Boston Dinner, Dessert, Fireworks & Everything Marketers and Media Buyers Need to Know About Blockchain

On Tuesday, June 12th, Digilant hosted a dinner panel in Boston titled “What Marketers & Media Buyers Need to Know About Blockchain.”Anagram’s Chief Executive Officer, Adam Cahill, moderated a discussion about the complexity and opinions on where blockchain is headed and how marketers, media planner and consumers will be affected with the following leading experts on the topic:


When discussing blockchain, most people have a very general idea of what it is – something to do with cryptocurrency, transparency, or monetary safety. But, when it comes to how blockchain is implemented, used and especially how it will affect marketing, media and consumers, most people are not well versed. Experts, like Dave, Isaac and Erich expressed their thoughts during the evening and gave their opinion on how best to prepare and stay up to date on changes due to blockchain.

This is my summary of what was said and what I took away from the event and not word for word for how the speakers answered each question.

Adam kicked off the event with the first question: What problems is blockchain designed to solve?

Isaac took to answering this question with an analogy that dates back thousands of years – dozens of commanders are defending their army and they need to coordinate their action, they need to decide to attack or retreat. Obviously, if they act correctly, everything will work great, however, the worst thing that can happen is if they don’t act in coordination. Within their army, there are messengers, which you can choose to trust, with the hope that they aren’t lying. Through all the chaos, they must come to a consensus on a truth of the situation and decide on what plan will work best. Blockchain is the first time we are able to solve the problem in a meaningful way, which doesn’t necessarily yield trust, but facilitates a conversation that everyone can take as the truth. So to draw a direct analogy, in the world of bitcoin, the general’s are the million of people that want to trade. These people need to decide who has how much and who needs to give what to whom. With the increasing complexity of ad tech – over 2000 tech providers and any given campaign you can invoke dozens of them and that will serve one ad to one person – we can now solve this very effectively. With blockchain, there is the ability to (1) solve longstanding structural issues in the industry and (2) solve the dumb pipes of the internet that weren’t meant to survive, bringing about a whole new generation of innovation, models and tools.
Erich joined in stating that blockchain is going to solve everything. Through all the issues that ad tech and digital marketing face, the consumer is the victim. Blockchain is in its infancy, people are talking and trying to figure out what they think. The companies who are quickly and aggressively creating a solution are a mess because it is such an early start. However, from this mess, applications that answer some of these questions will emerge, some taking longer than others.

Adam then asked Dave to play the role of contraire, to which he responded that out of ten possible use cases, there’s a handful of real cases where blockchain would help and ad tech is is at the top of that list. For ad tech, the problems really need to be solved. But he questioned, can blockchain change a company from the inside? Will you start adding blockchain or will you have to rebuild from the technology from scratch? People are saying they will start from the inside, but it isn’t happening. He posed the question if it can really be done?

Erich responded stating that after 22 years of ad tech, it would be ironic if this was the answer, if we are going to use the “stuff” we have today. The “stuff” we have today is bubblegum and duct tape – a quick, easy fix that isn’t sustainable.

Inspired from Erich’s response, Adam asked him why after all the different fields he has found success in and companies he has started, he planted his roots in ad tech?

Erich stated that he is a believer in ad tech, not to say it is without problems. He was surprised to see, after significant research, that many of the problems that ad tech is facing today, stem from the late 90s. Blockchain is new, it’s misunderstood, misapplied and many people say they have the solution. However, when you take into account that there is an opportunity to completely change the industry, there is a generation one opportunity to roll out some core functions that would sit next to and eventually replace that technology. His choice to work in ad tech was deliberate. He believes there is an opportunity to develop a new standard platform that will only succeed with adoption. But, they will get it done.

Adam turned to the audience as someone was curious to learn who profits from the current model? And if this were to start from the roots up, that would mean people are demanding this type of transparency. So, who can block this? Or who would be an objector?

After Dave joked that he’s the guy who isn’t benefiting from the current model, he went on to explain that the finance industry is taking their slice from everyone else. Everyone wants to maintain their part and when you insert something new, everyone wants their piece to be protected. However, no one gets a piece until we use this new system. You would need a consortium of the biggest companies who come together and break down the whole system. It would start from no one getting anything, building back up, and forcing big companies to join in. Naturally people are going to resist.

