14 Noteworthy Media Agency Execs Bringing Fresh Perspectives and Deep Insights to Their Brands

On the media agency side of the business, there is a small group of people who have been deep into the evolution of programmatic advertising. Anagram general manager Jenna Umbrianna is one of them. Starting as an analyst at Hill Holliday, Umbrianna managed the agency’s programmatic media practice in 2010 and eventually became the svp and general manager of Havas’ programmatic strategy and trading divisions across the holding company’s North American client roster. Arriving at Anagram in September 2017 as chief client officer, Umbrianna helped more than double client investment and facilitated formal partnerships with six major technology companies, growing the agency’s offering from primarily display programmatic to fully cross-channel programmatic. In April, she was elevated to general manager. “Jenna has been a force of innovation throughout her career,” says Joe Zawadzki, CEO of MediaMath.

“She was an early adopter of technology-enabled, data-driven marketing in digital, and has been indefatigable ever since. What Jenna accomplishes is extraordinary.” Looking ahead, Umbrianna sees the ability to get data via walled gardens (from the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Google) as a continuing challenge. “It’s hard to get a complete view of an end-to-end consumer journey if you’ve got some big blind spots,” she says. But Anagram’s methodology, which includes in-depth surveying for additional consumer insight, has helped close the data gap and is a boon for the agency’s clients, including one in the travel space that elevated the agency from a U.S.-centric to a global footprint. “When you make that shift from being on somebody’s roster to someone they trust enough that you’re an extension of their team,” says Umbrianna, “that’s always the most rewarding for me.” —D.Z.

2019 AMIN Integrated Conference Recap: Emerging Digital Channels

By: Hannah Sturgeon, Campaign Solutions Analyst and Ariel Howard, Campaign Solutions Manager

On Tuesday, April 16th, my colleague, Ariel Howard, and I attended the AMIN (Advertising and Marketing Independent Network) Integrated Conference where our CEO, Raquel Rosenthal, moderated a panel on how today’s independent agencies are leveraging newly emerging digital channels for their clients and what challenges and rewards come with integrating these channels into a brand’s media mix. The network, comprised of nearly thirty independent advertising agencies from across the country offering services ranging from creative, public relations, print, digital, and everything in between, joins together almost 100 senior marketers. Digilant was lucky enough to have a dynamic discussion between three of them:

All expert media buying professionals, Walt, Paige, and Cheryl gave us their take on everything from digital audio, DOOH, influencer marketing, programmatic TV, first party data modeling, personalization, attribution, and more. This is our summary of what was said and what we took away from the event. The responses from the panelists are not a word for word account of what was said upon answering each question.


Raquel kicked off the panel asking the group the following:

What new channels excite you personally and what will you be using more in 2019?

Cheryl jumped in first and talked about the excitement that she and her team at Signal Theory have around the advancements being made in programmatic TV, specifically leveraging OTT platforms through CTV (Connected TV). After working on an addressable TV campaign for six years targeting rural households of cattle producers through purchasing ad inventory on linear television in counties with high cattle populations, the prospect of executing a campaign that reaches the same audience leveraging the individual viewing habits of users within a DMA and deterministic matching to increase conversions and ROAS is highly appealing. Paige echoed Cheryl’s excitement surrounding CTV, noting that for Slingshot it has facilitated the connection of the digital and broadcast worlds. Audio Content Recognition (ACR) allows her agency to get a better understanding of what content audiences have been exposed to while they’re watching TV and then remarket to these audiences while they’re scrolling through Instagram and other social platforms on their mobile device and watching video content in their living room.
Despite privacy being a top concern for consumers and advertisers in today’s market, Walt loves that things are getting highly personalized in the digital space through multilayer targeting. A few years back, he and his colleagues were discussing a whiskey brand in the office and a half hour later began receiving banner ads for the brand. With home assistants becoming a standard item in U.S. homes, the opportunities that voice search marketing presents are very promising.

Which new channels present the greatest challenges, inefficiencies, or unknowns for your clients’ marketing efforts?

