COLOGNE – Every once in a while, someone raises a caveat about being hyper sensitive about digital ad environments. In this case it’s Hearts & Science CEO Frances Ralston-Good, who says that while ad inventory should be clear the industry should be mindful of curtailing the benefits of programmatic.
To be sure, the U.K.-based executive is “a big fan of supporting a strong media ecosystem,” Ralston-Good explains in this interview with Beet.TV. But as a planner, she sees a constant tension between context and audience that could shoestring audience targeting.
On the subject of transparency in general, Ralston-Good notes that it’s “one of the tenets” of Hearts & Science rooted in the efforts of agency CEO Scott Hagedorn. Before running H&S, Hagedorn founded Annalect, which became the data technology platform supporting all Omnicom agencies worldwide.
“He created an approach which was transparent from the get-go,” Ralston-Good says during a break at the DMEXCO advertising and media trade conference.
Transparency extends to the code H&S builds for its models, which they can view in Bitbucket. “They can also see into the complete media supply chain as well and with the right to audit. When we talk about transparency it’s very holistic,” she says.
As in the U.S., her clients have become more educated in their desire to know more about where their ads appear, leading to a lot more private marketplace programmatic deals. Here’s where the caveat arises.
“As a planner, it starts to challenge some of the things that are great about programmatic, like defining audiences behaviorally and then activating those audiences wherever they appear,” says Ralston-Good.
So while having clear inventory “is table stakes,” there’s a constant tension between context and audience “which could be derailed by the whole debate about what’s happening in terms of inventory.”
Another tenet of H&S from its launch in 2015 was a focus on personalization and one-to-one messaging. What has evolved is a penchant for agility and dismantling rigid customs and procedures.
“That’s having some super interesting impact with our own staff in terms of how we train them and upskill them and get them thinking about agile ways of solving problems, rather than rigid approaches,” she says. “And the same with clients.”
This video is part a series that examines programmatic from both the seller and the buyer perspective. It is presented by PubMatic. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.