Erich jumped off of Dave’s point to say that there are people making more money than they should because the inefficiency is bigger than it should be. There are structural imbalances, frauds in the marketplace, vendors of dubious value and people are unclear what the contribution to the value actually is. We are in need of a mechanism to go deeper into the ad impression and see what the vendors are doing to the plan. Doing this would add a lot of value because as of now, lots of people are profiting but not off the right denominator.

Isaac concluded the answers to the question simply stating that there is no doubt that it is a big deal to get an industry to adopt a new idea. It is a challenge but that’s why it is interesting.

The next question also came from someone in the audience who asked how long they thought it would take for this to come to fruition?

Erich first stated the cop out answer that this will come to fruition during our lifetime, continuing to say that the real answer requires a conversation with publishers. There is an iterative way to roll this out that will provide accountability and legitimize the technology, all of which through new innovation. He concluded saying that he sees this happening in five to ten years.

After hearing those numbers, Adam asked if Erich thought it would be possible to see something like this happen in the next year?

Isaac jumped in to say that there are certain things that could sit next to the current technology.
Erich added that other organizations are developing their own points of view. Very large media planning organizations have a process where they sit in front of a media planner and select where they want to provide orders. There is a great deal of buying that happens quite transactionally. So, there is clarity, reporting and accountability in this process that can be taken and applied to blockchain. This could provide an intermittent step in showing the value in accountability for traditional media buying. At the impression level however, this is much more interesting as there are 12+ companies involved in each impression served to a consumer. He concluded stating that the analog way of buying is not going to last throughout our lifetime.

What is motivation to create this and bring it to the marketplace?

Dave used a comparison to the music industry to answer this question. At first, the music industry was very opposed to digital music. It was a ten year process to get them to adapt to the digital side but they quickly realized it was a process in which they would make a little less money while transitioning over in order to secure a sustainable future.

Isaac stated that there is a noisy minority of bad actors who are largely spoiling things for the other folks. The core of all of this comes from eliminating the waste this is directly related to fraud, automated inference processes and the creation of a new protocol to initiate blockchain into the marketplace. More money spent at a more efficient rate will produce better results. All of this will be a reckoning of the noisy bad actors.
Erich posed the question asking how long the industry is going to be passive to the fact that they are wasting half of what they are spending? There is a coalition of the willing who want to spend more money, more efficiently, but changes need to be made now in order for that to happen.

Who are the winners and losers through all of this?

All panelists jumped in to agree that the advertiser wins, the publisher wins, and the consumer wins. The biggest loser is the holding company, those writing the check that knows what is costs but don’t know why or how?

Where is the resistance coming from?

Erich was the first to jump in saying that there are agencies in the world whose business practices are suspect, which has nothing to do with blockchain. But, there is also a group of enlightened agencies, and with this group, there is hope that the conversation about blockchain enables empowered advertisers and agencies to make a better decision, have clarity in where value is created. Blockchain could disrupt how some agencies operate today.

Adam then asked if people are going to come together to make this happen? Obviously blockchain technology helps with transparency and fraud, but many people associate it with cryptocurrency, so does that mean that media will need to be paid for by cryptocurrency?

Dave explained that people often mix the technology of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency can ride on top of blockchain and utilize it; there would not be blockcahin without cryptocurrency, but you don’t need cryptocurrency to validate it. Cryptocurrency can have nothing to do with the payments. He then used the example of lbry. Lbry is “free, open and community-run digital marketplace” built on the idea that people deserve free information. If a publisher is going to take upwards of 30% of the ad revenue, we should just let the people deal with each other. There is already iterative technology that is being built to take away the idea that you can make money from advertising.

Adam again went to the audience and someone asked how does someone go to P&G, for example, and ask them to use blockchain? From a security point of view, blockchain was built to be secure, but cryptocurrency has been hacked. So, how does one prove that blockchain is safe?

Erich took to answering this question by explaining that there are many insecure systems still in their infancy. We keep putting our own paradyme on how the industry should work, but, maybe there is a different paradigm that we have to play within.

Isaac added that blockchain itself has never been cracked, but people are trying to build so fast, people are leaving holes that can be cracked.

Adam brought up Brave Browser, started by Mozilla, which is a browser that lets people manage their identity and get paid for their personal data – a unique approach that questions who gets paid for what. He then asked if the panelists believed that people care enough to build something from the ground up?

