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LA AdTech Panel Recap: Consolidation, Competition & Fraud

April 06 2017 by Jordan Kramer
LA Adtech.jpg
LA Adtech.jpg

LA Adtech.jpg

We recently hosted the LA AdTech community for a mixer and panel discussion on the topics of fake news, consolidation, competition, and fraud in the digital advertising ecosystem. Since the event, the news has become even more saturated with issues attributed to digital transparency as brands continue to pullback on YouTube. On Breitbart alone, the site counted 25 of the top 50 consumer brand advertisers as clients from January to February of 2016. In 2017, that number dropped to 4 out of the top 50. Brands are now, more than ever, concerned with brand safety and understanding where their content and creatives are appearing online.

Whether you’re on the buy side or the sell side of the spectrum, or a data company like us in between, the current issue of transparency affects everyone involved. Pathmatics CEO Gabe Gottlieb moderated a panel of industry experts from different sides of the digital ecosystem to discuss how these topics are impacting them.

Panelists included:

Read on for clips and highlights from the discussion.

Fake News and Brand Concerns

The topic of ‘fake news’ is not new from a consumer perspective, but it is on digital. Ben Plomion from GumGum pointed out that tabloids have been next to everyone in the supermarket lines for years, but on digital, this is a topic that consumed the entirety of IAB’s recent conference. Plomion stated that from the IAB perspective, the question is now how to make sure that the advertising ecosystem is going to compensate publishers in a way that they can produce quality content.
Nick Lynch and his team at Icon Media Direct work with some of the most recognizable brands in the world. We asked how these brands are reacting to current industry controversies, and how the agency to client conversations are changing.
Matt Arkin from VideoAmp added that from the publisher perspective, the traditional pubs are excited because their value is going up. Quality publishers are seeing CPM rates going up, either through programmatic or direct buys, and ultimately more dollars coming in the door. 

Consolidation and Competition

According to Pathmatics data, of the top 100 publishers by impressions in the US during Q4 of 2016, an average of 5 direct partners and 8 partners in total were used to sell inventory. 
We asked Matt Arkin about the publisher perspective on this and how they are evaluating the ecosystem.
Nick Lynch pointed out, "We have clients who will only execute buys on Facebook and Google.” He added that “consolidation is great, it is definitely needed, from a client perspective it simplifies the process.”
Plomion added that two years ago it was a big debate to bring programmatic in house. Brands have now seen the difficulties in executing, even admitting that doing so is too fragmented and too complicated. "Even us, we go through 7 different dashboard to go through all of the data,” Plomion stated.
Arkin reinforced the point, "It’s hard enough for us to live and breathe it every single day, let alone to those clients that have a million other things in their head."


Transparency In the Industry

Are the current transparency issues helping us or hindering us as players in the space? Arkin noted that there is still plenty of black box out there and everyone agreed that demonstrating transparency to their clients is a high priority.
From the adtech side, Plomion added that the question comes down to "What type of data can you populate to expand without compromising revenue growth?”
Why are brands okay with buying on opaque platforms such as Facebook and Snap, but need to see exactly where their other buys are ending up? An attendee had that same question:
"Transparency is a big thing. And when you pull reports and you see strange sites, it’s almost a gotcha moment with a CMO of 'Why are you buying that?' Transparency is by far one of our biggest selling points." Nick Lynch, Icon Media Direct

Reaching Millennials Is Tough For Everyone

Reaching the millennial generation has become a big topic amongst advertisers in figuring out ways to successfully target the demographic. While Lynch pointed out that millennials will soon grow up to have families and just “because the generation is consuming content in a slightly different way then maybe past generations, it doesn’t mean the life stages of people is going to change.” The [FEP/OTT] content is still being consumed in a living room, but the paradigm shift is that consumers now have on-demand control. Now the issue is how to enhance the messaging with other digital initiatives.
Ben Plomion agreed and gave his perspective of the generational shifts happening.

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About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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