Introducing William Hill’s panellist for the Sports Publisher Summit: Dean Robinson

Everyone involved in publishing, advertising and the monetising of websites recognises that there are challenges being faced and a potential shift in the way the industry functions. Digital Sport’s Sport Publisher Summit on Monday 28th October will look to understand from experts in the industry how they are dealing with these new challenges, what the solutions are and try to evaluate what direction the industry is ultimately heading in.

Programmatic Lead at William Hill and panellist on the night Dean Robinson, spoke to Digital Sport and was keen to discuss the role of programmatic in our everyday use of digital. Before getting a flavour for the nature of his industry, we first and foremost wanted to know more about his journey to getting to where he is today.

Dean explained: “My background when I started out was in ad operations and ad tech. I worked for three years at Yahoo! In Ad Operations, and moved on to Sizmek where I stayed for a number of years covering many different roles, one of which was focussed on publisher development and integrating the Sizmek ad-serving technology products with various different partners.

“I then took a slight switch in career as I was very interested and keen in working across programmatic, so my role then went on to working for Omnicom Media Group and their central UK programmatic team. I was primarily managing the ‘inventory marketplace’ which was anything from exchanges to publisher partnerships and everything that came between. I did that for two years before taking up a role with William Hill who obviously have a portfolio of products but primarily focus on sports, but we also have gaming products as well.

“The primary focus initially was helping lead the in-house programmatic planning from an agency team. That can cover not just programmatic buying but direct partnerships, integration etc, anything that would be classed as display or video sits under me.”

William Hill has traditionally been a bookmaker like many others, but of late there’s been a huge switch for gambling and gaming from being in shops to going online. With this in mind, Dean told us in more detail about his day-to-day role at the company.

“My role is focused on getting new customers to join William Hill either online or via the app, and make a first deposit, and as a wider team we focus on targeting our existing customer base more effectively as well. That can be anything from promoting joining bonus’ to prospective new customers to promoting very specific messaging for our existing customer base,” he continued.

The world of advertising surrounds people everyday, yet most don’t know how it works. However everyone’s had that strange moment where a product they’ve viewed has been spotted being advertised on a website or on social media. ‘Cookies’ is the go-to answer to that situation, but there’s far more to it than that. To help explain it, Dean went into a bit more detail about what ‘programmatic’ actually means.

“Programmatic actually just means automated, and whilst other platforms such as TV, Search and social media are all bought in an automated manner, the mantel ‘programmatic’ is generally only applied to display and short form video buying,” he said.

“The primary role of the channel is to automate the process of buying multiple ad formats across thousands of sites, as well as applying specific data strategies where relevant, and programmatic buying platforms make it easier and more cost effective from a resource and a buying standpoint.”

Despite the importance of what Dean does, he’s foreseeing challenges on the horizon, as the changing world of online means people in similar roles are having to adapt: “One of the big challenges programmatic has right now is how we’ll identify audiences in a soon to be cookieless world. So the big challenge is how programmatic will react; what type of partnerships in technology are going to be in place? Will it be advertisers, agencies and publishers who circumvent these challenges?

“Bear in mind that everyday we’re competing as an industry for ad spend from facebook and google who don’t have these issues because they can identify their users without using cookies. So at William Hill, from a performance marketing standpoint, how do we compete with those channels who find it easier to identify in market gambling audiences? We can collectively pull together to compete against facebook and google.”

For more information on the upcoming Sports Publisher Summit, click here, or purchase a ticket below.

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