Isaac’s opinion on this question was that if you have to ask consumers to install new browser, new marketing, new ways of “everything,” it doesn’t strike as the most optimal way forward for the industry. New protocol should enable those kinds of interaction. Everything should be built into the new enabling infrastructure or technology. He also added that we shouldn’t count out the traditional advertising people,
Erich believes that people do care. He brought up ad blocking and the poor advertising environment that consumers currently experience. The current answer to the ineffective environment is more volume, more poor advertising. 50% of advertising is fraud so the other 50% has to work harder, at a higher volume, with a lower cost. So, how do advertisers do it? What do they need? They don’t need  a new internet, but rather a well articulated process between the advertiser and the consumer. We need new technology that is reliable everyday with an optimized consumer experience.

The final question of the evening came from the audience. GDPR has unveiled a lot of questions with cost – companies have closed because they can’t afford the new costs. Could this prohibit companies from activating blockchain? Will small start-ups not be able to afford it?

Of course it costs money to reformat a business, stated Erich. However, he is weary that cost is not the sole reason companies left the market after GDPR. Effective deployment of the technology is at an infrastructure level. This would not require companies to create an entire new workflow.
The pipes of the internet are GDPR compliant, added Isaac, so it would be efficient to have smarter pipes that do the heavy lifting for us.
Adam concluded the panel, thanking the panelists for their time.

There is much to get excited about regarding blockchain. Although still at the beginning stages of development, adoption and acceptance, there is so much to be learned and gained from its adoption. A world that enables less fraud, more transparency and more brand safety is something to look forward to.
After more conversations and a delicious dessert, we were all pleasantly surprised by a spontaneous fireworks show over the water. Great discussion, delicious food and a beautiful view made for a spectacular Boston event. We want to thank our three amazing panelist once again for giving their unique and informative perspectives on this very relevant topic. We look forward to seeing you at one of our dinner panels in the near future.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Amazon Invests in Ad Tech with its DSP AAP (Amazon Advertising Platform)

Interested in learning about Amazon’s DSP capabilities and how it can add value to your media plan? Reach out to us here and learn about Digilant’s unique partnership with Amazon’s AAP (proprietary ad platform).

Amazon is now everywhere, seemingly moving into every industry and recently making great strides in ad tech with its growing DSP business, opening up self-service programmatic ad products, and offering training programs to make direct connections with ad buyers. Its Transparent Ad Marketplace is the most popular server-to-server wrapper in the ad industry.

According to eMarketer‘s latest report, Amazon’s advertising revenues will total $1.65 billion in 2017 —far below that of Google or Facebook, but above brands like Twitter and Snapchat.
By investing in it’s demand-side platform (DSP), which is now one of the largest in the US, Amazon has a larger share of the US digital display ad market. With 3.0% of net US digital display ad revenues, Amazon takes 4th place for display ad buying in 2017 and is keeping it’s eyes on 3rd place. By offering Headline search ads, Amazon can compete with Google and Facebook for ad dollars.  Amazon is the most popular site for customers to search for consumer products online and by offering headline search ads, they are now dipping into Google’s search engine market share.

Amazon is Changing Digital Advertising as we Know it!

The one thing marketers hate is spending media budget to buy ads and then having to prove that they are converting with attribution methods.  Amazon is promising its programmatic ad buyers that if you buy ads on their DSP platform, you’ll know that they work and they will show you data to prove it. Because marketers not only want to be able to place ads in the right place and at right time, but they also want the right relevance.  Amazon offers measurement metrics from impressions and clicks to deeper data on sales information, full shopping journeys and things like a customer’s worth over a lifetime, giving media buyers what they need to prove their ads are contributing to conversions.  Amazon has a gigantic pool of real-time data, not just likes and habits, but actual purchases – what people are buying and how they are doing it -, you will know what ads work in actually driving people to make purchases — and then be best positioned to target those ads.

Their timing couldn’t be better, as Amazon’s DSP is growing in popularity, ad buyers are cutting back the number of DSPs they use. Media buyers and CMOs are choosing to use less DSPs and self-service platforms are on the rise in the ad tech industry, specifically for brands who are bringing all of their digital media buying in-house, with the goal to trim fees and have more control over their overall go-to-market strategy.  Amazon has greatly benefited from the programmatic in-housing trend. It offers agencies and brands a programmatic self-service model, and its DSP fees are among the lowest in the market.

If you want to know more about Amazon’s DSP capabilities and how it can add value to your media plan, or ask questions about Amazon’s AAP (proprietary ad platform) Digilant can help.  Reach out to us here.

3 Keys to Successful Digital Marketing

The current state of the consumer-brand relationship lends itself to digital marketing strategies that cross channels, devices, and audiences, analyzing performance in real time for constant optimization. When done properly, you’ll increase scale and decrease ad spend, promoting products and services on the digital platforms that will yield the highest conversion rates.

