Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Programmatic Stars: Hannah Thompson, Head of Programmatic & ATL at Tug

Programmatic Stars celebrates the pioneers, trailblazers and innovators holding the role of Head of Programmatic, one critical to any company today. Next up is Hannah Thompson, Head of Programmatic & ATL at digital agency Tug.

What do you love most about your role as Head of Programmatic?

That I basically get to do so many different jobs all rolled into one. The trading and analytical side of my interests is covered, there’s a creative element to the job, there’s so much working with people which I love and what we do is so ingrained in the daily lives of people – keeping the internet free and all that!

What is the biggest opportunity for programmatic over the next year?

Expansion into other channels has to be it for me – OOH, TV and Audio are really latched on to programmatic tech now and it means that programmatic managers finally have more flexibility on a media plan to actually execute where it makes sense for the client – especially on brand campaigns.
What is your proudest achievement in programmatic?

Expanding the Tug team out once to be a proper offering within Tug outside of our PPC / SEO heritage and then again to incorporate ATL channels into the mix – who knows what the third wave will be!?

What are the biggest challenges for programmatic and how will we overcome them?

There’s so many laws and regulations and decisions that are indirectly affecting what we do, all happening at the same time. Whether it’s GDPR enforcements impacting tech solutions, the fact that cookies are going away in the first place, HFSS regulations, sustainability pressures etc etc. None of these are directly targeting to programmatic specifically but all of them have a real impact.

What innovation or technology in programmatic are you most excited about currently?

As I mentioned before, it’s the expansion into other channels that excited me the most and the fact that the walled gardens are actually being quite slow at adopting these. It’s giving real space for independent tech to flourish and prove it’s value before Google get involve. Take Hivestack as an example – their DSP is so much better to use and has way more features specific to DOOH than any of the tech Google have integrated into DV360 and I personally really like that the best tech isn’t a default to a big name. Probably because I’m at an indie myself!

How is the role of ‘head of programmatic’ evolving or changing at present?

Head of Programmatic used to be associated with a very data=heavy, analytical role but as we add more channels in it’s becoming increasingly planner-like as well as having to incorporate elements of regulatory understanding, creative management and increased education in programmatic on the client-side.