Influencer marketing is one channel that Cheryl feels is going downhill quickly, with frequent cases of what should come across as a genuine endorsement of a brand turning into a “DJ testimonial.” Although a lot of her clients are interested in adding it to their media mix, if it’s not authentic, then influencer marketing can go bad really quickly. It needs to make sense and brands need to partner with an influencer who will be a true evangelist of their product or service.

Paige noted that one of the biggest hurdles her team has when presenting new channels is navigating concerns that the channel won’t naturally integrate into the client’s media mix. She chimed back to what Walt mentioned regarding the high levels of personalization and targeting that can be achieved through mediums like voice that some clients think will come across as invasive. Although similar levels of data collection may be occurring through other channels that they’re already running media on, their mindsets aren’t there yet.

Walt also struggles with explaining to clients the benefits of more niche channels, such as DOOH. If there isn’t a billboard on their way into work or right outside of their office, they don’t want to do it. However, now that these new types of inventory are biddable, brands are slowly beginning to come around to them. Additionally, trying to define what OTT is and what it isn’t, while also explaining how different platforms like Hulu fit into it, has been a challenge.

 


How are traditional channels working with digital channels and are they starting to merge? Are the budgets still broken out and siloed, or is it treated as one budget planned by one media team.

Although budgets are continuously shifting to be more digitally-focused, Cheryl underscored that you can’t put everything into digital and need to have a robust media mix. The Signal Theory media planning team decides what forms of media they’ll run on through thorough research of their clients’ customers’ behavior. Their planners are channel agnostic and both plan and buy for the client to provide a holistic view of the campaign from start to finish. Paige said that her team members work similarly. Everything is planned around campaign goals and they often set up flowcharts broken out by video for example, where digital video, broadcast, and other mediums are all included together rather than divided out by traditional and digital. For Walt, traditional and digital have merged together based on where they can best reach different target audiences. With the rise of cord cutting and expansion of OTT platforms it’s harder to market to younger through traditional TV advertising, so a single campaign aiming to reach a broad range of age demographics will involve purchasing ads on channels like Hulu through CTV and linear TV to younger and older audiences respectively.

Do you have an attribution strategy for media performance across channels?


There’s still a long way to go to make implementing
multi-touch attribution for omni-channel media buying campaigns a seamless process. Cheryl and Paige note that there’s so much data required from the client across the board from offline to online efforts that all contribute to sales, but more often than not clients associate results with last touch attribution. Paige cites a campaign of a client that wanted to drive form completions of home leasing applications that saw programmatic display as the last touchpoint before converting. Although they were using additional channels, like audio and video, they couldn’t directly see that without those higher funnel tactics, their conversion rate would be lower.


Client data is the most powerful data out there. Let’s talk about our clients giving us access so we can reach their audience.

A commonality in the responses from each panelist was that there’s generally a want from both the advertiser and the agency to have the brand’s first party data shared, however, clients don’t know how to handle their data or aren’t fully equipped to do so. In these instances, Cheryl’s team pulls in members of their analytics team to explain to their account managers what reporting and insights will look like based on the data to which they do have access. If CRM data or an email list can be shared that’s most helpful, but otherwise Paige and her colleagues at Slingshot will use second or third party data to make their campaigns as smart as possible, customizing targeting and messaging to reach customers in a more personalized and relevant way.
At Richter7 the degree to which they’ve been able to leverage first party data has been truly unique to each client according to Walt. He’s had clients that face restrictions when even simply exporting email lists to those that have gathered data from their POS systems along with users’ matching credit card data to create audiences based on loyalty and then load those custom audiences to Facebook to then activate the data to run campaigns against them. Having access to this level of granular data yields incredible insights and can help him and his team decide where digital media is or isn’t working.

Before the event concluded, Raquel opened up the discussion to receive questions from the audience.

 

To what degree are you telling clients in advance that you’ll be able to hit a conversion goal beyond awareness?

