Spoiler alert: This is not another list discussing the five or six reasons why you should bring programmatic in-house. That writing is on the wall. Since the start of 2018, it has been clear that blue-chip brands are making that move and the story isn’t going to fade.
Recently, an Adobe market survey found that 86% of brands and 89% of agencies are planning to spend more on programmatic ad buying in 2018 — meaning marketers are prioritizing greater control of their online media buying. The same survey found that two out of three marketers are planning to bring their programmatic efforts in-house by 2022, and the other third will do so partially. I think it’s safe to say that programmatic will become synonymous with digital advertising in the near future.
Closing The Loop
But part of conversation isn’t getting light. How can you “close the loop” on programmatic buying with an automated approach to reporting and insights — not only for your programmatic data but with other marketing tactics, programs and business impact information (e.g., sales)? It’s a topic that is consistently being elevated by marketing leaders.
Programmatic buying as a capability isn’t the end goal. The technology may be new but the holy grail of smarter marketing that is more efficient, effective and impactful remains the same.
Double Checking Your Programmatic Tech Shopping List
If you have already brought programmatic in-house, or you’re planning to, you’ll be adding to your tech stack. This will include, for example, new DSPs, your DMP, your ad server, one or more ad verification platforms that specialize in viewability, brand safety and ad fraud.
But what in-house programmatic marketers often fail to add to their list is a way to bring all of the real-time information generated by these platforms into one place. Instead, this capability is often relegated to 90s-era manual reporting tools like Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations or their millennial offspring, the G-Suite.
The problem with this approach is simple: While your execution tools give you the ability to buy in real time, your reporting and insights flow out every 30 days — or longer — due to the manual data crunching involved. That doesn’t help inform real-time buying decisions. It potentially wastes valuable marketing dollars and occupies analytics talent with low-impact data prep activity.
This is why marketers are turning to address this issue with advanced technologies to provide measurement, insights and reporting that closes the loop with their new buying capabilities.
How Leading Brands Are Closing The Loop
Let’s make this concept real. Here are five scenarios that illustrate how global brands are finding success:
• Automotive companies are leveraging in-house programmatic for hyper-targeted, local advertising and are connecting their campaign spend and performance data to business impact outcomes at the local dealership level. This includes: web visits, car configurations, dealer visits, test drives and sales.
• Music labels are leveraging their first-party data to programmatically target the right fans on weekly new release schedules across iTunes, Amazon and more. Creating programmatic views for media spend, engagement and sales allows creative marketers to throttle spending in hyper-quick campaign flights measured in days.
• Gaming companies are leveraging their first-party player data to quickly test and learn new programmatic combinations of channels, creative and formats with behavioral data-based audiences.
• Pharmaceutical companies are putting the media transparency mandate into operational mode by having real-time access to a new set of KPIs that blend viewability, ad fraud and brand safety data into their media cost and performance KPIs.
• E-commerce retail companies are connecting their programmatic search data with real-time site and inventory analytics to optimize media for higher average order values, sales and revenue — while pausing keywords for out-of-stock products to simultaneously drive efficiency and a better customer experience.
Going 100% In House — Or Not
The reality of today’s brand programmatic trend is that not every organization will follow the lead of L’Oreal (disclosure: L’Oreal is a Datorama customer) or Netflix by going completely in-house. There are many reasons for this. Some are budgetary, some are because of skill sets, some are related to positive agency relationships. Many companies are adapting by taking some programmatic in-house. That way they own the data and the technology but leverage their agencies for strategy and execution.
Across the spectrum of options, having closed-loop access to data, reporting and insights is the foundation to benefit from programmatic — whether or not you want to own all of the skills and infrastructure involved.
This article first appeared in www.forbes.com
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