• 01 August 2017

    Understanding the facets of any consumer or media journey can unleash a host of insights and ultimately lead to serious business opportunities. Such is the case for programmatic advertising, which has become one of the key areas of investment for advertisers.

    As the programmatic landscape continues to evolve, ISBA has been working closely with our members and the industry to gain a clear picture of the journey involved, giving us a real insight into both the challenges and opportunities that programmatic presents, all of which were highlighted at our recent Roundtable event.

    Featuring insights from our event partners and programmatic experts The Exchange Lab, plus Nationwide's Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media, Alex Bennett, the three hour event was packed with practical learnings for all stages of the programmatic journey.

    Some of the key insights to come from the session are outlined below and can be used to help guide you on your journey to programmatic excellence: 

    1. In-house Expertise: Ensure you have at least one programmatic expert on the team. Be it a marketer or data analyst, your in-house expert should champion the cause, get your colleagues involved, avoid silos and most importantly, get that much needed buy in from the C-Suite. Don’t expect a quick win however. To get C-Suite on side, clearly articulate the commercial benefits and be prepared to tackle internal discussions that will bring about long term changes that establish strategy. 
    2. Vendor Selection: When it comes to choosing the right vendor, don’t be afraid to trial before you buy. Talk to and test as many possible partners as possible and be sure to ask questions and outline any requirements relevant to your organisation, KPIs and long-term goals. Note that vendor performance can vary by location, success in one market does not guarantee success in others.
    3. Owning your data: It has never been more important to know how your data is being used and what happens to it. Outline your data priorities from the get-go and be sure to ask vendors what happens to your first party data at the end of the relationship. Ensure that you have logins to their systems to discover where your ads are being served and make sure you have the right contractual terms in place to allow for this to happen.
    4. Creative Strategy: A weakness with programmatic is creative strategy. Merging dynamic creative with segments is still proving to be a challenge. Using sequential messages will make your communication more relevant. Massive disruption within creative is anticipated, with the younger creative shops leading the charge in trying to sync and integrate with programmatic.
    5. Get the whole team on your side: Your programmatic strategy needs to be understood by all areas of the business. Be sure to bring together different teams internally to be clear on how it will impact the organisation and ensure a consistent joined-up approach across different customer touch points/channels. As procurement teams become more and more involved in media buying, they need to be involved early on to ensure they are aware of the real value of programmatic, rather than just analysing the price.
    6. Programmatic as a Branding Tool: Although traditionally focused on direct response, advertisers are now turning to programmatic to build their brands. However, issues surrounding measurement and value could potentially hinder obtaining the necessary budget.
    7. The Targeting Trap: Programmatic advertising allows you to target down to micro-levels, but this may not necessarily be a wise approach. Try to avoid hyper-targeting and think about moving to a more ‘coincidental’ approach, which should make your consumers feel less like they are under surveillance!
    8. To in-house or not? Making the move from in-house expert to full on in-house programmatic capability is certainly an option. When thinking about whether to fully embrace in-house, think about your overall goals, your strategy and how to ensure that in-house staff are constantly motivated and have access to the latest developments to avoid stagnation. In-house comes in many forms (partial or complete) and there is no 'one size fits all' approach. There are many challenges including budget, knowledge, capability and the ability to hire and retain talent.
    9. Viewability: is 100% viewability a reality? Is it even required? Be clear on your KPIs and set a realistic interpretation of how viewability is to align with them and set your trading terms accordingly. Be sure to discuss what impact your expectations will have on costs. Viewability is an important metric but reviewing it in isolation is a false economy and can lead to you optimising away from your goals.
    10. Consent: No discussion these days is complete without referencing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Tedious? Perhaps. Vital? Most certainly. The impending regulation must inform your discussions, particularly when it comes to gaining consent. Failure to do so could not only result in hefty fines, but could ultimately result in the loss of some of your customers.
    With all of that in mind, don’t expect overnight success using programmatic. Have a realistic picture of success and remember to test, learn and refine! Implement regular milestones to evaluate success across the various steps of your programmatic journey.


    For more information on how The Exchange Lab can assist you and help deliver your programmatic strategy, please visit their website


    If you have any concerns or questions at any stage, ISBA is happy to discuss the realities of programmatic advertising with you and the team, so do get in touch with me


    David Ellison

    Marketing Services Manager, ISBA