Arguably some of the greatest work to emerge from the Nordic region in recent years has been their incredibly enigmatic and gripping dramatic television series, such as The Killing and Borgen, that the global marketplace has embraced enthusiastically. The Nordic televised drama market has changed the way millions of crime lovers view programming,breaking down the obvious barriers of language and familiarity, in favour of a good story. The northernmost European countries knew that their captive audience was out there, but pushing their content into thesaturated English-language marketplace was a risky gamble, that eventually paid dividends.
Now a different part of the media world is turning its attention to the Nordic region as the next high-growth area for the programmatic trading of advertising; and with that comes a fair few risks. Since 2009, when supply-side platforms and ad exchanges announced their support for real-time bidding, this method of trading has taken root with the many tiers of UK publishers, and similarly rapid expansion happened across the channel in France and Germany.
We’ve witnessed website visits increase, and in essence demand for advertising increase, significantly in the Nordic region; brands and publishers can’t help but take notice of this new growth sector. Visits to Nordic retail movie sites for June 2013 saw a 190% year-on-year increase from 2012, and Norway and Finland report a respective increase of 981% and 271% of users visiting retail movie websites.
Infrastructure scale is a big challenge preventing RTB really taking off in the region; pricing and process are not as clear-cut as they are elsewhere. Having recently partnered with Concept CPH in Denmark, PubMatic have gained valuable insights into the reservations, challenges and opportunities available for publishers. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark recognise the benefits that programmatic trading has brought to the digital media marketplace, but the operational logistics of implementing real-time bidding has understandably raised concerns.
David Borring, Partner Operations & Exchanges at Concept CPH said, “We are eager to see a mature programmatic market established in the Nordic region, yet there is a general wariness of such a radical overhaul of current inventory trading. Our publishers fear decreasing overall CPMs, drops in premium inventory value and maintaining brand integrity. On the opposite end of the exchange, advertisers are voicing concerns over programmatic capabilities to effectively scale while safeguarding their brand name, in light of recent incidents like the #fbrape pressure put on Facebook. Despite these concerns, publishers need to realise that they have to get on board with programmatic trading, not only if they don’t want to lose out on ad revenue opportunities, but also to gain valuable insight into their digital inventory.”
Wider apprehensions over private marketplaces (PMPs) and their ability to drive revenue are surfacing, in addition to maintaining established publisher/advertiser relationships and the impact on direct sales. One overarching concern is the fear that publishers will cede control to advertisers, but with proven results from working with premium European publishers we can lead the way in making change happen, given the correct support and advice.
To solve the case PubMatic is currently working in Scandinavia to establish a robust, scaleable RTB infrastructure. Setting trading regulations and data privacy standards will provide further security around processes, pricing and fraud.
To ensure longevity and take the mystery out of RTB, we know from experience that education is needed as much as sector development. Experienced technology partners, with proven track records of developing rich programmatic ecosystems elsewhere are needed to guide Nordic publishers and advertisers through best practices for automated trading. What will follow, and we have seen time and again across Europe, is effective system implementation, revenue uplift and uncompromising attitude to brand safety. Publishers need to understand that programmatic trading and especially our partnership with data management platform (DMP) Lotame enables greater control through audience data segmentation and allows them to connect to more demand sources, hence increasing their revenue.
The current Nordic mindset is focused on establishing an automated ecosystem which addresses the essential need, and once this is in place the previously unconsidered benefits of RTB will be free to flood the market.
Enhanced monitoring will bring definable engagement measures to a burgeoning market and pave the way for fully-executable RTB campaigns that deliver strong returns. We have seen great pace in areas such as mobile and tablet RTB campaigns, in response to a significant increase in mobile web traffic, hinting that the Nordics have the potential to quickly match the rest of Europe’s market maturity. With multi-screening becoming the norm globally, technology providers will be influential in ensuring that future Nordic RTB initiatives will operate seamlessly across all platforms right from the start.
The Nordic region presents an exciting prospect for RTB-enabled trading, but it cannot be rushed. The necessary time to educate, assist and adapt must be allowed if Nordic publishers and advertisers are to build genuine trust in programmatic trading. PubMatic’s position is one of assisting the safety, commercial viability and ecosystem-wide adoption of programmatic trading. Our role is to become one of the leading technology partners across the Nordics with minimal drama and confidence in its ability to stand the test of time.