Programmatic wasn’t meant to be easy

ProgrammaticWhile one of the promises of programmatic advertising is to drive efficiency, the truth is, it isn’t easy. Dylan McBride reveals his tips to making it work for your brand.

Programmatic advertising has now reached critical mass. For most agencies and advertisers, it is no longer a question of if’ they participate, but ‘how’ to get the best results. Today, there are dozens of conferences, consultants, white-papers and hundreds of companies claiming to fulfil the promises of programmatic buying.

But it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. We’ve now read about ad fraud, high ‘ad-tech taxes’ and witnessed many of the promising ad-tech companies scaling back or closing shop. The endless scrutiny will continue, but programmatic is here to stay.

For media buyers, the pressure to add value through data and more effective media buying has never been higher. But buyer beware. There are dozens of ad technology companies in Asia with slick PowerPoint presentations and large expense accounts that promise to help do just that!

You simply enter your budget into a platform or – even better – send over an insertion order. Your campaign is now magically transformed into fancy graphs and insights supported with all of the latest industry buzzwords.

While one of the promises of programmatic advertising is to drive efficiency, here is the secret nobody wants to tell you: Programmatic isn’t easy. It’s complicated and it requires a well thought out strategy, sophisticated technology and well-trained data and media buying specialists that are experts in navigating this increasingly complex practice.

Some agencies are well positioned to take advantage of this new world and some advertisers will make the large investment to take these capabilities in-house. In order to add value in this new era and compete in the coming years, advertisers and agencies should consider the following (hint, none of these are easy):

mobile phone graph analytics business data - thinkstovk

  1. Invest in data and analytics

If data management isn’t at the centre of your programmatic strategy, prepare to be disrupted in a major way as advertisers will continually demand more insights into how their money is being spent and how people are interacting with their messaging.

Savvy companies that invest in technology to collect, analyse and activate data, while using the insights to refine their buying strategies, will be the winners.

  1. Choose customisable technology

Can you truly create a competitive advantage for your clients utilising the same technology in the same way as your competitors? At AppNexus we talk about moving from programmatic to ‘programmable‘.

The idea is that you should be able to use your own data and build custom solutions that optimise towards your unique marketing objectives. Regardless of which platforms you use, you should demand your ad technology be open and programmable.

  1. Hire and grow the right talent

The best technology in the world isn’t effective unless you have highly-skilled people behind the scenes making it work. The future of media buying will be rooted in data science – not free lunches and concert tickets. Making sense of an increasingly complex customer journey and bringing together disparate data sets isn’t easy and it’s going to be critical to showcase these capabilities. 

Icons for strategically marketing and analysis

Icons for strategically marketing and analysis

For some agencies and advertisers, this transition is well under way, while others will need to drastically change the way they’ve approached media buying over the last 15 years. In many cases, it starts with understanding the productivity of your team’s media buying, identifying where technology can add value and ensuring you have the right people to thrive in a data driven world.

It’s time to stop thinking you’re “doing programmatic” by sending your insertion orders to an ad tech company. Companies that make the investments to master data management, leverage buying technology to their exact needs and retain the right people to help bring it all together will be the winners in this new era.

Dylan McBride is commercial director – Advertiser Technology Group (AppNexus Australia)


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing