How European publishers set their tech priorities for the year

Digiday’s Digital Publishing Summit Europe is underway in Monte Carlo, where executives meet to find solutions to their long list of digital pain points. In that environment, deciding which fires to fight is a challenge in itself.

With that in mind, we asked five of the attendees: What’s the biggest tech trend you’re focused on in 2015? Here’s what they had to say.

Stephen Otterspoor, manager, advertising yield and technology, Sanoma
Data. It’s huge for us this year and we’re making it work harder for us internally and with our advertising clients. For our advertisers, we’re integrating all the data that we have to improve the advertising products that we offer. It’s about bringing more relevant information to the advertiser and helping them combine our products across mobile, Web, print and TV.

From an internal point of view, we’re using data-driven algorithms to optimize things like our floor pricing in our auction. Managing floor pricing is a very labor-intensive process, so we’re automating it to make sure our people are focused on new projects to help us grow.

Simon Davies, managing director, EMEA, Quartz
Viewability. It’s something advertisers want and expect before the technology companies have figured out how to measure it consistently. That’s a source of frustration. We’re looking for new solutions to the problem. Of the 16 or so companies accredited by MRC, we’re only talking to three, because the technology varies so much and the vendors often don’t appreciate the needs of the publisher. One of the few companies that does is Moat; hats off to them.

Paul Lomax, chief technology officer, Dennis Publishing
Responsive. Trying to improve the mobile experience across our key brands without compromising on other screen sizes, in a way that works commercially. We’re testing responsive ad formats, dynamic smart placement tech, and other ways of improving engagement for users on mobile like a rolling read. It’s a tricky enough problem to solve for simple news sites, but with our brands like there’s a lot of utility, functionality and data to fit in on a small screen.

Ben Maher, U.K. advertising director, Mashable
The evolution of the programmatic space with client trading desks, agency trading desks and a switch to private marketplaces. This year, you’re hearing people talking about not the open exchange but a shift to PMPs. Also, guaranteed programmatic is starting to rise in conversations. It’s a constantly shifting landscape for understanding how to monetize in that space. That’s in relation to where we are commercially in Europe. Getting that stuff right from the start is going to be important.

Conor Mullen, commercial director, RTE Digital
Differentiation. The thing we constantly focus on is differentiating our commercial offering. Technology is an enabler, it’s not the driver of your strategy. We’re using technology to differentiate, be it programmatic, HTML 5, rich media and more. But there are so many other ways you can differentiate yourself. We command 11 percent of the digital display market in Ireland versus our 3 percent audience share because of that focus.

Anyone marketer can buy cheap media these days; there’s a ton of it. In that environment, you’ve got to offer stand-out solutions not only in tech but in every other way possible.

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