However, creating a successful digital marketing strategy is not easy. Without the help of an experienced strategist at a digital marketing company, implementing an effective strategy can be daunting and nearly impossible. Many brands blindly enter into a cookie-cutter strategy and end up throwing away their ad dollars on campaigns that don’t yield the results they originally set out to achieve. If you’ve ever asked yourself any of the following questions, it’s probably time to seek out help from a digital marketing company that can provide you with some answers:

  • “What  strategies are essential to achieving my intended marketing objectives?”
  • “How can I tell which tools are appropriate to solve certain problems?”
  • “What do I really need to get started, grow and develop my digital marketing strategy?”
  • “After having tested an initial strategy, how am I going to be able to fine tune my strategy so that the digital tactics that are ideal for my brand are implemented?”
  • “Where should I start, with all the information I have at my fingertips?”  

4 Essential Components of a Digital Marketing Strategy

Before diving into the three keys to developing a digital marketing strategy, it’s critical that you understand the essential components required to form the base of an efficient strategy. Every effective digital marketing strategy includes the following elements:

1.- A Defined Target
If you’re not clear on who you want your ads to reach, you shouldn’t bother wasting your ad spend on a digital marketing campaign without a clear objective. It may seem like a no-brainer, but many brands continue making the mistake of defining their total addressable market as everyone and anyone that they can reach.

The first step in creating any digital marketing strategy is to clearly define the audience you plan on targeting. Although marketing before the onset of the internet tried to reach as many consumers as possible with a single message via mass media channels like TV and radio, this will yield less than satisfactory performance and require an exorbitantly large marketing budget.

Technology and the way in which consumers interact with brands have changed, so your marketing strategy should too. You can no longer, nor should you, “use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.” Be certain that you dedicate time to clearly defining your buyer persona.

2.- Identify Optimal Channels
If you’ve determined who your potential customers are, it’s easier to identify  the types of media with which they’re most likely to interact. There are dozens of digital media channels: email marketing, social media, chat bots, landing pages, in-app, etc. Some are good for increasing conversions, others are excellent for generating engagement, and there are some that stand out for their ability to increase brand awareness. Regardless of which channels you opt for, implementing an omni-channel approach is essential to reach all current customers and uncover new leads.

3.- Gripping Creative
After deciding to who and where your digital marketing will be directed, you have to make sure that your creative grabs the user’s attention. Some advertisers think that it’s enough to simply put together a nicely written caption and add an image before publishing content. However, in today’s highly-saturated online ecosystem this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The overabundance of messages appearing across banners, search engines, and social networks forces brands to design creatives that will break through the noise and be noticed by their audience. To create a gripping creative it’s essential to:

  • Write attractive copy
  • Use appropriate fonts and colors
  • Design motivational calls to action
  • Choose pictures or videos that tell a story to which your consumer can relate

4.- A Programmatic Partner

After you’ve addressed the above components of your digital marketing strategy, you have to tie it all together and make sure that your campaigns are properly executed. The best way to make sure that the proper advertisements are arriving to the right people at the right time is undoubtedly through a programmatic ad buying campaign through a trusted partner like Digilant.
Having a reliable programmatic partner allows you to seamlessly implement campaigns with both incredible scale and precise targeting, all while guaranteeing transparent media buying, paying for impressions based on the ROI that they’ll yield.

3 Keys to Successful Digital Marketing

Having the above components will provide a structural base for your digital marketing, but if you truly want to compete and create a sustainable strategy, you and the digital marketing company with which you partner will have to do the following in your next campaign:

1.) Create Valuable Content
Your business relies on users buying their products and services in order to grow, but if you think that your leads are going to just directly input your URL into their search engine and begin browsing your products, you’re sorely mistaken. Today’s digital marketing strategies have evolved to implement content that drives leads down the funnel.

A complete stranger is delivered your content because it helps solve a problem that his user behavior indicated he might face. The content must then educate this user and spark an interest to seek out more knowledge, now considered a warm lead until he or she is further educated on how your product or services are a solution to their problems, becoming a customer.

Content marketing has become an imperative digital marketing strategy with nearly six time higher website conversion rates for adopters than non-adopters, and more and more marketers are catching on. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers say that they are producing more original content this year than they had in 2016.

