With the knowledge we had a year ago, you wouldn’t be able to survive a day now.

Victor Hammarstrand is joining Netric as our new Account Director. Following stints at IUM, where he was Programmatic Strategist, and Joinville before that. We caught up with Victor to get his thoughts on programmatic in the Nordics from the buyer’s perspective:

It seems like the Nordic ad markets have changed quite a bit over the past year, what’s your perspective on this from the agency side?

It has been a really eventful year - spend has increased significantly, along with competence around programmatic. And with that of course, we’ve also seen growing demands around transparency.

I’d say with the knowledge we had a year ago, you wouldn’t be able to survive a day now.

Specifically, we’re doing more with data, we have more integration with DMPs etc. This ties into brands getting more advanced of course. And we’ve also seen more agency people move to work client side.

It’s the publishers working closest with the buy side that are the ones doing well... One way or another, knowledge and co-operation will lead to increase yield.

What would you say is the current brand view of programmatic?

I’d say it all depends on the brand. On the one side, we have those who are less experienced focusing almost exclusively on questions of fraud and transparency, especially after the whole YouTube fiasco. In Sweden in particular, this has led to lots of debate, which was healthy and useful. But also saw publishers blaming agencies and vice versa – which wasn’t.

On the other side, you have the more advanced, let’s say ‘digital first’ advertisers – who understand these issues, but also how can they can work around them, and still get the most out of programmatic – and are still seeing great results.

Often these are the clients who are more data driven – or, like ecommerce firms, already largely focused online.

Where would you say are the biggest opportunities now for publishers to make more money, or otherwise benefit from programmatic?

From all I’ve seen, it’s the publishers working closest with the buy side that are the ones doing well. I think an important part of this is also the publishers proactively asking the buyers what they need, how they can help… not just saying ‘this is what we have’.

One way or another, knowledge and co-operation will lead to increase yield. It sounds over-simple, and it definitely isn’t easy – but in a complex space, listening and adapting to new processes, KPIs – whatever the next big thing is on the buy side, is likely to lead to better results for publishers.

What are the trends or developments you think publishers should be following most closely – any areas in particular you think will help them in future?

I think bringing round those clients still scared of programmatic – the technophobes still out there – has got to be a priority for publishers and agencies alike. If we can convince them that this is after all a safe and effective way of buying, if ultimately we can maintain its reputation, then opportunity will follow.

The other one is data – with the more advanced clients looking ever more closely at data, publishers have a great opportunity – even collecting and selling that data separately from inventory.

Finally, video is becoming huge, especially in Sweden. And if we’re going to start seeing brand spend come to digital, video and header bidding will play a key role.

So there you go – video, header bidding, transparency and data. Not in that order.

Finally, what made you decide to join Netric?

Many of the publishers I’ve worked with closely have exclusive relationships with Netric, so I was aware from their feedback of the quality and flexibility of the platform they use. And also in my capacity as a buyer of course, I saw they were a leader in terms of inventory quality.

Also, I heard from various bits of feedback that at Netric, the customer support is top notch. That they work closely with each publisher closely to develop their business. And I’m hoping to play a role in building on that even further in future.