Media Buying Briefing: A look at the big topics at the Media Buying Summit this week

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October 18, 2021 by Michael Bürgi

Most clichés become clichés because they are rooted in some sort of truth. In the case of the media agency world, the applicable cliché is: the only constant is change. That truth only accelerated over the course of the last 20 months, as the global pandemic upended most normal ways of doing business. Media buyers, planners and clients’ efforts to adapt to a changed world will be addressed in a number of ways at Digiday’s Media Buying Summit, being held in Miami today through Oct. 20.

Change has come in a few key areas, including:

Moving past cookies 

The industry’s search for solutions to replace the cookie identifier could usher a new era of contextual targeting, while new forms of identifiers are also in various stages of development. Megan Pagliuca, Omnicom Media Group’s chief activation officer, will talk about that network’s support of Unified ID 2.0 as a way to push forward solutions. And Horizon Media’s senior vp of digital strategy and innovation, Rayna Elliot, offers her insights on contextual targeting’s return as a legitimate planning strategy.

The continued rise of automation

As ad-tech continues to proliferate, it’s engendered a rush toward automation of processes, mainly in the form of programmatic buying. Media vendors have made inventory available through programmatic options in connected TV, audio, out of home media and even most recently product placement. Josh Palau, PHD’s chief media and activation officer, shares his agency’s views on how programmatic has helped drive better data-informed decisions, even as it’s changed the importance of relationships in conducting business. 

The touchy topic of remuneration 

As all these new ways of doing business crowd out classic media buying and planning, what new forms of compensation are being fashioned between media agencies and clients? Diving into that topic is David Kersey, GSD&M’s executive vp and media director, who unpacks the very sensitive topic of remuneration. Clients are looking to keep their marketing costs down while media agencies, who feel they’re doing much more consultative work than ever, are looking to get paid for that time and investment.

Diversity, equity and inclusion 

Industry-wide efforts to rectify racial and social injustices in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd dominated headlines between last fall and this past spring. Most of the holding company agencies and many independents, declared their commitment to investing in minority media and rooting out systemic bias. Publicis formed its Once & For All Coalition among its agencies and many of its clients. Lisa Torres, president of Cultural Quotient at Publicis Media, will explain what’s been accomplished to date, but more importantly how far is left to go in seeking equality in investment both from the client side as well as internally.

Stemming the Great Resignation

There’s an urgent need to find new ways to retain talent in the face of the greatest migration of job movement since the Great Depression of the 1930s. One former media agency CEO estimates that agencies are currently understaffed by up to 30 percent — double the 15 percent of pre-pandemic days. But media agencies aren’t sitting still, given the variety of issues and opportunities they need to tackle (see above). Dentsu International’s Caroline Vanovermeire, global director of talent, leadership and organizational development, shares her holding company’s approach to stemming the outgoing tide.

The summit will also address ad-marketplace implications and how buyers and clients are adjusting to what was one of the most unusual upfront markets ever this past spring. And finally, the surging world of esports and gaming has captured the attention of clients and planners alike, for its passionate and young audience and innovative ad opportunities. 

I hope to see you there.  

Color by numbers

With third-quarter 2021 in the books and the all-important holiday season upon us, TV ad measurement firm iSpot.TV noted a few recent advertiser trends on TV. 

  • For one, consumer packaged goods spending declined 8.8% year-over-year from Q3 2020, but rose 17% over that period in 2019, while retail advertising also rose 10% over 2019.
  • More significantly, theatrical ads roared back in Q3 thanks to the reopening of movie theaters and release of big-budget films again. TV ad impressions for movie ads were up more than 5 times over 2020, and ad spending up 7 times — albeit both low bars to hurdle. That said, both impressions and spend in Q3 were still down at least 10% compared to Q3 2019, indicating that the category remains in flux.

Takeoff & landing

  • Omnicom Media Group won Chanel’s global media business, effective January 2022. The fashion and fragrance brand had been handled by WPP agencies for most of the last 20 years. 
  • Video ad-tech firm Amobee and shopper intelligence provider Catalina formed a partnership benefiting CPG brands that combines Amobee’s in-flight optimization abilities with Catalina’s real-time point-of-sale data to help analyze a marketing campaign’s effectiveness.
  • The Out-of-Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) last week released its suggestions for optimal marketing mix models (MMM) and attribution for both OOH sellers and omnichannel media buyers, along with a white paper offering modeling best practices.

Direct quote

“By my very rough math, there are 73,000 ways to place media today… and there’s been a 27 percent increase in media spend per hour per user since 2017.”

— Shenan Reed, L’Oréal’s senior vp, head of media, addressing the audience at DPAA Global’s Video Everywhere summit in New York last week.

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