Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Trinity Lunch Meet the Sponsors: Karan Singh, Microsoft Advertising

Ahead of the Trinity Lunch Winter 2023, we caught up with Karan Singh, Head of International Advertiser Partnerships, Microsoft Advertising

Is this your first Trinity Lunch event and what do you expect from the day?

This will be my second Trinity Lunch which I’m very excited about. As much as I enjoy the content-led events, I feel like the Trinity Winter Lunch sets us up nicely for the festive season and allows us to connect with clients, partners and colleagues in an informal environment. 

The event is a great chance to get a gauge on how the year has gone for our partners and where their key priorities lie for the year ahead. It’s been another whirlwind year in our industry and it’s nice to be able to take stock. 

From conversations and presentations you’ve seen and been part of, what is the industry talking about right now?

There’s a few themes coming up recently, the first one being around AI and what that could mean for the industry. The truth is everyone seems to throw the term AI (often coupled with ‘generative’ for good measure) without really going beyond getting ChatGPT to do some cool stuff. What’s going to be really interesting is to see how it helps bring our industry forward, the opportunities within search are the furthest ahead but I’m an interested spectator when it comes to how it might propel the operational side of programmatic advertising forward, this is where AI’s potential as an ‘enabler’ can really come through.

Carbon efficiency and green initiatives within advertising are also coming through strongly in conversations. The operators in this space are doing a solid job at highlighting the issues and reminding the industry of its responsibility to the planet. An interesting shift is how it seems to be taking the place of DE&I in conversations, are advertisers finding it easier to offset campaigns than meet their loft DE&I goals? My hope is that we get a good balance here and address both needs in 2024.

If you were to highlight 3 topics as being most important to your partners and clients, what would they be?

Cost control and transparency – This isn’t ‘new’ but it’s probably more important than ever for our clients. So much of what’s good about our industry is overshadowed by some of the less great practices and with the macro-economic climate putting a magnifying glass on spend/ROI, control of tech fees and transparency within the supply chain are right up there in terms of importance to our clients (and their CFO’s)

Measurement – Touching on the above and with the ‘cookieless’ era upon us measurement is a key topic of the conversation right now. This conversation isn’t purely focused on how we measure performance when cookies disappear, it’s more around what we can do with what we have and how we can adapt our expectations of measurement moving forward. Things like attention and engagement are gaining prominence and retail media is opening up different ways of looking at how we benchmark the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns. 

Social Responsibility – The consumer of today is conscious about who/where they spend their money with and where the consumer goes the brand must follow! This being the case, one of the key topics of conversation is how we ensure advertising does its bit when it comes to helping brands meet their wider CSR goals. What we’ve found is that this isn’t always the easiest to execute against so as a tech partner it’s on us to support our partners in achieving these goals. 

Is the digital marketing industry ready for the ‘cookieless’ era? 

I suppose to a degree it doesn’t matter! That being said it’s a massive shift from where we are today and a lot of it boils down to expectations moving forward. We don’t have a like-for-like replacement for cookies but I definitely see the mindset shift in how & what we measure against, coupled with enough innovation in the space I’m optimistic about the new era of advertising.