Dialogue with Benjamin Tsang: A cool-headed reflection amid the boom of programmatic buying

Source: MadisonBoom.com

The Rio Olympic Games are in full swing. Meanwhile, halfway across the globe, the brand owners and their agents are also engaging in a game of “higher, faster, stronger” in the advertising arena, as they compete fiercely for advertisement from web portals, online videos, social network to mobile apps. Throughout these battles, programmatic buying has emerged as the best tool to help marketers forge their way out of the red ocean of marketing and reach the customers with precision.  According to the data of eMarketer, the cost of online display advertisement through programmatic buying in China is set to reach 9.29 billion US dollars in 2016, ranking the second in all advertising spending. And of all programmatically purchased content, video has emerged as the fastest growing area.

To gain a better understanding of video, the very special area in programmatic buying, MadisonBoom has invited Benjamin Tsang, Executive Vice President of hdtMEDIA to share his cool-headed reflection against the backdrop of a programmatic buying fever, as well as his insights on the value of hdtOTV, the programmatic buying platform of video ads at hdtMEDIA.


Benjamin Tsang——Executive Vice President of hdtMEDIA

OTV has entered the programmatic era

Exclusive shows, homemade shows, network variety and reality shows are all over the screen now. When consumers are turning to these online videos, so should the advertisers. However, with the rising advertising cost that comes with copyright, one can no longer rely on the traditional OTV model alone to meet different needs at the current stage. This has spurred an increasing number of video media to reach out to and cooperate with programmatic buying platforms to attract more quality video resources to the programmatic area.

As a veteran with 16 years of internet digital marketing experience under its belt, hdtMEDIA has no reason to let the chance of video marketing slip away. Building on its R&D strength and resources, hdtMEDIA launched hdtOTV, the programmatic video advertising platform, to help brand owners deliver ads on video media platform in a smart, scientific way by means of programmatic buying.

Looking into the past and present of OTV, Benjamin Tsang thinks it reflects a developing process. He believes that OTV used to be about buying pre-roll video ads as a complimentary to TV ads, mostly to keep up with consumer’s changing viewing habit and preferences. Currently in the programmatic era, it is about upgrading OTV programmatically to reach, with precision, more targeted audience while maintaining a strong advertising impression of the brand as well as controlling advertising cost. “Programmatic buying is the core of our media placement,” says Tsang.

Tsang also points out that hdtOTV currently offers diversified programmatic buying options, such as integrating PPB and RTB to help facilitate an effective coverage of targeted audience. Programmatic Direct Buying (PDB) is also available to help reach premium high-end traffic resources to meet advertiser’s demand for both traffic and quality.

So what exactly can hdtOTV bring to the advertisers and what problems can it solve? Tsang gives a succinct summary. First, cross-media frequency control: managed and analyzed by hdtDMP, the data management platform of hdtMEDIA, advertising delivery can be optimized to reduce cost per unique visitors (CPUV). Secondly, multiple precision advertising technologies are available to help improve the arrival rate of targeted audience. These two advantages are viewed with the perspective of advertising effect and cost. In addition, hdtMEDIA can provide different combinations of creative materials based on prior analysis to help attract consumers of value through dynamic and creative advertising display.

“In the future, OTV will have more technological breakthrough. At this moment, video resource is not synonymous with a TV show, but a combination of various kinds of social network content. Currently,a considerable amount of PGC and UGC spreads via social networks in the form of video. The problem is how it can be integrated into our ad delivery platform, and that’s precisely what we want to crack by constantly improving our algorithms.”

Data seems to be the king, yet data management remains the core

Currently hdtOTV has access to resources of premium main-stream media websites (RTB even provides full access to video resources in video media and Ad Exchange platform). hdtOTV has access to traffic in Tencent, iQIYI, Youku.com&Tudou.com, mgtv.com, as well as traffic resources from Ad Exchange platform including content providers like X Trader, ValueMaker, mediamax, ACELINK, Tanx and BesTV. In addition, hdtMEDIA also offers traffic payback at different proportions from various parties under different transaction modes, including PDB. hdtOTV also provides private marketplace advertising service such as PPB to meet the need of big-scale brand advertising.

