Yann Le Roux is the Co-Founder at Matiro. Here Le Roux discusses trends in The local exchange martketplace, display advertising in the French media mix and why ad trading is an essential offering.
Are French brand advertisers and marketers more aware of the exchange model and the benefits of data-driven trading? Are they now realising the benefits or are we still in the education stage?
YLR: It is definitely very early stage. The opportunity to buy audiences, to optimise towards reach and frequency (sounds like GRP doesn’t it?), run video ads, are big selling points.
It takes time to win them over though. One reason being that they do not have the same urge to generate immediate business results than DR advertisers have. We have very promising conversations with brand advertisers around in-ad and on-site engagement, which is an easy KPI to optimise towards, when it is well defined.
Is the market still dabbling with re-targeting – or are French advertisers now looking at prospecting further up the sales funnel?
YLR: They do. Re-targeting is almost everywhere in the e-commerce space, less so in other segments, but advertisers are really looking for more. Many of them realise they need to create demand, and that display (beyond re-targeting) has that potential, especially when taking the ad trading route.
This is at the core of what we are developing with our clients: analyse their purchase funnel and design a display solution that addresses audiences at different stages of the purchase funnel, using different messages and different goals and bidding strategies.
This touches on attribution, which is becoming hotter every week, finally. Advertisers realise they need display because search, affiliate marketing, e-mail are maxed out, and they know that to make display work beyond re-targeting they have to take a new approach re. attribution.
There’s been a lot of debate recently around how algorithms and ad technology are levelling the playing field in terms of how display is bought and sold. As a pure service business, how is Matiro differentiating itself from its competitors in the French market?
YLR: First, we are not a pure service business. We are constantly developing proprietary technology to support our innovative approach to display advertising, which is delivered as a full service solution.
Second, our view is that RTB is the beginning, not the end. What we mean is that RTB is a necessary ingredient to develop smarter, more efficient, more transparent, more strategic display advertising programs for advertisers. But RTB and algorithmic bidding by themselves are not sufficient, eventhough these technologies are truly amazing. How you target, how you segment, how you message, how you attribute, how you bid, context, KPIs, etc, are critical aspects of any good ad trading program, and you do not find them in the DSPs.
Third, we operate across many European markets and in the US, out of our Paris base. We already have clients in Switzerland, Spain, and a few more (fingers crossed) in the pipeline, and we have been running programs in more than 6 countries in Europe as well as in the US.
What about premium inventory volumes on the automated platforms? Is there sufficient supply for brand advertisers?
YLR: There is well enough Premium supply given the level of demand from Brand advertisers that we are seeing currently.
Are publishers still wary of exchange trading? Will private exchanges and private ad slots be the big development on the sell-side in France this year?
YLR: Publishers are still experimenting with open ad exchanges and SSPs, and many of them are starting to see very solid results. It is too early for private exchanges to be part of the discussion.
Is Matiro seeing a lot of RTB impressions on exchanges and SSPs? Are you buying real-time impressions? And if so, is it delivering for your advertisers?
YLR: We focus entirely on RTB. There is well enough supply, it is so much more efficient, and it allows us to develop the kind of advanced display solution that we like. Our advertisers keep increasing their investment into ad trading with us, which testifies of the efficiency that we are delivering.
We often become a top 3 business driver, combining volume and cost per acquisition, and some clients have told us that we generate the best lead quality among all their Display partners.
Is there enough third party data available in the market? Are third party data prices still too high?
YLR: There is not a lot of 3rd party data in the French market yet, but it is growing nicely. The challenge remains to find the data that will generate a genuine lift in performance for a given advertiser. It is not as trivial as it might seem. There is a lot of exploration and testing that needs to be done before some segments start to generate a sustainable lift in performance, and they rarely are the ones you initially thought would work best.
The Facebook and mobile markets are growing in size across France and EU markets. Is Matiro looking to offer similar optimisation offerings in other media channels?
YLR: Mobile ads are already available across some of the ad exchanges, and this trend is expected to accelerate this year. Yes we are buying such mobile ads already.
Facebook. It is very different from any other platform. Today we are very focussed on Display and mobile RTB. We cannot speak for tomorrow.
Can you give some overview on the work that Matiro is doing around attribution – and how it can benefit clients?
YLR: Today we are mostly helping our clients develop a more sophisticated approach to attribution, using the tools that they already have: the ad servers. Attribution is multi-channel subject, being their partner for only a portion of their digital mix, we cannot provide an attribution solution for the entire spectrum.
How do you see display fitting into the media mix in the French market? Is there an over reliance on the post-view window, and does it distort the true touch points en route to conversion?
YLR: Actually it is quite the opposite. The vast majority of e-commerce advertisers have come to ditch post-view entirely. We are promoting a more balanced approach, where a post-view window of a few days allows to account for the latent and indirect effect of display advertising that companies like ComScore have demonstrated for a long time.
We also recommend to use even attribution as a clear improvement over last-touch attribution.
What trends are we likely to see in the French exchange marketplace for the duration of 2011?
YLR: An acceleration of market growth. Hopefully substancial alternatives to us beyond pure PR announcements. The implementation of sophisticated approaches to Display advertising among advertisers. Better integration of display with other channels (e.g. search). The arrival of some Brand advertisers, most likely with engagement goals.