In association with Alkimi Exchange.
In this exclusive interview ahead of ATS London 2021, Ben Putley, CEO & co-founder of Alkimi Exchange, explains how decentralisation can improve the ad buying process for advertisers and publishers whilst creating a better experience for consumers.
How has the programmatic buying model of today led to a lack of transparency and efficiency within the ecosystem?
Under the existing programmatic buying system, innovation in ad formats, targeting, attribution (etc.) all occur between the Buyer and the Seller. This has led to server discrepancies, bid throttling, and bid caching (to name but a few tactics) to add value whilst transacting between the buyer and seller.
By adding innovation between buyers and sellers, there is unavoidable opacity in the supply path, which has created quantitative issues, inefficient spending, and the potential for ad fraud to enter the supply path.
It also creates qualitative issues that are harder to measure; wasted time determining the integrity of reporting data and ongoing development work to support integrations, for example.
What impact has the current model had on the relationships between the different industry segments?
Largely a lack of trust, but on a micro-level, each individual business is trying to game one aspect of the programmatic ecosystem to carve out a margin or a USP. Largely, partners in the existing ecosystem have fallen victim to an extractive economic model; this has led to difficulties in proving the effectiveness of buying strategies, problems for publishers to optimise yield, and a diminishing experience for the internet user.
This has seen regulation roll in, which has disproportionately affected everyone outside of Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon.
How has it affected web users and their perceptions of brands and publishers?
Web users are annoyed; they opt out of device tracking, opt-out of cookies, and may even be opting out of seeing ads altogether by installing ad blockers. The value exchange on the internet has to be re-established. We don't believe that providing an email address to continue to see free content through a single sign-on changes anything because you continue to see free content regardless of whether or not you share it.
How can decentralised platforms benefit publishers and advertisers?
Decentralisation ushers in a host of benefits - transparent, auditable data sets and instant payment reconciliation. The most significant advantage, however, will be the dramatic reduction in cloud infrastructure costs. Cloud infrastructure providers are essentially one-size-fits-all; digital advertising has a very heavy reliance cloud infrastructure to facilitate billions of transactions in a programmatic auction, a specific use case for cloud servers.
Decentralisation allows you to create infrastructure support for your specific use case, yielding significant price reductions on your infrastructure bill.
How can it help to generate a sense of there being a value exchange between brands, publishers, and consumers?
To re-establish the value exchange on the internet, the end user must be offered something of worth that isn't as ubiquitous as "free content". Value will be provided to each internet user when they understand the impact of having sovereignty over their data by understanding the value of their data and being provided with a means by which they can monetise it.
Decentralised infrastructure literally makes that possible.
What do you think the programmatic landscape will look like if decentralisation is more widely adopted?
If decentralisation is adopted, you close the loop on conversions. Decentralisation through a blockchain creates a way to associate the online and offline worlds – a difficult model to prove. So, in the future: an Advertiser will know that the user exposed to an ad for trainers on a Website went on to buy a new pair of trainers a week later.
With decentralisation, Advertisers are provided with a complete picture of the efficacy of their ad spend; publishers will know precisely how much value they drove, and the user has seen a relevant engaging ad.
ATS London 2021 will take place on 3rd-4th November at Lee Valley VeloPark. Tickets and further details are available via the ATS London 2021 events hub.