Data seems to be the king in the context of programmatic buying, but Tsang believes that the management of data still lies at the core. hdtMEDIA has accumulated years of data and has integrated cross-media audience data into its system for data gathering,  cleansing, management and reprocessing, using the data management platform (DMP). In this way hdtMEDIA can help advertisers increase the effective coverage of targeted audience and reduce cost per unique visitor (CPUV). Tsang adds that “the most important focus is on the DMP and data, as data management remains the core. Only by managing effective, high-quality data can we help brand advertisers with precision targeting. ”Besides, as more and more advertisers, big advertisers in particular, attach importance to data, hdtMEDIA also help advertisers build their own data platform, taking into account the uniqueness of their industry.

Mobile video programmatic buying poses more challenges

With the rapid development of smart mobile devices and the ever-maturing 4G and 5G environment, phubbers–those glued to their screens–are now watching from their cellphones on the road instead of staring at iPads at home. This has led to a dramatic migration of data traffic from video sites to mobile devices and brought the programmatic buying in mobile video ads to the fore.

Tsang says, “We have now observed from the data that an increasing number of people are watching videos from their cellphones and have even outnumbered viewers of PC content. The reason is that mobile phones are better able to access video content. ”So how will programmatic buying of mobile video ads take place? Tsang believes that two ways of cooperation are available for mobile ads. One is advertisement display through programmatic buying, the other is a more in-depth cooperation that goes beyond simply a piece of pre-roll video ad to factor in targeted consumers and the application scenarios. The latter requires analysis of the situation in question and is thus more complicated. This is a major challenge for the entire industry.

Tsang explains that different targeted audience requires different approaches, and mobile video poses more challenges in terms of integration. The goal is to integrate social network and mobile payment on handsets in an effort to boost consumer engagement and interaction, thus enabling marketer to close the loop back to transaction.

Regulation has brought new opportunities

China’s online network is said to have grown into a hundred-billion yuan market. As more and more advertisers turn to programmatic buying, regulations and ad blockers also follow, bringing new challenges for the industry.

A government regulation was introduced in July this year–the first of its kind in terms of online advertising regulation–which offered a definition of programmatic buying and marked the end of “the wild times”. Tsang holds an optimistic view towards such regulation as he comments that “it will benefit the industry as programmatic buying needs to be regulated, particularly in terms of brand safety and data authenticity.” Meanwhile, he adds that hdtMEDIA has always put emphasis on and complied with laws and regulations at home and abroad.

Faced with the prospect of all programmatic ads be tagged “advertisement” in the future, Tsang believes that means advertising content and creativity will be held to even higher standards. “It’s not that no one will watch the video once it bears an advertising tag, but whether the content can draw the audience. So the focus is on how to make it. ”Tsang smiled as he made such comment. As the trailblazer of rich media in China, hdtMEDIA has always been adept at bringing creativity to its digital marketing as it believes that content can help technology take wing.

“Creativity is what sets hdtMEDIA apart from our competitors.” says Tsang. For the past 16 years, hdtMEDIA has been expanding its presence in PC, handsets and Pads using its rich media advertising technology. Propelled by new technologies that brought H5, live streaming and VR to life, hdtMEDIA is now advancing marketing through a combination of strategy, creativity and technology to bring forth a marriage of content creation and resource platform. Letting creativity run parallel to resource and technology has made hdtMEDIA stand out in the industry.

Integration is the key in the future

As for the OTT market that all companies are now scrambling over, Tsang reveals that hdtMEDIA is making a full-fledged push and is willing to conduct integration according to specific needs of different customers. “For hdtMEDIA,” he says, “what matters most is the data management platform (DMP) behind programmatic buying, and value is created with a combination of data, technology and creativity.”

As for the future of video ad programmatic buying, Tsang believes that the future programmatic buying platform will integrate multiple resource platforms ranging from smart terminals, TV, PC to mobile devices to provide multiple-screen, cross-platform marketing service for brand customers.

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