5 tips to help agencies pick the perfect programmatic partner


Agencies play a pivotal role in helping brands successfully craft, execute and analyze their advertising campaigns. In today’s complex media landscape, agencies that stand out are the ones who push the boundaries on innovation, offering insightful, cross-channel analysis and other cutting-edge capabilities.

But in order to deliver on these innovative approaches and gain an edge over competitors, agencies need a programmatic partner they can rely on—one that complements their unique strengths as the trusted strategic guide for their clients.

Here, we outline five tips to help agencies select the right programmatic partner.

1) Pick a partner with omnichannel capabilities

Omnichannel advertising is no longer a “nice-to-have.” Today, consumers expect ads to speak directly to them—even as they switch between devices.

You should make sure your programmatic partner is able to effectively identify consumers and run campaigns across devices. With unified media planning, execution, optimization, and reporting within a single platform, you will be well positioned to help your clients understand the customer journey and build personalized and meaningful relationships with consumers.

2) Make sure self-service capabilities are an option

Even if you aren’t ready to take programmatic in-house, you should consider the possibility—and start preparing for it for the long term. That’s why you should make sure your partner offers a self-service approach with a friendly user interface that will enable you to manage the technology internally when the time is right.

Platforms that offer both self-service and managed-service options also give you the flexibility you need, especially when scaling up or in transition. For example, if you are still in the process of hiring the right staff, you should be able to rely on your partner to take over and successfully run campaigns until you have a full team in place.

After all, you want a partner who can support both your current account portfolio and your ideal future portfolio—one full of growth and new business wins.

3) Mark comprehensive training as a must-have

Before you agree to adopt complex new technology, you need to make sure your tech partner has the resources, abilities, and services to effectively train your team.

Partners that offer comprehensive and flexible options such as online courses, e-learning models or on-site training are the strongest choice, giving your team the ability to work around their busy schedules. Flexible options also include flexible service models so that the partner can work with you in the capacity that best suits your needs—whether managed or self-service.

And even after your team undergoes initial training, what kind of additional training and services does your potential partner offer? The best partners will offer ongoing support including add-on trainings for new hires and check-ins such as status calls and newsletters to ensure your team stays up-to-date with developments.

4) Prioritize innovation and strategic thinking

Today, agencies are under increasing pressure to differentiate themselves to keep, and increase, their market share. And one of the best ways to do this is by pushing the boundaries on innovation.

You should choose programmatic partners that offer any number of cutting-edge capabilities, including digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, Advanced TV, and OTT, or digital radio advertising. By working with a programmatic partner that stays up-to-date with the latest developments, you will be better equipped to deal with your client’s changing priorities. You can even encourage your clients to push the boundaries themselves by testing some of these up-and-coming technologies on their own campaigns.

Most importantly, working with a forward-thinking partner means you will make your agency future-proof: If a client eventually decides to branch out into Advanced TV, for instance, they won’t need to move onto a competing agency to make it happen.

5) Elevate analytics to a priority, not an afterthought

Agencies and marketing professionals are under increasing pressure to prove the value of their campaigns and boost marketing ROI. That’s why you should select a programmatic partner with advanced analytics capabilities that can provide media and audience insights to help you plan and optimize your campaigns.

You should make sure your partners are able to provide cross-channel attribution reporting, path-to-conversion analytics and insights into media performance. With cross-channel analysis, you will be well equipped to prove what’s working for your customers and advise on where they can optimize campaign performance.

Choose the right one once

All this is a lot to consider—and it may seem like a lot to ask of a single programmatic provider. So it may be tempting to consider using multiple platforms. In fact, we’ve seen some agencies run part of their campaigns on one platform and the rest on another. They even describe it as a sort of “insurance” strategy: If one platform doesn’t work out, they can always switch to the other.

But this is a misguided approach. Using more than one platform means working with multiple disparate data sources—which would require a lot of unnecessary time to consolidate and reconcile—not to mention time spent on trainings to learn each platform—which can put a strain on your staff’s already limited time.

Agencies that take the time to carefully choose the right partner won’t need an insurance strategy; they’ll have a flexible and innovative programmatic partner that meets their needs now and in the future.