Events IX Perspectives

ATS London 2019: Index Exchange’s Top Three Takeaways

Image of Luke Fenney

With the Thames as the backdrop, ExchangeWire’s ATS London — now in its tenth year — was hosted at BFI Southbank earlier this week. It was a day marked by engaging discussions both on and off stage, with more than 500 leading members of the global programmatic advertising community squeezed into the audience. What did I learn in all of this? Here’s a look at my top three takeaways:

Control is key.

First on the day’s agenda was Sir Martin Sorrell (or “Sir Marty,” as ExchangeWire’s Ciaran O’Kane introduced him), who took the stage to discuss the future of  advertising at large. He predicts that the advertising and media realms will soon follow in the footsteps of the financial sectors, implying that massive organisations and holding groups will soon begin to deconsolidate. 

Further, Sir Martin explained that holding groups’ grip on the industry was starting to loosen, as clients are looking to bring control back into their court. In other words, brands are looking for opportunities to cut costs while simultaneously maintaining as much control as possible over their media buying strategies, monetisation opportunities, and tech stacks.  

Consumer trust must be our industry’s top priority. 

Transparency has long dominated industry discussions, but this year’s ATS London saw that conversation become much more mature. Panel discussions and fireside chats broke down what trust and transparency mean for partners, consumers, and government organisations. 

This conversation is of the utmost importance, and one we should continue to prioritise with partners over the coming months. Our goal is to build products with the consumers’ best interests in mind from the offset, but it’s also our responsibility to hold ourselves and our peers accountable for delivering on these goals. In order to foster a greater sense of trust throughout the advertising and tech community, we need to collectively set high standards and work with one another to reach them. 

Identity is still our greatest opportunity. 

The importance of Identity-based solutions was another resonant theme at this year’s ATS — one that Andrew Casale, Index Exchange’s President and CEO, discussed during his fireside chat with Ciaran O’Kane. 

As we reduce our reliance on third-party cookies and place greater control in the hands of our partners, Andrew explained that “we must remember Identity-first addressability performs extremely well.” 

He elaborated that the web is rapidly becoming bifurcated, splitting into the Anonymous Web and the authenticated, or Trusted Web (e.g. the portion of the internet wherein trust, authentication, and addressability still exist). While the majority of today’s publishers don’t have fully authenticated audiences, they do have some form of authentication, and Identity starts there. This is the clearest path to boosting publishers’ monetisation opportunities while protecting consumer trust and privacy. 

As ever, ATS London served as a boisterous reminder that the entire  industry is facing a range of challenges and opportunities in this next phase of its evolution. At Index, we’re looking forward to working in conjunction with our partners and peer set to usher our industry into this next era — granting greater access and control, prioritising consumer trust, and supporting the Trusted Web through Identity-based solutions. 

Cheers to collaborating to bring these visions to life, and cheers to another decade of ATS.

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