Rubicon Project: The Future of Automation

The Future of Automated Advertising
Advertising Week Europe 2016 recently descended upon London and as always it was a congregation of the brightest minds across the advertising spectrum, fuelling great conversation, experimentation and innovation. Similarly to the Cannes Lions festival, the influence of advertising technology on the industry has become more and more evident in recent years. As the marriage of creativity and technology is solidified, companies like Rubicon Project now have a strong foothold at these tent pole global events. We’re also seeing agencies developing an arm devoted to technology and data-driven marketing, the most recent of these ventures being Omnicom’s new media agency network Hearts & Science just last week.

Advertising automation is at the heart of this coming together of technology, data and creativity that is breaking down walls across previously siloed media channels. This, coupled with creatives embracing technologists and vice versa, means we are beginning to uncover potential for some of the most interesting advertising propositions we’ve seen yet.

At Advertising Week Europe this year we presented a panel entitled ‘The Future of Automation’. ‘Programmatic’ advertising on desktop and mobile devices has taken the lion’s share of headlines in recent years, but this is only a subset of a broader media trend of advertising automation that is revealing itself in different ways across different media. The advertising industries of TV, Outdoor, Digital and Radio are all being disrupted by consumer technology, the advent of big data and advances in advertising technology. We are thrilled to have been joined on our panel by some of the most innovative and disruptive businesses within each of these channels.

On the panel we had Sky, a broadcaster that is demonstrating a refreshingly future-thinking attitude in a sector that is encountering challenges as technology changes consumer behaviour. Their AdSmart technology allows brands to serve automated, targeted ads based on the data points and subscription data each household has amassed.

Also on the panel was Spotify, who deliver programmatic audio ads on the free version of their streaming service. Outdoor media owners like Clear Channel and Brightmove are embracing automated technology solutions, including Bitposter, to automate outdoor media trading. Finally, location data is touting itself as the silver bullet for marketers, and xAd see incredible potential in using location and mobile particularly to connect advertising on all media types with consumers in all environments.

We are seeing great disruption across ‘traditional’ media, and this evolution will continue for some time. The video below represents a very real future of an ‘omnichannel’ horizon, in which the media planner/buyer of the future is able to plan, execute and refine campaigns centrally and in real-time across multiple channels. And while we may not be there just yet, we’re getting very close – the future is exciting!
Thanks to Bitposter, BrightMove Media, Clear Channel Outdoor, Sky, Spotify and xAd, Inc. for helping to make this cross-channel automated advertising campaign possible!

Why Rubicon Project joined the TAG initiative to clean up the digital advertising marketplace

A clean digital advertising marketplace is essential for performance, brand protection, and consumer safety.  The confidence of buyers and sellers is also paramount in a well functioning marketplace.

Bad actors have exploited the technologies that drive innovation in digital advertising by pushing robot generated traffic through the systems.  It’s an incredibly costly problem: this year, non-human traffic will account for $6.3 billion in losses, according to a recent study by digital advertising security firm White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers.

Detecting and blocking as much non-human traffic (NHT) as possible is essential for protecting the integrity of the marketplace. Rubicon Project has already implemented an aggressive and comprehensive plan for blocking illegitimate traffic in our own marketplace as well as pushing low quality inventory out of the platform.

But no single company can solve this problem in isolation; we’re stronger working together.  We can take a cue from the functioning of biological immune systems.  These systems work by creating layers of defenses with coordinated mechanisms and system-wide ‘memory’.  By sharing data in an automated fashion between companies with the same goals, we too can create an adaptive ecosystem that will respond quickly.

To further this idea, we’ve joined a number of leading companies in this space, including Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, to pilot the Trustworthy Accountability Group, or TAG, with the goal of fighting criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain through knowledge and resource sharing.  Our first initiative was developing the the Fraud Threat List, through which companies share web domains that are sources of fraudulent traffic.

Our newest initiative addresses illegitimate ad traffic that originates from data centers. We’ll use various data sets and industry intelligence to identify the IP addresses of data centers participating in NHT and reject impressions originating from these sources.

These efforts, when combined with adding NHT signaling into the OpenRTB 2.2 spec, will enable automated sharing of data critical to defending against NHT. We’d encourage any interested parties to get involved with TAG and help us add friction to the efforts of the bad actors.