Advertising Guest Columns
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Top 5 Programmatic Problems For Brands

Programmatic advertising accounts for 79% of all UK digital display ad spending (£3.39 billion out of £4.29 billion), and that share will reach 85% by 2019, according to eMarketer – for many publishers, it’s a significant and growing source of revenue.

Increasingly, however, we’re seeing more and more questions being asked about the efficiencies of programmatic with rising levels of concerns about the cost of technology, inefficiencies in bidding, and accurately measuring return on investment (ROI).

Here are the top 5 issues brands face today.

  • Not maximising the value of customer data

Even with the enforcement of the GDPR brands still have an enormous amount of first-party customer data at their disposal. The problem is that very few know how to generate maximum return on that data. The key to extracting valuable insight from data is how you analyse it. First, the data needs to be cleansed to ensure any ‘bad data’ is removed – as the saying goes ‘you get out what you put in’.

Secondly, the data analysis process needs to be designed in line with the overarching business goals. If your goal is to increase the volume of sales, you need to measure which audience segments are driving high sales volumes. This sounds obvious but many brands are looking for insights in one area which doesn’t contribute to the business goal.

Finally, the insights from the data need to be translated into actions. For example, if one audience segment is performing particularly well, which channels can you increase investment in? Where can you take budget from to do this? What’s the best creative for that segment?

  • Missed tracking opportunities

Over the last decade, brands have integrated numerous technology platforms designed to capture the data required to optimise marketing campaigns. With such large-scale technology stacks, there are often gaps in tracking which results in inaccurate data being used for optimisation purposes. For example, a programmatic ad might be missing a parameter that identifies the source, or a cookie window might be set to 14 days when others are set to 30 days.

Such mistakes are easily made when integrating multiple technologies that track campaigns across multiple channels but they can be easily missed in the fast-paced, ever-changing, programmatic landscape.

  • Spending too much on technology that is not driving value

As more and more technology has become available, it’s not uncommon for a brand to have 10 or more technologies in place. The problem is that some of those technologies may have duplicate functionality and some may be completely redundant.

Additionally, many brands fail to understand the commercial arrangements they have with technology vendors – regardless of whether they have a direct relationship with vendors or the relationship exists via a media agency. Often there are ‘added value’ products that are available or more favourable rates if you negotiate.

  • Not having the right skills to get the most from technology and data

As technology has evolved and become more and more important in the daily lives of marketers many brands have been left with skills gaps in their teams which are hard to identify from the inside. Experts can spot when a piece of technology is not being used to maximum effect and provide the necessary training, or recommend a skills set to look for in a new hire.

Often, an audit reveals new technology is required, the auditors can also say whether the existing team has the right skills or processes in place to integrate and maximise the value of the new technology.

  • Trading methods that do not maximise results

There are many different trading mechanisms that are used in programmatic, for example, programmatic direct, private marketplace, open marketplace, first price auction, second price auction, and header bidding. All of these have their pros and cons and perform better in some situations compared to others.

Evaluating when and how each trading mechanism is being used and which audiences are being targeted reveals inefficiencies in trading that can be easily fixed by either shifting budget, changing targeting parameters or increasing/reducing bids.

Today’s CMOs have no option other than to embrace programmatic and data-driven marketing but getting it right is a challenge. By investing in the right technology, getting the set-up of that technology right and having the right people in place to maximise the value of the technology and media trading a CMO can relax – until the next programmatic or technology revolution comes along!

Wayne Blodwell, CEO, The Programmatic Advisory