6 key steps to getting value from programmatic investment


Programmatic was in the spotlight a lot in 2017. Between big brands reducing investment in digital advertising, and arguments around transparency and quality, it’s fair to say that there are some skeptics in the industry as to the value programmatic brings to their marketing mix.

However, despite the skepticism, recent research we conducted in partnership with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) showed that global programmatic budgets are up an average of 11% since last year. This trend does not surprise us. Programmatic brings a number of benefits to your marketing mix, such as actionable insight, granular and automated targeting, and reduced budget waste.

How can you ensure that you’re making the most of programmatic in 2018? These six steps will help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your digital advertising dollars and reaping the rewards.

Six key steps to getting value from programmatic investment

1. Focus on the long-term goal

Programmatic is notorious for the rise of ‘hard and fast’ metrics like Click Through Rate (CTR). While these types of metrics give you some idea of how campaigns are performing, they rarely tell the whole story. You need to agree on your overall objective and track everything back to the long-term goal with meaningful metrics, such as sales uplift or return on investment (ROI).

2. Take a full-funnel approach

It may be tempting to put all of your focus on retargeting all of the consumers who have indicated purchase signals, however, constantly targeting the same group of consumers can lead to over-saturation.

Instead, you should aim to take a full-funnel approach with programmatic. Incorporate branding tactics like video or private marketplaces (PMPs) which can more effectively fill your pipeline. With these tactics you’ll be able to measure success in a similar way to acquisition goals.

3. Check the box with data protection

A fundamental part of ensuring your programmatic activities are future-proof is to ensure that you are prepared for the upcoming GDPR law which will alter the way you can collect and use customer data in Europe. An unsurprising number of survey respondents (83%) said preparing for GDPR was their biggest priority for 2018. Meet with your programmatic partners, ensure you have a compliance roadmap in place, and think about which tactics will be least affected by the changes.

RELATED: Worried about what a post-GDPR world will look like? Why not join our London breakfast event on March 6, “GDPR: How to Plan for Compliance in 2018 and beyond

4. Create an implementation model for success

One of the biggest trends that we saw in 2017 was agencies and brands bringing their programmatic team in-house. In fact, 24% of survey respondents feel they’ve already brought their internal teams up to speed on programmatic. This trend will continue in 2018; 45% of marketing professionals surveyed are prioritizing internal capabilities this year.

Make sure you have a model in place that suits your goals and resources. Whether this is in-house or via a shared-risk model where you work closely with your programmatic tech partner towards achieving your client’s goals.

RELATED: Programmatic partnership models: The 2017 marketing professionals’ guidebook to building strong business relationships between advertisers, agencies, and ad tech partners

5. Get your data strategy right

We’ve all heard plenty about ‘big data’—but are you really utilizing yours? Get your data collection and tagging strategy in order to make sure you are collecting the most valuable data points to meet your programmatic goals. Making sure your programmatic tech partner has strong data modeling capabilities is also a must to get the most out of your seed segments.

Finally, ensure you have a robust measurement/attribution plan in place—69% of our respondents said this was a priority for them in 2018, suggesting this is still an obstacle for many marketing professionals.

6. Explore new formats and buying modes

Plenty of new formats are becoming available for programmatic buying and measurement. The most prolific right now being Advanced TV and Digital Out Of Home (DOOH). Make sure you do plenty of research into these emerging opportunities and select the ones that best suit your objectives. We’ve seen a 2800% growth in campaigns that include CTV in the US, the forerunning market, and we expect this format to really take off globally in 2018. Don’t get left behind!

Why not read our white paper on Advanced TV to understand the different Advanced TV buying options available, and the benefits of adding them to your programmatic plans?