Ad Tech’s Performance Review | AdExchanger


Cadent is the latest TV ad buying platform to flex new performance muscles.

Earlier this week, the company announced its acquisition of performance marketing platform AdTheorent for $324 million.

Cadent’s been busy building its programmatic chops over the past year, including buying EMX’s beleaguered supply-side tech in May to supplement its measurement and activation tools for running advanced TV campaigns.

But AdTheorent is part of Cadent’s plan to become an omnichannel platform.

Private equity firm Novacap bought Cadent from Lee Equity Partners over the summer, and is backing Cadent’s ventures into other channels beyond TV, including digital, social and out of home.

Straddling both TV and digital means Cadent must figure out how to measure performance between the two.

While digital performance usually means sales and conversions, “performance TV” can include upper- and mid-funnel metrics like awareness and consideration. Cadent, for example, says performance can mean the cost efficiencies advertisers get from optimizing their media mix.

But for retail media networks, “performance” can sometimes be code for an attribution hack that keeps brands dependent on their RMNs.

RMNs are shunting premium ad budgets into placements on made-for-advertising sites. This allows them to tag online IDs across the open web and, in turn, steal attribution credit for organic sales.

Or, said more bluntly, as Senior Editor James Hercher put it in his column on the topic: “RMNs are robbing brands of their hard-earned organic customers.”

But brands have become addicted to scale, shopper data and the promise of closed-loop attribution – and RMNs use that dependence as leverage to claim attribution credit.


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Still, brands aren’t totally hopeless, and there are a few things they can do to push for more reporting transparency, Hercher says in this week’s episode of The Big Story.

For example, brands should demand log-level data from their ad tech vendors and RMN partners to get a better sense of attributed versus organic conversions. That way, Hercher says, brands can get a better sense of reality and see which partners are actually driving value.



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