Convince, don’t confuse: why we must cut out the jargon and buzzwords from ad tech

As the advertising industry becomes increasingly bogged down by technical terms and neverending acronyms, M&C Saatchi Mobile's Kabeer Chaudhary believes 2018 needs only one message: make advertising simple again

Don’t panic. There are no walls being built or casual nuke threats being thrown around.

If you’ve spent some time in adtech, I am assured you would have seen at least one or a few such sales pitches: “We have a disruptive technology which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning stacked with a layer of a distributed blockchain ledger using big data at scale to target millennials.”

The shared mantra in such cases is that if I can’t convince you, I’ll confuse you.

The mantra ‘if I can’t convince you, I’ll confuse you’ needs to end

It requires absolutely zero creativity in using buzzwords and geekspeak to create an aura and mystery around a concept. However, on the other hand, it requires a higher level of understanding to be able to simplify complex subject matters.

As Da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

The advertising world often gets caught up in their buzzwords and jargons, overlooking the simplicity of concepts. With the advent of technology, we like to over-emphasise how advertising has changed over time, but ignore the fact how beautifully basic principles of marketing apply in our day to day digital advertising concepts.

For that reason, I believe in the usage of analogies to explain digital marketing concepts in simple terms. Real world analogies help you to deliver the message in a much more interesting format and at the same time help you to manifest your mastery over the subject matter.

Take for example a concept such as header bidding. A revolutionary concept in the programmatic space which is changing the game for a lot of legitimate publishers. 

Header bidding is a unified auction conducted by publishers outside of their primary ad server, which allows advertisers to cherry-pick impressions at the highest priority.

Now it’s not complicated for programmatic veterans to understand a definition such as this, however could be a challenge for a newbie to rollercoaster around auctions and primary ad servers

So, in that case to explain this concept to a beginner, I’d say imagine you’re the President of the United States and you are required to recruit an assistant. In the hiring process, if you give priority to your family, followed by your friends, then your close aides and then the rest of the applicants, there is a very high chance you will end up hiring your daughter as the assistant.

However, if you followed the header bidding ideology you would welcome applications from all of United States and based on merit, qualification and experience be able to award the job to the most suitable candidate. Don’t be the Donald. Try header bidding

Or take for example, Ads.txt.

Ads.txt stands for Authorized Digital Sellers and is a simple, flexible and secure method that publishers and distributors can use to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory.

The definition sounds fairly simple for an adtech expert. However If I’m asked to explain ads.txt to a newbie, I’d say Imagine Louis Vuitton finds out that there are a lot of shops selling counterfeit LV products. They decide to release a simple one page document which lists all the authorized sellers for Louis Vuitton.

Now every time a shopper wants to buy a genuine LV bag, he has to simply go up on the internet, look up the list, find an authorised seller, get his hands on that LV bag and begin to feel awesome. Both sides win; genuine shopper meets genuine brand.

In programmatic advertising language: Louis Vuitton is the publisher. The authorised sellers are the listed SSPs and exchanges. And that one pager is called ads.txt

Keep it simple.

So, next time in a meeting if there is someone confusing you with buzzwords and jargons, you should ask them to explain it to you with the help of a real world analogy.

You’ll get either an interesting story or an an awkward silence.

Kabeer Chaudhary is the regional director APAC at M&C Saatchi Mobile


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