Given the multifaceted nature of the campaigns that agencies are taking on in 2019, all of the panelists emphasized that it’s difficult to determine what they can promise to deliver to their clients beyond awareness. Despite some clients asking to receive guaranteed lifts in sales, Cheryl and Walt both said that they instead establish front end benchmarks for KPIs that they determine by referencing industry research or historical data from previous campaigns. Although it’s a challenging conversation to have with the client, it’s essential to be transparent. Paige mentioned that benchmarks can vary greatly depending on vertical, market size, and other factors, so rather than guaranteeing a precise number of people moving into homes, like a performance marketing or guaranteed lead program, they’ll instead offer up an estimated conversion rate based off of similar campaigns.

Although the discussion could have gone on for much longer, we wanted to respect our panelists’ time and allow them to enjoy the rest of the conference. As campaign solutions analysts and managers, we gained a lot of insight into the evolving needs of today’s independent agencies and are excited to apply what we learned into our day to day work executing digital media buying campaigns on these new channels for our clients at Digilant.

Interested in learning about how your brand or agency can create and execute an innovative omni-channel digital media buying campaigns? Feel free to reach out to us about our custom programmatic offerings here.

How Advertisers Can Wield Data Exhaust

Read the full post at emarketer.com

Authored by Ross Benes

Even when an advertiser’s programmatic bid fails to win an impression, they can still gather data from the auction to use across their campaigns. But doing so can be time-consuming and requires technical expertise, so many advertisers discard this data instead of utilizing it.

The amount of data that programmatic bidding creates has increased as header bidding has become more popular. Before header bidding’s rise, programmatic advertisers relied on a system called “waterfalling,” which sequentially passed bids from one ad exchange to the next. Header bidding allowed programmatic platforms to bid simultaneously on the same piece of inventory that was being offered across multiple exchanges. Three-fourths of the 1,000 most popular sites that sell programmatic ads use header bidding, according to Adzerk.

As the data that users generate has increased, advertisers have found themselves scrapping lots of data. In an August 2018 survey of 100 digital marketers worldwide conducted by Digital Element, 15% of respondents said they throw away at least half of their data.

Wesley Farris, director of partnerships at programmatic agency Digilant, spoke to eMarketer about how advertisers can make use of data exhaust.

What sort of data can a DSP store from a programmatic auction?

“Every time a DSP gets a bid request, there are a number of data variables that are passed on: the anonymous user ID, the domain, the time stamp, the location of the page, the creative size. There could be upward of 50-plus variables that are passed in the bid request, and the DSP stores that information in what I call ‘log files.'”

How can an advertiser use that information?

“You can use it for things like the customer journey. If you pull that information out, you can start to piece together a picture of how different channels and variables are affecting the campaign and put together that customer journey of how they engaged with your media. If you ingest that data across your search and social efforts, you can then more or less combine your search efforts with your social and display efforts and see how those are impacting one another.

“You can also use it for data science to find which variables within the bid stream are driving conversions or whatever key performance indicator [KPI] that’s being measured. You can use it for audience discovery, bucketing users by similar variables, and reaching them on a more granular level. The data is definitely used at the DSP level for optimizations and reporting insights.”

Read more

Happy Halloween 2018: Vote for Your Favorite Costumes!

Today Digilant Boston got in the Halloween spirit, gearing up in creative costumes, tasting local fall brews, and decorating some spooky pumpkins and haunted houses.

Check ’em out and let us know what your favorite costumes are in the poll below!

[Total_Soft_Poll id=”3″]

Campaign Solutions:
Lumberjacks

Our campaign solutions team went for a rugged look this year, as they roll up their sleeves and chop own inefficient media and manage strong and transparent programmatic media buying campaigns.

 

Client Development & Media Strategy:
Eclectic Trio

Client Development and Media Strategy – an eclectic trio: Jared the ghost, Crocodile Dundee Romano, and Sleepy Head Andreu!

Marketing:
Keeping it Classic

Marketing kept it classic this year, with Sierra in a pumpkin onesie and Mitchell as a mouse.

 

Haunted Gingerbread House Making!

Before…

During

 

After!

