‘All advertising will become digital and programmatic’; e-commerce critics banished
Covid wore down many ardent critics of everyday e-commerce, Peter Barry says. And if you’re looking for an upside, 18 of the 30 companies currently in the Dow Jones Industrial Index were started in downturns. Read on.
“Digital content consumption went through the roof, resulting in the rapid growth of the digital advertising market. It’s difficult to predict which connected devices will be used by consumers in the future, but what we do know is that consumers will always want to consume media and brands will always want to advertise their products.”
From chaos to creation
Moments of crisis have historically served as a powerful catalyst for innovation. Eighteen of the 30 firms currently on the Dow Jones Industrial Index were .
The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity showed that the rate of new business creation was higher during the deepest part of the Global Financial Crisis than it had been in the previous 14 years. And so it was that in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the very real hardships experienced in all corners of the globe — for the digital advertising industry, out of crisis came opportunity.
Covid has pulled forward multiple years of consumer behavioural change, as people around the world are transitioning more offline activities to online. This meant that people adapted to a new way of doing things by moving much of their day to day lives online: telemedicine rather than in person visits; online shopping grew exponentially with new customers who were previously reluctant to spend online, quickly forming new and long-term habits.
In short, digital content consumption went through the roof, resulting in the rapid growth of the digital advertising market. It’s difficult to predict which connected devices will be used by consumers in the future, but what we do know is that consumers will always want to consume media and brands will always want to advertise their products.
At PubMatic we believe that all advertising will become digital, and all digital advertising will become programmatic, which simply means applying automation and data. Programmatic advertising creates better outcomes for consumers, publishers, and advertisers. As a leading provider of omnichannel solutions, we’re helping our customers extend header bidding technology into new ad formats such as OTT and CTV – so they can better realise this growing opportunity. Investing in tech that is faster, less latent and solves for poor viewer experience (like back to back ads) has been at the centre of what we have been doing over the past twelve months.
“We believe that a fully transparent programmatic supply chain should be table stakes for our customers. Our employees should know how our business is doing at any time."
Transparency and empathy
Of course, this period has also been extremely stressful for both our customers and our employees. The pivot to full-time working from home has stretched many organisations to breaking point from a process and infrastructure perspective. This, coupled with (in some industries) a near catastrophic drop in revenue, meant our customers and colleagues deserved communication and transparency. Transparency is core to everything we do at PubMatic – both internally and externally.
We believe that a fully transparent programmatic supply chain should be table stakes for our customers. We believe our employees should know how our business is doing at any time. When the pandemic struck, we started producing weekly global and regional spend trends, and we paid our publishers early — we did what we could to help our customers navigate through the changes brought about by the pandemic, and to thrive when things began to right themselves.
Internally, the almost overnight transition to working from home threw some challenges, like the need to strike a new work-life balance, multitask between being an employee and a home-school teacher, or adjust to being alone. Our leadership team recognised that communication and transparency were key competencies that they needed to double down on. The company found new ways to engage with staff on a personal and business level. We all received daily updates on how the business was tracking, as well as weekly updates from the CEO. HR over-communicated with our people to ensure they felt connected rather than isolated. Our leadership team were open and honest about how our business planned to deal with the flux.
As working from home has meant that our colleagues were invited into our personal lives more than ever before – Zoom calls done from kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, and crashed by small children, pets and deliveries — our leadership team recognised the need to create a culture that met individual needs and offered flexibility.
Working from home presented some challenges, but in many cases has also led to positive change – improved productivity, agility, faster decision making, more time spent with family.
Above all else, our leadership team have demonstrated empathy. Empathy can be defined as the ability to understand and relate, and now, as we start to enter the recovery phase and some semblance of normalcy returns, empathy will continue to be a trait of a strong and successful leadership team.
Specsavers head of market and planning, Shaun Briggs, needed a big brand hit to kick-start life after Covid. MAFS was hardly love at first sight. But it quickly grew – literally – as the brand, its agency AJF Partnership, and Nine’s Powered creative unit delivered a bespoke integration within weeks. For Briggs, “it’s been an eye opener”.