Some of the more common characteristics seen in the early stages of new adtech include big investments in sales by adtech vendors, experimentations by marketers with limited successes, and opportunistic practices impacting the ROI of advertiser dollars. Thankfully our programmatic marketplace is starting to see its way clear, understanding that control of media buying, transparency of marketing practices, and the management of owned data, are all achievable marketing opportunities.
The levers of control are extensive, but can you see them?
The automation of media buying has brought advertisers an enormous opportunity to see through the relationships and deals of longstanding traditional media buying processes. Not only are the levers of automation extensive to the buying process, but also in the targeting of audiences, in the capture, analysis and management of data, and in the verification processes that we are able to adopt across all real-time buying.
A frustrating challenge of the programmatic marketplace is that commentators hold automation to account for issues such as viewability, quality of inventory and fraud, whilst other marketing channels are not. That is because unlike traditional media buying practices, Programmatic can actually be held to account. In 15 years of Internet marketing, when have traditional publishers been questioned about viewability? Programmatic automation now actually allows for measurement of these metrics like never before, raising the standards of media buying.
When researching programmatic, look to the extensive range of levers. Never discount new DSPs that introduce features that may enhance your vertical better than others. Not all DSPs are created equal. Automation of media buying also refers to data, planning, fraud and verification platforms. Programmatic enables marketers to hold all forms of media buying to account. Don't put all your faith in a DSP because you ticked their box. Verify the buys against third-party verification platforms and hold your DSP to account. Investigate the various data platforms and overlay data metrics to ensure you are targeting, in-target, as you should expect. Ticking a box in a DSP doesn't guarantee fraud protection, so look to other third-party fraud solutions.
Programmatic is held to account, because it can be held to account. Look behind the curtain.
Define transparency for me?
The other day I'd asked a client to define transparency in terms of their media buying activities. Whilst I was left somewhat disappointed I was not surprised to hear of fairly basic mid-campaign reports and post-campaign reports. These traditional media mindsets should not carry through to programmatic marketing. Programmatic automation is by its very nature in 'real-time', and the many levers allow you to see through the processes with clear transparency, in real time.
Programmatic platforms provide extensive insight and visibility as to where your media is being bought, against which audiences, and against your owned data. Additionally third-party verification platforms provide further insight into your buys providing validation mechanisms, as well as driving a deeper understanding of your data and targeted audiences. Extensive transparency should be demanded of your programmatic activities, not only to hold buying dollars to account but to also provide marketers with valuable insight, feeding back into live strategic planning processes.
Advertisers do own the data?
In my years working 'client' side, I would often engage debates with partners, publishers and media companies as to who owned the data. Inevitably as the owners of the customer we would insist that we owned the customer data. The automation of marketing now swings the weight of this argument straight back inline with the client.
The focus and strengths of programmatic marketing lie in the unprecedented ability to focus on your customers, and your audiences. The discussion is no longer centred around a publisher audience, but the focus is centred on the definition and identification of the your audiences. Rather than depend on a direct sales rep pitching the demographics of their audiences, programmatic finds your audiences no matter where they lie, eliminating any doubt as to who owns the data. Programmatic marketing offers advertisers an enormous opportunity to manage, mine, and extract value from the data that advertisers own.
The new land of opportunity
Programmatic marketing pulls aside the curtain of secrecy to many traditional digital media buying practices. When engaged in programmatic activities, be sure to gain control of how your media is being bought, demand transparency of where your dollars are spent, and take advantage of the enormous insights and possibilities in truly owning your data.
Michael Ungerboeck is CEO of Admatic.