Tis the Season for Programmatic Media Buying: Digilant Releases Holiday Shopping Insights Report

Boston – November 1, 2018  Today, Digilant, a programmatic media buying services company, released a holiday shopping report that presents noteworthy data and insights on consumer retail behavior. This holiday season advertisers and media buyers need to make informed and strategic decisions that yield increased returns on digital ad spend, and Digilant wants to help.

As shoppers prepare for gatherings and gift giving, marketers can benefit  from campaigns that reflect the evolving purchase locations and behaviors of digital consumers. Although consumers are expected to spend an average of $803 between Black Friday (Nov. 23) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26), it’s important to keep in mind that the 2018 holiday season features the longest possible shopping calendar of 33 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. With more time for shoppers to research and make last-minute purchases, shrewd advertisers will be managing media buying campaigns well beyond Thanksgiving Weekend to take full advantage of this year’s predicted 15.3% increase in Holiday eCommerce sales that will last through the end of December.

Highlights From Digilant’s Holiday Shopping Insights Report

  • With the rise of online and in-store deals throughout the holiday season, Black Friday’s prominence is diminishing and more people are beginning to shop on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Mobile and in-app transactions will account for 50% of all 2018 holiday sales.
  • 75% of shoppers start online whether or not they end up converting there or in-store.
  • Emerging technologies, such as blockchain, will begin to shape more flexible loyalty rewards programs for retail consumers.

Download the full report here.

Who’s Buying?

As the year comes to a close, consumers hold a positive economic outlook and plan to express their optimism by spending their disposable income. Deloitte reports that 78% of consumers plan to spend the same amount or more as they did last year on holiday shopping.

Although many are expected to head to department stores and log onto their favorite brand’s sites to find deals and grab gifts, this year’s shopping will lean slightly heavier towards females (51%) and will continue to shift away from Baby Boomers and towards Gen X and Millennials, who combined, compose nearly two thirds of all holiday shoppers (64%).

Amazon’s Role in Online Holiday Shopping

As consumers look where to purchase gifts, online shoppers have made their preference for Amazon clear. 2017 was a huge year for e-commerce giant, taking 4th place for US display ad buying and coming in as the number one e-retail provider for holiday shoppers. As of December 2017, Amazon reached over 183 million unique visitors a month according to Statista and had accounted for 37.53% of all U.S. e-retail sales. During the 2018 holiday shopping season, their reach will continue its ascent and digital marketers should take note of the opportunity it could present.

Even brands that do not plan to sell their products on Amazon can benefit from its immense and constantly growing retail data, as approximately half of all product searches start on Amazon.

How to Use Digilant Holiday Shopping Report for Smarter Media Buying?

It’s key for brands to align their ad buying strategies and creatives with the increasingly multichannel behaviors of their target audiences.

A few tips to optimize your 2018 holiday media buying campaigns:

  • Define your Attribution Model: Holiday Shopping means multichannel madness, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re appropriately measuring the impact of every channel through which your brand advertises so that you can gain valuable first-party insights for future campaigns.
  • Leverage Geolocation for Competitive Conquesting: The separation between the online and offline customer experience is becoming increasingly blurred. As shoppers travel with their devices to brick-and-mortar stores, consider targeting users who have visited your competitors’ locations.
  • Invest in Search: 76% of shoppers change their mind after researching an alternative product, so bidding on competitive keywords is essential to keep your brand top of mind.
  • Diversify your Inventory: As mobile increasingly becomes the go-to channel for researching and purchasing gifts and engagement rates skyrocket with video, try combining the two with mobile video to lift holiday conversions.

In a digital ecosystem where media buyers have to navigate more platforms, technologies, walled gardens, and nuances in consumer behavior, it is essential to take a holistic approach to execute effective campaigns during the 2018 holiday season. Digilant is here to help marketers take the first step. Download the entire Holiday Shopping Insights Report on Digilant’s website here.

About Digilant

Digilant is a programmatic buying company, designed for both agencies and brands. We connect people and technology to create a perfect blend of strategy, insight and efficiency that will elevate any marketing team to find massive success. We also support advertisers who are moving towards programmatic self-sufficiency by aligning with and training them on the right set of programmatic platforms and technologies.

