Programmatic technology has cemented itself as the backbone of digital media transactions. Data-driven, highly-targeted automated ad buys give data buyers and owners far more control than ever before. As more and more media becomes available through and reliant upon programmatic trading, brands and agencies have been forced to adopt fluid and responsive media buying strategies.
Where in the past, programmatic adoption was the primary concern, brands and agencies are now looking toward the future, where the programmatic tools themselves continue to develop to handle exciting new consumer touchpoints. The multi-channel conversion funnel has grown even wider over the past few years as consumers touch media in more ways than we ever thought possible. As brands and agencies look to manage their media investments in the future, they’ll have to keep the following issues top of mind.
The proliferation of media channels has flooded the market with inventory. This is a blessing and a curse for brands and agencies. On the one hand, it means that there are a number of different strategic routes they can take to reach a consumer. On the other, it means there are questions about the best path to take, and if one route will sacrifice scale for performance, or vice versa.
One key thing to keep in mind is that even as media strategies expand to cross-channel plans, quality is still of the utmost importance. The industry has seen a rise in quality-control technologies, and while some may view these as an unnecessary tax on media trading, the truth is that they are needed to help advertisers deliver the best possible campaign.
And of course, marketers need to be fluid in their definition of quality as well. There is an established idea of quality or “premium” content on the desktop that does not fit the mobile web and in-app environments. For marketers to continue purchasing the highest-quality inventory and audience programmatically, they will have to shift their views on so-called “premium” depending on the channel.
Of course, with a desire for quality comes a need for control, and there are many levels to dive into when it comes to taking control over spending. Right now, many brands have reached the level where they use data to control who sees their messages. In the near future, nearly all brands will be doing this, and they’ll primarily rely on their own first-party data to do so.
But control over programmatic goes much deeper than that. Many brands seek to extend their control beyond the targeting to the technology itself. This takes some different forms, whether it’s an in-house team managing all of the media buying, or a direct relationship with a tech company that is handed off to the agency, which becomes responsible for the hands on keyboards. All told, brands want a much better idea of where their ad dollars are going, and how each channel is performing.
That brings us to transparency, which has remained central to all conversations around programmatic for the past few years. As more budget is transacted programmatically, across multiple channels, it is imperative that marketers and agencies understand where the money is going and how each channel impacts conversions. Once again, there are varying degrees that marketers can pursue on this front: they may choose total transparency, in which it makes sense for them to completely own the technology and buying process from start to finish. Others may simply want a clear view into the pricing differences across different channels, with additional insight into factors like fraud and viewability.
All of these considerations are worthwhile, and they’ll only continue to grow in importance as more and more media is transacted programmatically. With all of the importance placed on reaching consumers across channels and throughout the funnel, marketers now need to ensure that their programmatic strategies are ready to move into the future.