Redefining ‘Working Media’ Will Change the Supply Path Narrative From ‘Trust’ to ‘Understanding’

In a year that has truly emphasised the value of a budget, finding media that is worth spending on has never been more imperative. With buyers forced to scrutinise their strategies and to recognise the value (or lack thereof) of each element, the pressure to streamline and optimise the supply path has been firmly raised. In this exclusive article, Seun Odeneye (pictured below), managing director of Matterkind UK & Ireland, writes about this heightened concern, and offers his advice on how media buyers can tackle the current challenges surrounding the supply chain.

There is a clear industry panic and narrative around lack of trust in the supply chain leading to questions such as:

‘Where are all my advertiser’s dollars going?’

‘How much of my spend is being spent on working media?’

‘Can I trust the world of programmatic?’

None of these are bad questions and at IPG, we feel that the more questions a client asks the closer you can get to the truth. We on the buying side (clients, agencies, addressable specialists) should know where all our advertising dollars are going and we should know how much is being spent on ‘working media’.

The key for me, and what I would advise any client or agency to do in order to comprehend the world of programmatic, is to shine a light on it and try to understand the various entities of the supply chain and then at the very minimum, you can understand where your advertising dollars are going.

Seun Odeneye

Seun Odeneye, managing director UK & Ireland, Matterkind

One of the causes of panic and trust issues is the narrative around how much of advertising spend is going on working media, with working media being defined as the inventory (impressions) on the end website. My question is, who defined working media as that? When you strip back what we do, I would prefer to sum it up as creating meaningful moments for our brands and this is done by finding the right user, at the right place, at the right time. It is my opinion that working media should encompass all the players in the supply chain that allow brands to create these meaningful moments. In order to deliver on this mantra of creating meaningful moments for our brands, we need more than just inventory. We need the right data points to understand the market audiences, and the right tech (DSP, DMP, Adserver, CVT to name a few) in order to ensure we are delivering across multiple ecosystems in a brand-safe way that is measurable.

Once we have changed our narrative on ‘working media’, the next job is to understand all the players in the supply path and understand what value they bring in achieving a client’s goals. This level of scrutiny is a route that I believe can drive greater trust and transparency, and then the focus on supply path optimisation becomes more about how do we optimise the various routes which includes, but isn’t limited to, SSP’s and their direct and indirect integrations with websites.

Four pieces of advice I would share for clients when it comes to understanding and addressing the challenges in the supply chain.

1. Audit your supply partners. Developing a thoughtful, custom SSP evaluation can be the baseline criteria for how/what kind of inventory you receive. Aligning these evaluations to the goals and objectives of your marketing strategy will bring intent to your approach, ultimately streamlining the process. These evaluations should be conducted on an annual basis to account for innovative inventory solutions that will continue to be developed by your supply partners.

2. Do your homework on SPO “solutions.” Supply Path Optimisation means different things to different companies in the addressable space. It is important to align your KPIs with what companies are touting their SPO solutions to be. Words like transparency and efficiency are frequently proclaimed, but your due diligence will be worth it to dig a bit deeper and understand the gaps and limitations of what you’d be paying for.

3. Strategise on your organisation’s setup as it relates to SPO. Because SPO can mean a number of different things, it is important to identify what it means to your marketing strategy. Once you’ve identified what you are trying to accomplish, develop an organisational plan that allows for implementation of an intentional SPO strategy. From the external partnerships to the addressable expertise required, standing up an SPO strategy can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Just make sure you have the resources and blueprint to execute on an on-going basis.

4. Change the narrative of working media to encompass all the players in the supply chain that allows brands to create these meaningful moments.