Using MAIA – Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics – the harmonious combination of machine power and human expertise behind all things DIGILANT, we intelligently navigate massive data sets. MAIA enables marketers to use data as a currency to generate more efficient media buys, make better informed decisions, optimize and drive performance across all digital channels and campaigns.

Digilant is an ispDigital Group Company.  For more information, visit us at www.digilant.com, read our blog or follow us on Twitter @Digilant_US.

Post-GDPR, are data clean rooms the answer to accessing walled gardens?

As of May 25, 2018, Google announced that DoubleClick users will be unable to rely on cookies or mobile device IDs to connect impressions, clicks and site activities from DoubleClick logs. Instead, they will be limited to Google’s own Ads Data Hub for those metrics.

For some, this means that they are satisfied to stay within the Google stack. But not every brand’s solution will be and should be limited to Google. If media buyers want to analyze their spend outside of Google’s platform and offer up any attribution, then just using Google won’t work.

Programmatic – It’s not just for media buyers. What the rest of us need to know?

The following article by Raquel Rosenthal was originally published by Digital Content Next.

It’s a message we’ve been hearing percolate through the industry now for years: programmatic is the future of advertising. Brands, in search of more control over their media buying activity, have embraced technology-based approaches that promise efficiency, precision, flexibility, and superior ROI. Warts and all — and there are plenty, ranging from flat-out false value propositions to rampant fraud and monopolistic marketplace control by actor behaving badly — programmatic is here to stay.

Media planners and buyers have arrived at this conclusion, however begrudgingly. But other participants in the advertising ecosystem — designers, copywriters, developers, and publishers — are wading into programmatic territory in earnest now as well. Here’s what they need to know about programmatic.

Audiences Increasingly Rely on Programmatic-Driven Experiences

Digital users — across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones — increasingly expect tailored experiences, from both independent and sponsored content. And the most the efficient way to deliver custom experiences is via programmatic platforms.
For progressive advertising professionals, this is a welcomed opportunity (more on that later). Technology companies and developers benefit from this market evolution via an increased need for their solutions and services. Publishers, however, don’t have much of a choice in this regard. In order to encourage engagement, and minimize the deployment of inhibitive tools such as ad blockers, user experience must be a paramount consideration. Content providers that deliver optimal UX — which includes unobtrusive but effective advertising, such as native tactics — will win in the long run.

Dynamic Ad Creative Is a Genuine Game-Changer

One of the underlying historical maxims of the ad business has been its aim to distribute messages “to the right person, at the right time, at the right cost.” Though this has typically been more aspirational than realistic (and a regular source of frustration for creative professionals in particular) technology-enabled advertising does genuinely provide the opportunity for more specific customization.

To be sure, as a broader umbrella category, “digital marketing” was a step in the right direction on the road to customization (and what will eventually be widespread “personalization”). But due to a combination of hypergrowth conditions and the lack of internal structures to accommodate customization, the industry as a whole has lagged in this regard. As a recent BCG analysis explains, “Within both agencies and publishers, organizational silos with little cross-functional interaction lead to excessive work and rework, including costly handovers, long wait times, and fragmented decision making.”

Programmatic seems poised to serve as the bridge to genuine, industry-wide progress on the customization front. In a few short years, most campaigns will adjust art and messaging to accommodate fluid factors such as time of day, geography, demographics, user interests and behaviors, and the like. This will almost certainly improve campaign performance. It will also impact the underlying cost structure of campaign delivery. This will require more creative labor, for example, so the net ROI effect remains to be seen.

The Programmatic Train Has Left The Station

Like “digital” before it, programmatic will likely lose its specific designation over the next decade, and morph into a marketing channel line item or equivalent. But until it does, it will continue to be popular fodder for industry publications and conferences. And not without good reason. Most estimates peg the U.S. programmatic marketplace in the tens of billions of dollars annually, and growing in the double-digit range. eMarketer sizes the market at $46 billion in 2018, and comprising more than 80% of the entire digital display category, and a major factor in mobile advertising.

