AdTechpalooza and positive-sum thinking
Advertisers are reviewing their AdTech stacks and why a positive-sum mindset is needed in digital advertising
I shared my first longer form (reading time is like 3 minutes) article in a while this week about the volume of AdTech reviews currently happening. Check it out here - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/adtechpalooza-why-advertisers-suddenly-evaluating-wayne-blodwell/
There’s a LOT of action in AdTech right now. This week alone (writing this on a Wednesday) MediaOcean have acquired FlashTalking, Smaato has sold to Media & Games and Captify have sold a majority stake to Private Equity firm SFW Capital Partners.
There’s a really great interview prior to the news of the MediaOcean acquisition, with Bill Wise, Co-Founder & CEO here - https://www.beet.tv/2021/07/flashtalking-mediaocean.html
My two cents - MediaOcean is a fascinating company. I’ve made a note to do more of a deep-dive post about them in future, because their evolution from the original DDS and MediaBank merger in 2011 is very under-rated in my humble opinion. Plus. I spent a year or so of my early career being an ‘Adazzle champion’ (a web-based way to book digital media IOs), so media booking systems are dear to my heart.
Positive Sum vs Zero Sum
Definition 1 - In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which an advantage that is won by one of two sides is lost by the other. If the total gains of the participants are added up and the losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.
Definition 2 - A positive sum occurs when resources are somehow increased and an approach is formulated in which the desires and needs of all concerned are satisfied. One example would be when two parties both gain financially by participating in a contest, no matter who wins or loses.
My two cents - we are often taught that life is about winning and losing. You get the grades or you don’t. You win the school 100m race, or you don’t. This is zero sum and this mindset often transposes to real-world situations in adulthood - business is one of those. It’s very simple to comprehend, and those that are single-minded will align with this.
However, in many fields, positive-sum is a much better way to go, whereby you as a company are not trying to take away from another, you are trying to grow the whole. This is especially true when it comes to infrastructure.
I think in some ways many are aligning with the wrong approach when it comes to identity in digital advertising. A zero-sum approach means that there will be a handful of companies which commercialize the way user-level targeting and measurement should work and they benefit from it. Positive sum is that companies create layers in which many can benefit.
Specifically; Apple, Amazon and Facebook = zero sum. ID5, UID and The Privacy Sandbox = positive sum.
I really wish more people and companies would think bigger about how identity should benefit all of the internet - publishers, advertisers and users. The internet really is a true case of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - lets keep it that way.