Blog Post

3 Tips to Set Your Team Up For Success with Self-Service Programmatic Media Buying

06/18/2020 - Sierra Ducey

Almost everywhere you look the term “programmatic in-housing” is cropping up. Programmatic in-housing describes the transition from outside partner-led programmatic media buying to taking on full control using internal resources. The aspirational results? Greater transparency, costs savings, and performance.

As an omnichannel media company that serves both brands and agencies, we take transparency seriously and understand the barriers to entry that make in-housing tough to accomplish. More control can lead to better performance, but it isn’t always the case.

The bottom line for you: the answer to the in-housing question is not universal. How can your brand ensure any change in your operating model drives better outcomes and enables more valuable insights? Below are 3 tips to keep in mind that will help set your team up for self-service success.

1.Don’t Rush.

As mentioned above, you’re hearing more about self-service and in-housing in the news and from your peers as it becomes a more popular option.  However, when ANA surveyed advertisers, of the 78% of advertisers who reported having an in-house agency, 90% still rely on some outside partners. Less than a third of advertisers have successfully built out programmatic media buying capabilities. Bringing everything in-house in one fell swoop, simply put, is a difficult undertaking. Finding a programmatic partner that understands your shift in programmatic needs and is flexible to change the amount of service they provide with is essential.

2. Talent is Key.

One risk that is often ignored when making the in-house switch is the loss of veteran specialists working behind the scenes and the potential loss of institutional knowledge. External partners see more scenarios across more brands and industries and pass these insights on to clients through recommendations and strategy.

When transitioning your media buys from a managed provider to self-service of in-house you will have to prepare for the new roles in your company – either shifting responsibility or making additional hires. A brand may be especially vulnerable to turnover in its programmatic staff as the career path internally is less obvious than working for a media agency or technology provider. Look for candidates who want to use their knowledge base as an entry point and are excited about emerging channels and platforms beyond programmatic alone. For the more curious candidate, the promise of knowledge expansion will be compelling.

3. Set Clear Short & Long-Term Goals. 

In an IAB report, 44% of people expect improved ROI, 34% hope to increase cost-efficiency, and another 44% think that in-house programmatic will enhance their audience targeting. As you take ownership of the nitty-gritty of your digital campaigns, you need to think both long term and short term. You can’t jump right into increasing ROI and cost-efficiency, so implementing shorter, monthly, or quarterly goals will keep you on track to achieve those more lofty goals. Have you set up effective communication with the marketing team to align with their objectives? Who on your team will handle new tactics and channels? How will you implement offline data? Having solutions to these questions up-front will set you up for greater success down the line.


Any form of in-housing comes with its challenges. Understanding the road ahead and preparing for up and downs will help alleviate pain points throughout the process. And remember, not all programmatic paths are the same; finding the best solution for your team and business objectives is what’s most important  – whether that’s maintaining a relationship with your programmatic partner, finding a hybrid model, or setting up a full in-house team. Interested in learning more about how to successfully set your team up for programmatic in-house success? Download Digilant’s Path to In-Housing to help find a self-service model that works best for you.

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