That said, in spite of its formidable size and growth forecast, all is not well in the programmatic category, and brands, publishers, and vendors alike are scrambling to address problems related to the big three challenges: fraud, transparency, and viewability. To wit, also according to eMarketer analysis: programmatic growth through 2020 will be driven by “private setups, such as private marketplaces (PMPs) and programmatic direct transactions, as buyers continue to be wary of the open markets’ transparency and quality issues”. [Disclosure: DCN is involved in one such marketplaceTrustX.]

It’s both an exciting and terrifying time to be part of the advertising business. Brand, publishers, and agencies alike are scrambling to navigate the constantly shifting terrain that’s characterized by tens of thousands of vendors competing for share and voice. Programmatic is one of the driving forces of disruption and upheaval in our industry today, and will play a big role in shaping the industry for years to come.

About the author

Raquel Rosenthal is the Chief Executive Officer of Digilant US, a programmatic marketing company headquartered in Boston. A digital industry veteran, she’s held various senior positions at Digilant, DataXu, AudienceScience, and DoubleClick. Raquel splits time between Dallas and New York City, and holds a B.S. from Ithaca College.

 

Boosting Civic Engagement through Pro Bono Programmatic


Since its first pilot program organizing an electoral engagement project across four Chicago public schools, former U.S. congressman and education activist, Abner and Zoe Mikva, have been inspiring underprivileged youth to take action and get involved in the causes that matter to them through the Mikva Challenge. Now, after over twenty years of empowering students to speak out on the issues that affect them and their communities, the Mikva Challenge delivers real-life democracy education across five “Action Civics” programs in its hometown of Chicago, as well as Southern California and Washington D.C.

In Washington D.C., the organization’s Issues to Action program has been steadily growing one of its newest initiatives to foster civic engagement, Project Soapbox. Partnering with local educators from 25 DC schools, Project Sopabox helps over 2,000 students voice their opinions through citywide public speaking tournaments. As the latest city to join the challenge, these young activists are trying to grow the program and give more students the opportunity to receive training to think critically, research, prepare and present speeches around issues they and their adult allies face across political, civic, and business communities.

Here at Digilant Cares, we too encourage the Digilant and greater ispDigital family to speak up and bring forth projects that aid the causes they and their communities believe in, which is why we’re very proud to help elevate the voices of Mikva Challenge participants through pro bono programmatic.

Over a six week direct response campaign across Washington D.C. and surrounding areas of bordering Maryland and Northern Virginia, Mikva Challenge aims to increase fundraising for its Issues to Action program. Leveraging both video and display ads across desktop and mobile, Digilant will tactfully spread Mikva’s message at the right time, place, and with the right relevancy. Reaching out to young professionals that are passionate about the causes that program participants research and speak on, Mikva Challenge hopes to create more engaged citizens.

“Because I learned about civic engagement during high school, I know how to go about dismantling processes that are inconsistent with my beliefs on justice. I can have a civil conversation with someone who has a completely different perspective and rally on the one area in which we share common ground.”
– Mikva DC alumnus, Maya Branch

In an age of misinformation and a highly polarized political climate where civil discourse isn’t always so civil, and solutions to many of the world’s problems can seem far out of reach, it’s extremely important to educate the next generation on how to effectively communicate their beliefs and take productive steps towards achieving them.

This is exactly what Mikva Challenge D.C. is striving towards and as programmatic marketers we love to dive into the data and see that they have actionable metrics from last year’s program that prove it:

  • 87% of students believe they can make an impact in solving community problems (vs. 48% of students at start of year).
  • 85% of students believe they can express their viewpoints in front of a group (vs. 50% of students at start of year).
  • 91% of students know how to collaborate with an adult decision-maker to address their issue (vs. 56% of students at start of year).
  • Learn more about the measurable change and incredible lift on civic engagement Mikva Challenge has made across the country here

To donate, or to learn about other initiatives lead by the Mikva Challenge students, visit their site here.

