In today’s technology-driven landscape, we have the ability to target, reach and engage consumers across their devices throughout the day, regardless of the content they are consuming. This precision is possible because of the shift to programmatic buying for digital advertising. Programmatic buying allows us to use audience insights and data to reach the right people, at the right moments, in a scalable, cost-efficient and -effective way. A recent study of Google found a majority of advertisers are spending at least 20% of their ad budgets programmatically—and it’s expected to continue growing.
As with everything in media, it’s about making smart decisions about where to place your media dollars; it’s no different when it comes to programmatic buying. So how do you choose whom to work with in a complex and growing landscape? It seems like every day, we get a phone call from new vendors pitching their programmatic platform. While many claim to offer a unique solution, but there is only a handful that actually can back up those claims.
Before jumping into the programmatic waters, we met with numerous companies that varied in capabilities and size to understand differences and similarities in their offerings. In doing so, we learned right away that not every potential partner was as knowledgeable or as transparent as others. We gravitated to those who focused on the areas of importance to us: targeting, optimization methods, controls for brand safety, transparency, performance delivery and measurement.
We’ve tested a few partners this year already, and so far, all provided positive results against our desired key performance indicators (KPIs): click-through rates (CTRs), conversions or video view completions. Even with the positive results, we’ve learned more about each partner’s strengths and weaknesses. Some remain our partner; others we’ve stopped using altogether.
When evaluating a potential new partner, look for several key factors:
- Is the team knowledgeable in the programmatic space?
- Does the buying platform offer anything unique?
- Are the sources used to build targets credible?
- What are the methods to optimize effectively and deliver against KPIs?
- Will they provide insightful campaign reports?
The key takeaway is this: Just because the technology is there doesn’t mean programmatic buying is automatically a good fit. It takes upfront research and continuous hands-on analysis—along with strategic thinking—to ensure a media campaign delivers results.