In this Q&A with ExchangeWire, Wayne Blodwell, founder & CEO of TPA Digital (formerly The Programmatic Advisory), and Dan Larden, TPA Digital's head of UK, discuss the decisions behind their rebrand, and the impact of programmatic on advertising.
What were the main drivers behind the decision to drop the term “programmatic” from TPA Digital?
Wayne: It was really simple, actually - the name didn’t accurately reflect what we did anymore. When we first started, we were pulled in to help advertisers solve very specific programmatic use cases. As time went on, we kept hearing “are you able to do that in TV or in Social, etc?”, and the answer was almost always yes.
I think it almost goes without saying that advertisers are currently expected to make more decisions themselves than ever before, but in many cases, they aren’t equipped to make them strategically or diligently. TPA Digital continues to be built on specialisms, not cookie-cutter products or services, and that means we are able to deliver the most accurate advice in market and fulfil our mission to empower advertisers with impartial advice.
It’s also worth noting that this name change is an update to reflect what we do, rather than a pivot in our core business. We’re excited to continue delivering game-changing results for advertisers, whilst expanding our scope.
Similarly, what drove the decision to rebrand your education services to TPA Academy? What key training needs should marketers seek to fulfil in the evolving digital marketing industry?
Dan: Although we're updating the name, the mission of our online learning portal will remain the same: simplifying the programmatic ecosystem to educate and inspire. 1,500 people from brands, publishers, and agencies have already signed up to our programmatic fundamentals courses, which is as good a sign as any that there is still a huge demand for impartial training and education on what programmatic is and how it works.
This year, we're focusing on adding foundational courses on Identity and SPO, two key topics brands are asking us about and that we expect will be a big focus for us in 2022.
How are brands applying programmatic to broader digital services, and vice versa?
Dan: Programmatic advertising has completely changed the advertising landscape. Not all of these changes were good, but the principles they have instilled in the next generation of digital media practitioners is clear in our conversations with brands. Better marketing decisions based on data, innovative targeting and creative tactics, more scientific measurement of media investment, instilling a test and learn philosophy; these things are here to stay, and we will continue to drive these principles forward across all digital channels with our clients.
What is the future of programmatic as a buying method? How will it evolve following the deprecation of third-party cookies?
Wayne: Programmatic is continuing to become the predominant method of buying and selling advertising. Any ad that is bought and sold via technology is programmatic in our perspective. We know, typically, people categorise it as buying over OpenRTB or via an Open DSP, but this is legacy thinking. Programmatic has always been about the technology revolution in advertising; in the English dictionary, 'programmatic' literally means ‘done according to a plan’. It is unfortunate that, somewhere along the way, people have confused programmatic with non-compliant data practices, murky supply chains, and ad fraud. These are products from the misuse of technology, and not the fault of the technology itself.
It’s kind of funny that the term ‘programmatic’ can irritate people; the amount of meeting time and panel time dedicated to defining it must be through the roof. However, the reality is that it’s how the majority of ads should be bought and sold, which is why we’re seeing new and emerging creators and advertisers starting with a programmatic-first mindset. Those that harness it the best stand to do great things.