2.) Design with Mobile in Mind
Once you’ve created valuable content, you must adapt it for all media channels that your campaign will touch. Regardless of how niche the audience is that you’re trying to reach are, you can guarantee that most of them will be using a cellphone, 95% of users in the U.S. to be exact.

Mobile usage has grown and mobile commerce is becoming a vital piece to the digital marketing puzzle. are displayedcorrectly and loaded in the places where you have placed them. Whether designing for native in-app, banners, interstitials, or simply your website, your brand’s digital presence must be fully optimized for mobile in order for your campaigns and following ROI to be optimal.

One way to make sure of this is to design with a mobile-first mindset, meaning your creative and copy are initially made for mobile environments and then adapted for other devices.

3.) Make Decisions Backed by Data
One of the most common mistakes that many antiquated digital marketing companies fall into is making decisions based purely off of their team’s opinion rather than analyzing data on past performance to make better decisions moving forward. If you don’t have your campaigns tracked and haven’t set KPIs to assess them, your marketing will remain stagnant and your business will suffer.

If you’re to focus on only one of these three keys to digital marketing, your efforts will be best spent leveraging your data to drive these metrics. Combining first party data from your CRM and the third party data available to you when working with a programmatic partner like Digilant, you’ll have the resources to meaningfully segment your targeting and penetrate all necessary media channels for optimal results in your next digital marketing campaign.

Interested in putting these keys to digital marketing to the test in your next campaign? Learn more about how Digilant can help get you there here.

How to Become a Better Programmatic Marketer?


Programmatic ad buying has gone from being an advertising technology used only by the largest of businesses, to a key marketing tactic for any brand that wants to be seen and heard in today’s constantly expanding digital ecosystem. Despite its widespread prevalence, programmatic ad buying is an advertising practice that requires sophisticated training and knowledge to properly implement and get the most out of your ad dollars. If you want to plan and execute a programmatic ad campaign like a pro, you need to know what strategies to adopt, what trends and data to pay attention to and which metrics to follow to monitor performance?

Although programmatic ad buying campaigns can vary greatly in their tactics, with some aiming to amplify brand awareness, and others more focused on generating leads, a marketer that can develop a programmatic ad buying strategy that effectively reaches desired ROI while maintaining transparency is considered successful. Transparency refers to providing buyers with a clear view of the price of inventory purchased, the data leveraged to place their ads, and the environments in which those ads will ultimately end up, and being able to identify attribution.

How does programmatic advertising fit into an overall digital marketing strategy?

Whether you’re using digital media for direct acquisition or for brand awareness, if you’re still buying it traditionally, you’re letting go of opportunities to optimize your ad spend and maximize your total addressable market. In order to compete in today’s digital marketplace, integrating programmatic ad buying into your digital marketing strategy is a must.

In the broadest sense, programmatic is the automation of marketing activities, from the smallest programming of a post to implementing a highly layered real time omnichannel campaign. If you haven’t already dove into programmatic ad buying and are debating whether or not to get your toes wet, considering the following:

  • Would programmatic buying more efficient than how my brand is currently buying media?
  • Would programmatic buying be more transparent?
  • Would programmatic buying be more profitable?

How does the process of programmatic ad buying work?


The development of algorithms using data science driven technology that analyze the behavior of an individual user, is the driving force of programmatic ad buying, optimizing bidding in real time and reaching audiences composed of the users that are most likely to convert.

Businesses that bid for inventory through programmatic ad buying can compile an enormous amount of data that can become audience segments. The sooner you launch a campaign and the more time it has to gather this data, the sooner your programmatic ad buying platform’s data intelligence can strengthen your overall digital marketing strategy through more efficient targeting.

Learning about how programmatic ad buying can drive your digital marketing campaign is great, but it’s equally as important to know what’s underneath the hood. Purchasing programmatic ads involves the following systems:

1.) DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) facilitate the purchase of ad inventory and allow marketers to reach their target audience when integrated with a data management platform. In Today’s marketplace there’s a wide variety of DSPs available to brands looking to buy ads programmatically, and programmatic agencies such as Digilant who can manage your campaigns.
2.) DMPs (Data Management Platforms) compile and analyze massive quantities of cookie and mobile data that provide insights that help advertisers make better and more informed decisions. Generally the data sets with which DMPs work with are:

  • 1st party data: Data compiled directly from the advertiser; their website, social media platforms, email marketing and display campaigns, or their own CRM.
  • 3rd party data: Data compiled from external sources. The user data points generally consist of age, gender, social and professional interests, geographic location, and other interests or needs of the user inferred from their online behavior.

