Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Trinity Lunch: Meet the Sponsors – Kimberley Stone of Sharethrough

With NDA’s Summer ‘Trinity Lunch’ approaching, we caught up with the leaders of businesses sponsoring the event. Here, we meet Kimberley Stone, Sales Development Director of Sharethrough, to talk ‘sustainability’ and ‘attention’…

Why is Sharethrough supporting the upcoming Trinity Lunch?

The tradition of the Trinity Lunch has always represented the idea of the industry coming together. It allows for a cross-section of the media landscape to meet, network and talk to those they may not usually get the time or opportunity to. These lunches create a relaxed and fun environment for everyone to enjoy without the formality of presentations, which quite often can stifle free flowing conversation and new ideas. This really resonates with Sharethrough, as a company that prides itself on being inclusive and encouraging of everyone. Being ‘stronger together’ is one of core values, so what better way to support an in-person event like the Trinity Lunch which also shares our way of thinking.

What are the biggest issues your customers are facing at the moment?

I think there are several key issues facing the industry at the moment. As we know, the internet is responsible for more than 3.5% of the world’s greenhouse gasses, so being part of the problem means we have to be part of the solution. Being able to offer innovative solutions to reduce emissions and allow brands to be more sustainable is one of our biggest talking – and action – points at present. 

As part of the Ad Net Zero cohort, we are committed to help drive immediate industry action to decarbonise ad operations and increase the promotion of sustainable products, services and behaviors. In order to make this happen we need brands, agencies, publishers and adtech companies to come together and unify as an industry to ensure we achieve a net-zero future.

When we talk about sustainability, we also have to look at things like SPO, MFAs and attention, and the work that needs to be done to address these inefficiencies. With more platforms and opportunities to engage than ever before, it’s imperative that we all take action to reduce supply path emissions where we can, and address things such as MFA sites. The work we’ve already done at Sharethrough with partners such as Scope 3 (to offer Green PMPs and Climate Shield supply) and Jounce (to offer non MFA curation) allows us the ability to offer our clients a way to both offset and reduce their emissions whilst also addressing SPO. The more we can come together as an industry to keep innovating around SPO, attention and ultimately sustainability the better – for both our clients and the consumer.

What are the big priorities for Sharethrough this year?

Aside from continuing to make great strides in our sustainability solutions, we’re also focused on attention. Over the last ten years we have consistently conducted human based research, to better understand how consumers interact and engage with both content and advertising in real word settings. This in-depth research has allowed us to continuously innovate our technology by applying the outcomes to our unique ad enhancements that are designed to better match human behavior. 

We know that our award winning enhancements deliver on increasing not just attention, but also comprehension and performance of programmatic campaigns, so we want to continue on this path by working with partners such as Adelaide. By layering their attention based data into our exchange it enables us to offer a highly targeted solution in environments where attention is increased, the performance is better and the emissions are lower. 

As we grow our global presence we’re excited to explore ways in which we can further develop these enhancements across display, native, video and CTV, to continue matching the ever-evolving human behaviour.

What do you consider to be the biggest changes to digital marketing over the last 12 months?

With sustainability now at the forefront of everyone’s conversations, I think over the last 12 months the industry has come to the realisation that less is more, that publishers and agencies don’t need to work with dozens of partners, and consolidation is needed. More publishers have realised that they don’t need to have lots of ad placements on every page, and marketers have come to the realisation that the most important thing is not only a user paying attention to their ad, but more; do they comprehend the creative messaging?  

This change helps everyone across the ecosystem, with more spend going through trusted & differentiated partners resulting in greater campaign performance, and  more spend reaching premium publishers with lower emissions in the process. I think attention, and the unified measurement metrics that will need to come with this, will play a much bigger role in digital marketing in the future.

The way in which we operate as organisations has also changed in the last 12 months. Remote work is allowing people to be more decentralised, but we need to find ways for people to organically interact with each other in order to nurture talent and continue to share our thoughts and ideas in a broader, more human-centric setting.

What trends are you seeing at the moment that might be important over the next 12 months?

CTV has been a major talking point over the past few years, and for good reason as we’ve seen CTV advertisers grow their budgets year after year. CTV spend is expected to grow by 14.4% in 2023, and while this may not be as steep of an incline as years before, it will surely continue in its upward trajectory. What we’ll see in CTV is more innovation in the actual ad formats moving away from what we’ve relied on for decades with 15 and 30 second video ads, and moving towards more creative ad formats that are more engaging for consumers.

Retail media, with its ability to provide value to both brands and consumers, will continue to make moves across the adtech industry. We’re seeing more and more strategic partnerships being built around retail media with it being such a big play to help retailers reach their audience both on and offline. The opportunity as well as the technology is there, so it will be exciting to see how this space develops.

There are lots of other exciting trends that are already developing in the industry; with advertisers starting to shift from focusing on clicks or viewability to being much more focused on how they can maximize the comprehension of their ads as well as catch people’s attention. There still needs to be a lot of unity when it comes to measurement metrics for attention, which also applies to carbon emissions. With sustainability and green media products continuing to take center stage, and with a growing net-zero commitment, finding a combined measurement for carbon emissions for the industry is imperative.

On top of all of  this, companies still need to prepare and remain ready for when the cookieless future becomes a reality. The industry has spoken a lot about this over the last couple of years, however, with Google recently announcing they will not be extending the deprecation of the third party cookie in Chrome beyond the next deadline, we need to see improvement in this area to support frequency and attribution once we can no longer rely on third party cookies.

If you could make one change that would improve your industry as a place to work, what would it be? 

Hmm, just one change? I think it would have to be for digital advertising to achieve net-zero emissions. It’s one of the few industries with an attainable/ realistic goal, and one that we have within us as a collective to change. It’s also a change that impacts us all not only professionally, but personally for the future of our planet and the generations to come. If you’re reading this and need any more reason to make this the one change we need to come together on, take a look at Sharethrough’s carbon emissions calculator for digital advertising!