Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

“Digital marketing in 2021 is at a crossroads,” Matt Nash, UK MD, Scibids

As we look ahead to NDA’s flagship networking Trinity Lunch event in November, we’re talking to some of our partners and VIP guests to hear their thoughts on the industry the event will be celebrating. Next up is Matt Nash, UK MD Scibids

What is the biggest opportunity for advertisers or publishers in digital marketing in the next 6 months and why?

The pandemic created a rapid and dramatic change in consumer behaviour, which has led marketers to increase their reliance on accountable and addressable marketing channels. Despite the overall slowdown in economic activity, we saw continued growth at Scibids, meaning the channels we’re focused on are measurable, the impact is understandable, and spend is accountable. Many advertisers are moving away from using clicks or visits as a measure of success. We have seen a shift to optimise towards deduplicated conversions that are measurable in external ad servers or maximise return on ad spend (ROAS) taking into account the basket size. 

For example, CPG brands face great challenges finding new, genuinely engaged, quality audiences across digital channels at scale. Scibids AI enables CPG marketers to easily optimize to highly specific media criteria and business goals: often, a combination of performance, reach and engagement data from external sources of truth which we dynamically ingest into our models.

In this context, we believe the increased demand for measurable and accountable digital marketing will be a significant engine of advertiser sales growth over the next 6 months and beyond.

What is the biggest challenge for advertisers or publishers and how will this be overcome?

The biggest challenge for advertisers and publishers is the scheduled end of third-party cookies and how to prepare for it. 

Digital marketing in 2021 is at a crossroads. After two decades of industry growth led by the rise of ad technologies, targeting possibilities increased by programmatic and social channels, the tide seems to be turning.

Years of European and US data regulation, public litigation, and consumers’ own flight to more privacy-friendly web experiences have changed the technical landscape and opportunity for digital advertising dramatically. 

Most recently, big tech is weighing in with full force. Take Google, for example. 2021 began with its announcement to do away with third-party cookies. And, in April, Apple released a new privacy tool, App Tracking Transparency, that asks device users if they want to share their private data with third parties who may use that data for ad targeting. As of this writing, consumer adoption of the feature has been overwhelming. For privacy watchdogs, these moves are welcomed steps.

An entire digital marketing ecosystem that has grown up relying on digital identifiers to power nearly every use case must now confront big questions about its future ability to create advertiser growth. 

For me, this change in paradigm is the biggest challenge for advertisers and publishers: who must now review their digital marketing strategy and set best practices to thrive in the new privacy era. 

What technology are you most excited about at the moment and why?

I believe Artificial Intelligence is the most exciting and promising innovation currently. Most if not all industries are currently being revolutionized by the application of AI, so it goes far beyond the digital marketing and advertising world. Let’s take the example of an industry that’s at the centre of the world today, healthcare: AI is fuelling the next wave of innovation here. Forbes reports that global equity funding in AI health start-ups has risen quarter on quarter since the end of 2019, reaching a record $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

Dozens of AI-powered tools for detection and diagnosis have already been FDA approved for a wide variety of cases, including cardiac arrhythmias, diabetic retinopathy, early-stage breast cancer and strokes. 

As the world digitizes, artificial intelligence helps humans to manipulate, analyse and make the most of the increasingly vast datasets, allowing us to make better decisions in shorter times. AI will enhance human lives and fuel economic growth in the long run. 

What industry individual or company have you been most impressed by this year and why?

Here in the UK, I have been impressed by the growth of Picnic Media. Matthew Goldhill and his great team have done a marvellous job in creating advertiser demand for their products and services, and it’s fantastic that they are being recognised with award nominations and wins

More globally we draw our inspiration from AI-driven companies like Deepmind, OpenAI or the best quantitative hedge funds in financial markets. They remind us that working hard to create deeply differentiating scientific assets can make companies massively successful. We’re also big fans of Voodoo and how their engineering teams have leveraged machine learning to create innovative gaming and app solutions that drive growth and entertainment.

What has been yours or your company’s most impressive achievement this year and why?

In the past twelve months, Scibids has transformed in several aspects. This transformation was accelerated by the pandemic and the associated lockdowns, which forced us to strengthen our internal and external processes. The company equipped itself with best-in-class tools to effectively collaborate and work, from home. Silos were broken, communication processes were enhanced. This created efficiencies that further improved the quality of our product and customer service. 

This participated in a record year in terms of revenues for the company, which allowed us to continue to hire exceptional talent and further transform the company: 

We are currently situated in 11 locations globally, from Tokyo to Miami, however what is most impressive to me is that we are still relatively few people. This demonstrates that we are a true technology company, where the technology is doing the heavy lifting, rather than a company masquerading as such but essentially still operating behind the scenes like a managed service