Live in the Chicagoland, D.C., or Los Angeles Area and want to donate some time to help develop your city’s next generation of community activists? From volunteering, becoming a Mikva Teacher or a youth leader, or just spreading the word, you’re just a click away from taking action!

Programmatic Options Have In-House Appeal

The following article by Adam Cahill was originally published by ihaf (In-House Agency Forum).

Since 2010, the programmatic advertising category has steadily increased in prominence. Indeed, eMarketer data shows that programmatic activity has been responsible for more than 70% of the U.S. digital display market since 2016. And, the dollars involved are significant. U.S. companies will spend nearly $40 billion on display advertising this year with programmatic translating to nearly half of total digital ad budgets.
Not only that, recent surveys suggest that more brands are looking to bring programmatic in house. A report from Infectious Media indicates that many marketers (more than 4 out of 5) want increased control over their programmatic efforts, while fewer than 2% of respondents have actually taken the steps to make it happen. It’s no wonder why brands have been scrambling to figure out the best way to manage programmatic.

Throughout this process, an age-old dilemma has surfaced: Should programmatic activities be handled by external agency partners or internal marketing staff? More succinctly, should it be managed in house or out?

While this question isn’t unique to programmatic advertising—marketing execs are constantly evaluating the benefits of sourcing myriad marketing functions (media buying, creative, technology management) via internal or external resources—this particular category is a hot-button item for three main reasons:

  1. First, programmatic has grown dramatically over the past few years, and increased spending of this kind is gaining the attention of non-marketing execs including CFOs and even CEOs.
  2. Second, since the release of the 2016 ANA Media Transparency Report, which revealed how external agencies concealed financial data about advertising spend and transactions, mistrust lingers that agencies are not equipped with transparently measures and programmatic reporting.
  3. And third, if you can’t be completely comfortable sharing your first-party data about customers with your agency partners, the relationship and the media strategy won’t be efficient.

While such factors may have forced marketing executives to assess alternatives to their programmatic strategies, there are other considerations too. Given digital advertising’s rapid ascent from a tiny sliver of the ad business in 2001 to capturing one third of overall dollars in 2017, it’s not surprising that today’s marketplace has a few blind spots. Indeed, while online advertising may be more effective than offline in many sectors, it still has its problems.
It is through this lens that many of today’s brands are evaluating bringing programmatic media management in house. The appeal of insourcing is not unique to programmatic however—including the promise of greater control over data, increased financial transparency, and the possibility of reduced costs. Others advantages are brand safety and minimization of ad fraud.

So, why have fewer than 2% of companies brought programmatic advertising completely in house and what are the benefits of working with an external partner?

A Complex Environment. The current state of the marketing and advertising technology category (coined “martech” or “adtech”) is complicated, populated with at least 5,000 companies—many of which are sophisticated and deep-pocketed, and understand how to empower vast telemarketing teams to flood voicemail boxes with enticing messages promoting their solutions. It’s challenging for even the most experienced marketing manager to separate the wheat from the chaff. Marketing experts who work with not just a handful, but dozens of technology concerns, can help brands make good decisions based on their unique requirements.

The Stakes Are High, and Growing. Programmatic currently accounts for 5-25% of most marketing groups’ advertising activities. While this degree of penetration is significant, it is also expected to increase—and for some types of organizations (especially B2C), it is anticipated to expand by two-to-three times annually in the short term. Establishing a solid base to build upon will affect the health of marketing organizations for years to come.

Insurance Policy. The only thing we know for sure about the programmatic marketplace is that it’s going to evolve quickly and change dramatically in the coming months—yes, months. At its core, it is a technology industry, and in no other sector is merger and acquisition activity so prolific. Given its current scope of 5,000+ identifiable companies, consolidation is either imminent or in progress. The careers of many senior marketers will depend on the technologies they select for their corporations (as was the case for IT managers a decade ago, choosing among SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, and others). Having a trusted advisor involved in a programmatic transition not only ensures that the short-term project needs are addressed successfully, but that an expert is at the ready should an unexpected event require a change in strategy.

