At just over a decade old, programmatic advertising is everywhere around us. It is no surprise this channel quickly became the way buyers deploy their digital advertising. With almost 85% of the US digital display ad market bought via programmatic platforms and processes in 2019—a stat expected to creep up to 88% by 2021—the decision isn’t whether it’s a ‘yes or no’ to use it, instead it’s a matter of who is going to deploy your programmatic efforts. Here are 6 evaluation questions we felt new programmatic buyers should be asking potential partners in 2019.
1) How long have you or your company been working with programmatic advertising?
As with the “social media guru” boom of the mid 2000’s, we're seeing the same influx of programmatic advertising gurus today. We can thank the low cost of entry to execute. With these “gurus” trying to sell you their consulting services and media management, check resumes and ask whether they have been sell-side, buy-side, in an agency setting or client side, hands-to-keyboard, or simply just sold it. I am all for those fast learners; companies must start somewhere but be sure to trust the people you’re giving your media budget to those that have done it before. Look for those partners who are tracking attribution differently and who offer a level of service you're not getting from other media companies.
2) What metrics do you evaluate success at each stage of the marketing funnel?
While programmatic has become the method to deploy display advertising, it naturally is a demand generation tactic more so than lead generation. We see it differently. Most times when it comes to the success or failure of a campaign—yes, even within a display campaign—the number of leads generated reigns supreme. This is especially true for those who don’t budget millions to build brand equity. Decreasing website traffic costs and cost-per-action/conversion are some mid and low funnel metrics, respectively, that should be an area of focus in this space. Be wary of those who approach programmatic advertising the same way they would a traditional digital media buy.
3) How do you measure leads and attribution?
Your programmatic advertising partner should be just that: a partner. Forget the order takers, instead work with those pushing the envelope getting tracking tags set up properly ensuring accurate campaign measurement. Last view and last click attribution are the methods to measure conversions in digital advertising, keep an eye out for the increasing authority of cross-device attribution. With data and ad serving tracked back to the more desirable device ID over browser cookie—especially with news of increased privacy constraints—marketers are able to prove ROI credit to mobile or OTT device impressions driving conversions on laptops.
4) How do you address Brand Safety?
Brand Safety is the cornerstone of every kick off meeting before campaign deployment. Your programmatic partner should already have these built-in campaign settings; however, brand safety must also be dictated by…the brand! Brand safety is a collaborative discussion and implemented by the collective team. Your partner should bring to the planning table a variety of brand safety tactics such as domain, IP or publisher blacklisting. For more complex brand safety deployment, page-level blacklisting via Grapeshot, is proven to help with event specific brand safety situations as well. You should never go to market with a blank slate.
5) What new tactics are you capable of deploying?
Programmatic advertising is ever evolving as each month passes. Some organizations bring together disparate platforms providing value through their own proprietary processes, while others will partner with technologies that bring most of these disparate systems together. The former provides scale of inventory and data, while the latter offers speed to market and cleaner reporting. In 2019, Connected TV, streaming radio and Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) should be on your media plans for discussion.
6) How often do you optimize your data segments?
Specifically referring to third party data (3PD), the data attributes that makeup the audience exposed to your addressable market changes over time. This is especially true if your campaign is longer than three months. The 3PD segments you target should change with other unknown data attributes identified through your partner’s DSP or DMP. As the advertiser, you may share the known attributes of your target audience—household income, age, in-market data—that your partner can apply to a variety of flights. However, these unknown segments—often the psychographic data (i.e. spa mavens, big spenders, etc.) are those that are not as obvious, but could have value. These could be cycled in and out throughout the campaign duration to keep the audience data fresh. These are just six of the top questions we came up with to help folks ask of their prospective programmatic advertising partner in 2019. What other questions would you ask?