Blog Post

Three Signs That You Are Ready to Bring Programmatic Media Buying In-house

02/05/2019 - Karen Moked

Today’s CMO and marketing teams are tasked with getting more value out of their advertising spend, which means they have to use their resources wisely.  The motivation for companies to move their programmatic spend in-house is tied to value but also to needing better ROI attribution, improved audience targeting and overall campaign effectiveness.  But even though the motivations behind insourcing programmatic spend are justified, not all brands have all the tools and people in place to complete the transition to a complete in-house operation.  
So if you are a CMO or your CMO asks you to start thinking about bringing your programmatic media spend in-house, how do you know that you are ready?  What are the things that you need to think about? There are three signs that you are indeed ready for the transition to an in-house programmatic media buying team.

  1. You’ve managed either Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or worked within a Marketing Automation platform, before venturing into programmatic.

With the evolution of automation technology there has also been progress made in platform interfaces.  Media buyers that are already advertising on social or have some experience working with search campaigns, will quickly find that programmatic platforms have familiar feeling features.  For many of the DSP platforms, like MediaMath, campaign set-up is easier than it has even been, with many aspects of running and optimizing programmatic that has been automated using the latest AI technologies.

  1. You are determined to own every part of your company’s media budget as well data and analytics, rather than have it be a black box.  You want to negotiate your own contract and terms with vendors and not have those contracts owned by your agency or media partner.

Programmatic advertising has become the lion’s share of digital advertising spend over the last four years. Especially for US digital display ad buyers and sellers, programmatic is now the standard.  According to eMarketer, 78% of US digital display ad dollars will have been bought programmatically in 2018 and the prediction for 2019 is that share of ad spend will increase to 83%.  So having programmatic as a skill in-house is something that CMOs are taking more seriously, especially those who have significant budgets and want to fully own every aspect of their campaigns. 

Brands that are taking on direct relationships with DSPs are finding out that they need multiple platforms to execute omni-channel programmatic media buys.  This means that not only do companies need to think about hiring teams to manage campaigns but they also need staff to manage these new partnerships and find ways to gain the most value out of every platform under contract.

The goal for marketers and media buyers is that with direct access to their programmatic media, they will be able to keep track of their campaigns in real-time, make adjustments on the fly, such as creative changes, targeting optimizations, budget and bid adjustments.  This not only saves on time but also on cost, as everything will be completely transparent to the organization.

  1. You are ready to have multiple people at your company that will be dedicated to keeping up to date on the knowledge, expertise and platforms that are part of the programmatic ecosystem.

Although there has been a lot of progress in the user experience of marketing automation platforms and especially in the media buying category, there is still a ton to learn and to maneuver if you want to fully own programmatic in-house. Even if the plan is to go all-in, programmatic advertising is not a plug and play situation, and brands should give themselves time to get fully up and running. There needs to be significant buy-in from the C-Suite to justify changes in the team structures and the new organization needed to in-house functions that were previously performed by an exterior resource.  

The questions that marketing executives need to asked range from:

  • Do we have talent in-house that we can move to these new roles?
  • Is our office in a location that would attract the right talent if we need to hire?
  • Do we have enough funds in the budget for the required salaries?
  • What is the transition schedule between in house staff and the external resource (agency/ media partner)?

If you already own your data strategy and have access to a CRM and/ or a DMP you are off to a good start in the transition process.  But if you don’t have all the talent trained right from the start or have the relationships in place to get in front of the right platforms then you have options.  There are programmatic services companies like Digilant that can be both partner and consultant to help transition and train your programmatic media buying team to be fully self-sufficient.  So while you are learning how to be hands on keyboard but are not quite ready to push all the buttons, the ideal situation is to have someone else who can own the media execution piece, until you have a full team ready to go.  

In-housing is a long term strategy that requires a plan, people and time.  Even if you are ready it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything in one shot.  Successful companies take a year to two years to be fully up and running with the results they would expect from having less partners and more control over their spends.

2019 Programmatic Media Buying Trends

64% of people that took Forrester’s ‘In-House Agency Forum’ survey said that they used in-house agencies in 2018, an increase of 52% from a decade ago. While in-housing is a trend that we are going to see more of, not all functions are going to in-house teams, brands are opting to use programmatic consulting services for specialized programmatic capabilities as well as the transition from agency to in-house.

Digilant has identified ten programmatic trends that will impact 2019.  To read them all you can view our infographic here.

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