As much as having more control and transparency over programmatic media buying makes sense, the required investment in talent and expertise to navigate the ecosystem should not be overlooked. For now, brands should consider a hybrid model where they own the contracts and data and their agency partner owns the rest, at least for the foreseeable future.

Adam Cahill is the President of Digilant US and CEO of Anagram. A 20-year veteran of the digital industry, he went all­-in on programmatic in 2009, launching one of the first agency trading desks. Before joining Digilant, Adam founded Anagram, a programmatic media consultancy. Previously, he served as Chief Digital Officer at Hill Holliday and SVP/General Manager of Carat in Boston. Adam has been named a Media All-Star by Adweek, a Media Maven by the Ad Club, and has led teams that have twice been named Media Agency of the Year.

Digital Game Changers for Super Bowl LII (Infographic) – A Digital Marketer’s Playbook Part 2

Almost everyone knows at least a few football super fans whose sole priority on game day is to stay glued to the TV, tracking yards, catching instant replays, and keeping a close eye on the ref’s calls. However, for most of us the Super Bowl is more than just a game. It’s a time to gather with friends and family over food, play games of your own, and build up excitement along the way. In other words, LII will be an experience and in order for advertisers to reach their target audiences, it’s critical that they successfully integrate themselves into and contribute towards the experience.

In last week’s first segment of #DigilantData’s Playbook for winning Super Bowl campaigns, we covered who’s planning to watch and what they’re looking for before kickoff. Today we’re sharing the next page out of our playbook where we reveal how these fans are taking brand-consumer engagement to a new level, forcing savvy digital marketers to implement game changing tactics to effectively target and convert these consumers.

After this past Sunday’s AFC & NFC championship games took place, fans are beginning to solidify their plans and the buzz around the second Patriots vs. Eagles faceoff is growing. These rivals were cheered on by the very same fans tuning in this year back in 2005, but brands and advertisers are faced with a very different digital ecosystem to navigate for this year’s rematch. At the advent of social media, the Super Bowl was hardly viewed as an opportunity for digital marketers to capitalize on. In fact, New England and Philadelphia’s fan bases didn’t even have many options to turn to if they wanted to make score predictions with friends or find their favorite influencer’s recap of the half-time show. Facebook was a platform exclusively for college students, YouTube was just a few weeks from launching, while all of the other major social networks that marketers and consumers enjoy using didn’t even exist.




This is a strong contrast to recent years where successful advertisements relied on diverse tactics to capture consumers’ attention across a variety of platforms. In 2017 over 90% of Facebook interactions took place on mobile and video content overwhelmingly yielded the highest engagement. Access to versatile native and video inventory, geo and cross-device targeting to reach fans, and a strong programmatic partner to implement an effective media buying plan are a few ways that brands can get the most from their digital ad dollars and celebrate their campaigns’ success on Super Bowl Monday.

California Avocado executed a phenomenal 2016 Super Bowl campaign, taking a few pages from this playbook, launching recipe videos across social media played in real-time  right after food and beverage ads during the game, responding with a pairing of their avocados with the products on screen. Similarly, PepsiCo, whose sponsored the Super Bowl for five consecutive years, worked with Snapchat to create live content during the game and a hashtag #FanCountdown on Twitter to hype fans up while driving sales before the main event.
This year is going to be bigger than ever, so bring your A-Game with #DigilantData’s 2018 Super Bowl Infographic. Check out part 2 and download the full playbook below.
Our second infographic covers the following information:

  1. How do fans consume media?
    • 84% TV
    • 82% Smart Phone
    • 11% Computer
    • 9% Tablet
    • 9% Game Console
  2. Where do they watch the game?
    • 75% at home with TV & Mobile
    • 7% Bars, Restaurants, & Pubs
  3. Which social platforms will users be most likely to turn to while watching the game?
    • 49% Facebook
    • 26% Instagram
    • 24% Snapchat
    • 22% Twitter
    • 18% YouTube
    • 30% Only focused on the game


Download the full Super Bowl Infographic Here
! Don’t forget to share #DigilantData.

Like what you see? Join the 500+ clients that have partnered with Digilant.