In this exclusive “Masters of Media” series, Integral Ad Science (IAS) speaks to the Movers and Shakers of the Southeast Asia advertising industry, on all matters digital.
Nelson Tsai is the Associate Digital Operation Director at OMG. He’s a digital advertising expert and understands the advertising technology ecosystem extremely well and uses data and insights to optimise the client’s campaigns at OMG.
Integral Ad Science (IAS): Nelson, tell us more about your digital advertising journey.
Nelson Tsai, OMG (Nelson): In my current capacity as Associate Digital Operation Director at Omnicom Media Group Hong Kong, I am responsible for the ad operations for the entire agency group and DMP strategy for clients such as Dairy Farm, Nestle, Daimler, and SmarTone.
I’m originally from Taiwan and I started my career working for Facebook and Twitter’s authorized reseller. Later I progressed into the programmatic world by joining Cheetah Mobile- a global utility app and casual gaming publisher. During my time with them, I was responsible for monetizing their inventory programmatically, by working with different bidders around the world.
For my next move after Cheetah Mobile, I decided to gain experience in a different market and I moved to Singapore where I joined SpotX, a leading video SSP, where I spent the next year and a half. I helped media owners to maximize their programmatic revenue and worked with DSPs and Trading Desks on their programmatic video campaigns across Asia. Enjoying the exposure to different markets in the region led me to my next career venture in Hong Kong.
I joined PHD Hong Kong in 2019 as an Associate Programmatic Director working on one of our biggest key accounts, HSBC. After just over a year I was promoted to our group’s special division unit OMG DATA, as the Associate Digital Operations Director, where I have been performing my role since.
IAS: What are the key industry developments you are excited about?
Nelson: There are always emerging ad formats coming out of the market including OTT, Connected TV, Audio, Digital Out-of-Home, In-Game, In-Car, XR ads. All these new formats are not only new vehicles for marketers to convey their marketing ideas, in a more personalized way than ever but also all these formats are accessible programmatically. Digital signals can be leveraged, and messages can be personalized to really grab consumers’ attention. Data can be gathered to track the O2O activities that consumers go through in their daily lives and marketers can use the data to conduct more precision marketing. Everything is data-driven.
Another area that excites me is new solutions for brand safety and supply chain transparency. I have seen companies presenting their outcomes of research, to solve the marketer’s previous pain points, such as contextual brand safety in In-Video and In-App environments, and lack of visibility in the supply path. I look forward to seeing more mature solutions for advertisers to really invest in what benefits their brands and campaigns the most.
IAS: What is your opinion regarding the industry’s move from brand safety to brand suitability?
Nelson: Compared to the concept of brand safety, brand suitability means more proactivity for me. Previously the limitations of the technology meant we could passively adopt inclusion lists and exclusion lists, leading to strict blocking. Now that we have more advanced technology, advertisers can adopt a more nuanced approach and focus on finding suitable places for brands and campaigns. The application of more mature contextual targeting can help advertisers avoid inappropriate content more wisely as we can now read between the lines of the certain website content, instead of just detecting of certain words appear there.
I think this move from brand safety to brand suitability maximizes media investment and eliminates missed opportunity for clients due to strict blocking. I look forward to more mature tech for brand suitability that can ensure advertisers be free of these concerns.
IAS: What are the key initiatives pertaining to digital media quality your company is prioritizing right now? E.g. ad fraud, viewability, brand suitability
Nelson: We have been educating our clients, trying to raise their awareness of ad fraud, viewability, and brand suitability. There have been quite a few events since last year in our market and many brands are aware of the importance to really investigate where they advertise. At the same time, advertisers have been concerned with the quality of inventory where their ads appear. We have been working with ad verification vendors, like IAS, to ensure our clients an effective and efficient digital media buying that guarantees brand safety.
IAS: What is the key transformation you foresee in the latter half of the year when it comes to consumers and marketer behaviour?
Nelson: There has been a lot of information on the Internet and consumers have been reliant on the Internet to dig deeper on what they want to know more of. When consumers are making decisions on their consumptions, how a product is produced and what a brand’s perspective on any issues can all impact the consumers’ decisions.
Consumers now care about the customer experience, including both online and offline and they are very concerned about how their online behaviours are being tracked and how their personal data is being used.
Marketers have been obliged to respond to consumers’ needs, including giving them seamless customer experiences, personalized media content, and showing their engagements in key issues: COVID-19, social diversity, etc. Data-driven marketing has risen its importance and they are encouraged to start to think about their data strategy, and how to own and make use of their own 1st party data, especially in the post-cookies and post-IDFA era.
IAS: What are the agencies’ new normal in the post corona world?
Nelson: The new normal requires more agility and flexibility in our approach to clients. We are working more collaboratively than ever before and are required to respond and act swiftly to make a better decision for our clients faster.
We always provide our clients with insightful brand safety strategies and respond quickly to all the incidences. We endeavour to help our clients with their digital transformation strategies and are with them throughout any situation.
We are prepared and resourced to tackle any challenge.
IAS: What is the best advice you ever received in your career?
Nelson: Stay curious and always be open to learn new things. The industry is ever-changing and we always need to be ready for new things.