brand-led advertising, however, he felt that direct buying would continue to have a role.

But he added that if it came to the point where display advertising became too commoditised, "we'll get to the stage where we won't run standard formats and we will just run partnerships and native placements".

He pointed to the example of Buzzfeed, "the brand that everyone's talking about right now", which does not run display advertising.

"There are definitely plenty of other ways to make money in this market, you don't have to just run straightforward advertising, you don't have to be fully programmatic," he concluded.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff
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