MarTech Interview with Martin Hill, Head of Programmatic at Dianomi

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Originally posted on on June 6, 2022.

Martin Hill, Head of Programmatic at Dianomi chats about the future of marketing and martech and what B2B teams need to do to prepare better for a cookieless future:

Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Martin, we’d love to hear more about your journey in the tech market and also, what are you most looking forward to in your new role at Dianomi?

I’ve been in the industry for a long time. Most of my career has been in engineering leadership roles and I’ve built and architected platforms right across the ecosystem, touching on all aspects of online advertising and marketing. I’ve had experience in performance and branding and lived through lots of change throughout the past 20 years. That’s the most interesting thing about the industry, no two days are ever the same and just when you think you have everything down pat, things move on and there are new challenges to address.

Over the past few years I have been focused on the future and how online advertising and marketing will change and what advertisers and publishers need to do to set themselves up for success. Which is a great segue into Dianomi. Building on a strong heritage of direct, performance based contextual and native, I am working with the team to drive the programmatic transformation of the business. We will be keeping the strong foundations whilst extending Dianomi’s existing capabilities, premium audience and trusted relationships and bringing that quality to programmatic.

What are some of the key trends in programmatic ads today that you feel advertisers/marketers need to be focusing more on?

We are seeing continued growth in programmatic and the ongoing shift from non-programmatic budgets to programmatic.

The key growth areas are video/CTV and native and the headwinds the industry is facing include:

  • EU/US data sharing (Shrems II)
  • GDPR consent management (TCF2.0 invalidation)
  • Identity (3rd Party Cookies being removed from Chrome)

“Needless to say, we are now in the midst of a shifting tide in the foundations of audience based advertising as we know it.  With that change comes opportunity and those advertisers and marketers that have a plan to navigate and weather the storm will fare the best.  There will not be a one-size fits all approach and relationships will be key to make sure advertisers and publishers are aligned in their approach to create win/win scenarios without unnecessary nasty surprises.”

With the eventual death of third-party cookies; how do you feel digital advertisers and marketers need to prepare better for a cookieless future?

Advertisers and marketers need to re-build relationships with their key publishers. Advertisers are already only talking to around 40-70% of their audience effectively, or in other words they are only talking to their audience in Chrome. Their Safari & Firefox audience is already cookieless and has been for a few years. Most of their existing budget is spent across a relatively small number of publishers. They can work with their agencies and tech partners to engage with those publishers to discuss and align their goals and objectives to forge an identity and data strategy that will work within the right context to deliver the outcomes they are looking to achieve across their key partners and lay the foundations to bring to market more broadly.

How do you feel the adtech segment will evolve in the near-future to meet all of these changing industry standards and end user needs?

AdTech has already evolved to handle the cookieless future.  In fact, this is like a back to the future moment.  Relationships and context matters.  Advertisers and publishers need to foster these key relationships again and talk to each other in order to deliver campaigns successfully in a win/win way.  From a technical perspective there has also been an increased focus on Programmatic Guaranteed, Deals/PMPs and also the resurgence of context and 1st party identity.  The key aspect here is to manage these in a way that retains the benefits and efficiency of programmatic trading without introducing too much workflow overhead.  This is exactly where a good identity and data strategy paired with strong relationships and context comes in.

It’s worth noticing that until now I have not mentioned the Privacy Sandbox, Google’s initiative for Chrome to replace the various features and functionality afforded by 3rd party cookies.  This is intentional as the total output in tangible terms to date has been zero.  Apart from perhaps raising the profile of alternate names for segments; cohorts and topics.  While the Privacy Sandbox will of course be something to keep abreast of, it will never be a holistic solution and will only ever be a Google Chrome centric way of reaching your audience.

A few quick thoughts on what it takes to drive ROI with digital ads in today’s environment?

Reaching the right audience at the right time with the right message in the right place, then optimizing towards desired outcomes.  This is still the key to maximizing ROI and driving media efficiency.  It’s not that this is changing, it’s more a case of what foundations need to be in place within a cookieless environment in order to facilitate good, privacy centric, safe trading so that user data and privacy is preserved during the process.

I’ve covered the key tenets of this in a broad sense, relationships, ID and data strategy, context and optimization.  This is essentially a mix of what we have already been doing, just enabled by 3rd party cookies and MAIDs.  The future will look similar but will be underpinned with 1st party identity signals and context instead.

Some last thoughts, takeaways on adtech and programmatic best practices before we wrap up!

The time to act is now.  If you haven’t already got a plan for cookieless environments there is no better time to make a start and add incremental value while beginning to communicate effectively to your cookieless audience.

Relationships matter and you will need a flexible contextual, identity and data strategy to work across your publishers and formats.