Over the last five years, we’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the in-housing of media services at brands and advertising agencies. In-housing media services can look a bit different at brands than they do agencies, but ultimately the goals are the same for both parties. The goals are to cut costs and gain greater control of media budgets and buys. For organizations with the right team and technology providers in place, in-housing can and often achieve both of these goals. However, we’ve found that the vast majority of brands and agencies struggle to staff a team of biddable media experts, requiring both institutional knowledge and hands-on-keyboard expertise. For organizations lacking the resources to build a robust in-house practice, outsourcing your managed digital agency advertising services can be the best answer. And for companies offering outsourcing services or “managed-services” for advertisers, the expectations have never been higher.
We’ve arrived at a crossroads of traditional digital media channels like display and video and emerging media channels like programmatic audio and CTV. Advertisers working with managed service providers, like Digilant, expect to be staffed with a team that is not only well-versed in the newest advertising platforms and formats but a team that uses performance data to point to success drivers and inhibitors. Advertisers can then pass knowledge and insights on to their teams, management, and for agencies – their clients.
As the media landscape becomes more complex – more ad formats, content platforms, data providers, DSP technologies, etc., it’s become more difficult than ever for advertisers to successfully in-house media services. You could call it the “media-buying paradox” – as omnichannel advertising rises in importance, advertisers are struggling to keep up with the technologies that make omnichannel possible. Until this paradox is solved, the demand for managed-service providers will remain, and in many instances, grow to support the needs of both brands and agencies. If you are considering using managed digital agency advertising services, here’s a list of pros and cons to make your decision-making process a bit easier.
Hand-off Vendor Vetting
Advanced media-buying technology has provided performance and reporting improvements for advertisers, but it has not simplified the vendor landscape. The vendor landscape continues to grow, especially as we see new players in identity resolution, contextual data, CTV, and audio. The vetting process is time-intensive, and technology stack development can be costly. Working with a managed-service provider, you gain an extension to your current team. An ideal managed-service provider will be platform-agnostic and will vet technology, data, and inventory providers on behalf of its clients and through the lens of an advertiser’s specific goal(s).
They consider client wins their own wins.
Greater Operational Efficiency
Manage-service providers own the heavy lifting required to get a campaign in-market. Those steps—from channel mix to determining deals, providers, and tactics to building and executing campaigns have become increasingly less burdensome as programmatic technology has continued to automate advertising. Several critical activities and challenges still exist, including buying power, subject matter expertise, and platform know-how.
Access to Expert Teams
When you work with a managed service provider, you get access to a fully staffed team. Media-buying can be risky without the right people and processes to operate technology platforms and optimize performance. You also get the benefit of a team that is well versed in looking at the media mix holistically if you are only taking a sliver of your overall media buying in-house.
Loss of (Some) Control
When you work with a managed digital agency advertising partner, you give up a portion of your control in exchange for delegating day-to-day management of your media executions. Your team will not be “hands-on-keyboard,” and targeting and optimizations will be made by a team that sits outside the walls of your organization. Adjustments to campaign targeting and media strategy can’t be made on a whim and will need to be discussed with your provider and queued up to go live based on a pre-approved turnaround time.
When you work with a managed service provider, you lose the transparency of self-service solutions. The level of transparency on media cost and performance may vary by provider, but ultimately the team managing your media buys will be responsible for invoicing and delivering campaign performance reporting. If you have concerns about your provider measuring their own performance, then a self-service solution may be a better fit.
Higher Media Costs
Managed-service providers often come with higher rates for media inventory and data. Higher rates can chip away at an advertising budget and inhibit you from hitting goals like ROI and ROAS. The larger your advertising budget, the better you are positioned to negotiate fees with managed-service providers and the vendors they work with. Advertisers with smaller budgets may be forced to accept fees and readjust performance expectations as needed. Another factor that may result in greater costs for advertisers is minimum spend, so it’s important to ensure minimums are within your reach before signing on the dotted line.
Getting Started With A Managed Digital Agency Advertising Partner
While having more control and transparency of your media buys may sound tempting, it’s important to remember that there are also significant costs to building out your own in-house operation. From staffing to technology stack development, in-housing is better looked at as a longer-term goal versus something that can be achieved overnight.
If, for now you are looking to extend your team’s capabilities and bring on a managed digital agency advertising services provider Digilant has you covered. Additionally, if you have interest in exploring next steps in bringing your media buying in-house, we have solutions for that too. Contact us to learn more about how Digilant set your team, however small or big, up for success!