Marco Bertozzi: Spearheading Growth
Posted on July 15, 2015 | By Ghada Azzi

As part of VivaKi’s leadership team, Marco Bertozzi is responsible for the programmatic strategy for senior global accounts. Joining VivaKi in 2010, Marco launched and spearheaded the strategy for addressability. As President of Audience on Demand (AOD) EMEA and NA Client Services, he was responsible for driving the phenomenal growth of AOD. The man who was named Programmatic Champion in The Drum’s 2015 Honours List of ‘People to Watch’ discusses the intricate nature of programmatic and why advertisers should embrace it.


What are the challenges advertising firms are facing in making the shift to programmatic, both from a technical standpoint and in convincing clients to make the leap?

Although the end promise of a sophisticated programmatic strategy is to drive efficiency of the buy, better targeting can simplify what was a complex ecosystem. To be able to do so, you need to invest in a lot of infrastructure and work with many different tech partners. This creates challenges for education, understanding and commercials. The danger is that we spend too much time talking about the technology rather than the outcomes for advertisers thereby creating further confusion. That’s why at Publicis Groupe, these teams remain aggregated and VivaKi serves as a centralised point of expertise whilst the planning and buying functions sit within the agencies and are closer to the clients. The team within VivaKi's core consists of product architects, engineers, strategists, and solution designers. They provide programmatic consulting and training and deliver programmatic solutions. 

To get the most out of programmatic whether you are an advertiser or publisher you have to review how you have always done things and change them considerably. This will likely make some people nervous however, where we have seen advertisers fundamentally change their approach to buying, we have seen spectacular results. In other words, we need to spend a lot of time on education, training and making sure that we focus on the benefits and results rather than the description of the technology that powers them.


How does programmatic affect the creative aspect of advertising both in the short and long term?

Programmatic’s capacity has now developed to the point where we can do almost anything we like with any format we like – be that homepage takeovers, skins, large formats, expandables and so on – all based around a particular insight. The opportunity for the distribution of content to the right users is here and now but we need advertisers and their creative partners to help achieve everything that is possible. Yes, technology has revolutionised the way media is planned and bought and will continue to do so, but we have reached a pivotal moment and it is now time for creative agencies to embrace and improve the potential of programmatic. There is huge potential to produce great creative work that is relevant, measurable and appropriately targeted. Advertisers also need to demand action from their creative agencies.

Outside of using the specific creative executions mentioned above we also have the ability to create ads in real time depending on the audience we are reaching and deliver a one to one creative execution. This form of advertising is challenging for the creative agencies, as it does not involve a fully formed ad but rather the aggregation of different elements, all pulled together in milliseconds. The digital creative agencies will need to find a way to embrace this approach before the media companies fill the void.


Big data is often described as the key behind the success of programmatic. Please describe its role in programmatic.

Every time we serve an ad, every time someone visits a page, sees an ad or clicks, we are generating data. We are handling billions if not trillions of these data points. However, once collected you have to act on them and try to make sense of them. These data points can help give you an idea of the type of person you are trying to advertise to (if they have bought airline tickets, downloaded movies, watched Youtube content, etc.). Perhaps what they have been searching for paints a picture for us. Once we have that picture, we then need to see patterns in the behaviours and identify people like them so we can expand the campaign.

The final piece of the jigsaw is then based on how often we show them ads, manage frequency, understand what device they are on, and their journey through the web to decide of the best way to talk to them and build a conversation. This is the reality of big data and for all its complexity, it still boils down to getting the right content in front of the right users at the right time.


Advertisers willing to experiment with media campaigns on leading social networks now have a distinct advantage moving forward. Whether they choose to go big or small, the social web equips advertisers with significantly more consumer data points than ever before to improve the targeting and relevance of online advertising. Where do you come in and what can you offer that in-house marketers can't solely do?

Social cannot be looked at in isolation. With our largest clients we see the different channels as feeding us insights on our customers for us to aggregate into one profile. Social interactions are powerful, but social interactions combined with search, video viewing, display, site visits etc are far more powerful. As we have highlighted above, any advertiser can decide to do social themselves but they will be missing an opportunity if they don't look at the wider ecosystem. There was a time when advertisers discussed taking search in house but that trend in the end stopped, as advertisers realised they needed to take search and add it to everything else they were doing.


“Likes," views and followers were all the rage in 2010. Despite the social media community emphasising engagement instead of reach, media agencies quickly learned that engagement doesn’t scale easily, making it difficult to sell. Today, the data and analytics-driven approach is paramount to drive marketing performance. What’s your stance?

Those signals are still important but we use them to help us scale the campaign. They are pieces of the jigsaw that when we put together give us an important picture. Engagement can be used to inform a media buy rather than act as the end goal. The majority of time spent on mobile devices is within social channels. Today, we have the ability to build and reach audiences in real time across multiple screens and channels. We can use social media to engage audiences with more relevancy and offer them experiences, literally, as they walk into an event. We can use likes to inform what sort of advertising they see. We can then use this to find consumers the exact moment they walk by a brand’s front door and send them a coupon that makes them open it.