Q&A: Maria Herrström, Head of Delivery at Netric

Header bidding will move even more towards open source. That is where the transparency is, and therefore the trust from a publisher perspective.
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Maria Herrström is the new Head of Delivery at Netric. Her role involves working closely with all Netric’s publisher customers, to ensure they can maximise all possible revenue opportunities. We spoke to Maria about the latest thinking on header bidding, brand safety and what’s next for programmatic across the Nordics:

Where does header bidding go from here - will it be as important in future?

I definitely think it will be important in future – and will move even more towards open source. That is where the transparency is, and therefore the trust from a publisher perspective.

In future, we will see a move from hosting the auction in the header, to server-to-server integrations instead. And that shift will accelerate once the whole universal ID question is resolved.

In the server as in the header, I believe open source will lead the way – and we’re already seeing interest in this area across the Nordics. In the server, any question around latency is largely resolved, so there is of course the opportunity to add even more demand.

What’s your take on the state of brand safety and transparency right now, and where does the industry need to improve?

I’ve always thought it’s important to have transparent ways of working in programmatic, because even without, it’s already hard to keep absolute track of all of the market and how each part fits together.

GDPR has really changed way we think about transparency – across a range of different industries, not just advertising, people have been forced to think more deeply about how we use technology – and how all the different moving parts are working together. It has forced people to see you are part of a bigger thing, with, at least in most cases, the same values and goals.

The recent announcement of the six exchanges, including Rubicon Project coming together under TAG is another great step towards bring us closer to our goal.

What about video? What’s the current view from the sell side, and how can publishers make the most of it?

What I see with video is there is a lot of demand, but not so much on the inventory side. There are opportunities there for publishers, but let’s be clear that doesn’t necessarily mean investing in more, costly video content – after all, you have in-banner video and outstream formats too.

However, lots of publishers still haven’t enabled these options, perhaps in some cases because they have outsourced video completely – so are no longer used to selling it themselves. As for the TV broadcasters specifically, some are missing out because of the bundling effect of selling both traditional TV and online video together.

That type of bundled TV/digital approach seems to mean that some of the more exciting, mobile-specific opportunities in video tend to fall by the wayside. Vertical video formats are a good example of this – Snap and Facebook in particular are all over this, but not so much everyone else.

What’s next for media and advertising in the Nordics? What do you see as the next major trends?

1. Vertical video ad formats - simply because that is the way we use our phones.

2. A lot more activity in audio. Podcasting is already huge – and the ad industry is still playing catch up – there is big potential here for original, engaging ads. And I think we will see lots of exciting new stuff around audio in the next year.

3. And last but not least, out of home aka outdoor – we are talking a lot about this at the moment. Though arguably it hasn’t really broken out yet in terms of programmatic, and there are still discussions here around when the tech is 100% ready for large scale campaigns. But that day is getting closer and closer.

Why did you (re)join Netric?

When I joined last time around, I had been working in ad ops, and so it was a very interesting space to move into, as programmatic offered a much more productive, easier way of working than what we’d been used to before.

Netric was a big player then, as it still is now. I wanted to come back as it’s clearly a great team to work in. But also, working here is a unique way to get a bigger perspective on the industry. It brings you into contact with so many different people across all parts of the market.

Daniel Ahlbert