3.) For content publishers, SSPs (Sell Side Platforms) are essential in providing a source of revenue. This platform is where various types of online media manage their unsold ad inventory. Bidders using DSPs are provided with information on the value of the available inventory from the SSP with data on page visits, visitor demographics, number of pages viewed, and length of site visit.

Step by Step Process

It’s essential to know how to work with the data insights that you acquire through your DSP. Once you feel that you have a strong handle on the aforementioned elements involved in the programmatic ad buying process, you’ll want to launch your campaign on a programmatic buying platform.

Whether your campaign is managed or you opt for a platform with self-service, it’s crucial that you partner with a provider that has a great support team to help you through any challenges that you come across throughout your campaign’s operation.

As seen in the above infographic, the programmatic ad buying process can be divided into 5 steps:

  1. Picking: The starting point of any programmatic ad buying process, picking refers to the period during which brands define the inventory criteria that they’d like to set before moving forward with bidding. Regardless of the DSP that you opt to use, you’ll be asked for information surrounding your budget, target audience, and the KPIs you want to achieve.
  2. Matching: Now that the DSP system knows what type of inventory you’re looking for, it will search ad networks and buy audience data from various digital environments and match your ads with the sites and platforms that will best align with your KPIs.
  3. Triggering: Once a match is found, the ad is placed and waits for a trigger. There are various types of triggers, but all refer to an interaction with the ad creative,  whether it’s a click, a mouse-over, or simply a page view.
  4. Tracking: With the ad now visible and receiving engagement from users, data surrounding this engagement will be collected to provide advertisers with insights about how effectively the campaign is operating.
  5. Repeat: Programmatic ad buying is a cyclical process that repeats itself. Once you’ve launched your campaign and have had ample time to analyze its performance, the human aspect of programmatic must come into place. you will have to return to the starting point steadily. Being an automated process, the repetition becomes one more step, which the user assumes as natural and proper to the operation of this system of purchase.

Common Concerns of Marketers New to Programmatic Ad Buying

Programmatic ad buying was specifically designed to help marketers execute more scalable, efficient and precise digital campaigns, so why are some marketers hesitant to give it a shot?

There are several reasons why some brands don’t feel completely secure with implementing programmatic ad campaigns.

1.) Ad Fraud

In today’s digital ecosystem, ad fraud is a huge concern for programmatic marketers. According to a Wall Street Journal report, it’s estimated that more than a third of online ad traffic is fraudulent, meaning a third of ads won’t be viewed by an actual user.

However, with advances in programmatic technology fraudulent traffic can now be detected by analyzing user behavior. The most common forms of fraud come from bots that generate irrelevant clicks and falsifying user characteristics, and ad fraud comes in many forms, including:

  • Selling of inventory automatically generated by bots or background mobile-app services
  • Serving ads on a site other than the one provided in a Real Time Bid – or RTB request
  • Delivering pre-roll video placements in display banner slots
  • Falsifying user characteristics like location and browser type
  • Hiding ads behind or inside other page elements so that they can’t be viewed hindering a user’s opportunity to engage by frequently refreshing the ad unit or page

Fortunately, technology exists that combats ad fraud, tracking suspicious traffic and retargeting ads to user traffic with real potential customers that are most prone to convert.

2.) Viewability

As previously mentioned, a fraudulent ad will never be viewed by a real user, but beyond being seen by a human, what constitutes a viewable ad? The Media Rating Council deems a programmatic display ad viewable if at least 50% of the creative is visible to the user for at least one continuous second. This may sound like a non-issue, but viewability is crucial metric for any programmatic marketer. A study conducted last March found that 57% of ads served are not considered visible and that leads to wasted ad spend and diminishing ROI.

3.) Brand Safety

Companies like Integral Ad Science, that specialize in guaranteeing brand safety, have evolved to fully integrate their services to protect programmatic advertisers’ campaigns from operating in ways that can damage brand reputation. The main responsibility of these companies is to assure that ads across the digital ecosystem don’t appear in environments that could be compromising to a brand’s identity or mission.

It’s ultimately not worth the risk to invest in a programmatic ad buying platform if you aren’t able to guarantee that your ads will be displayed on secure media platforms, and more importantly, alongside relevant content with values congruent to those of your brand. Let this past March’s Google Ad Crisis be a reminder for all advertisers to prioritize brand safety.

Major Brands Relying 0n Programmatic Ad Buying for Results

Many brands today are decreasing their traditional ad spend or cutting it all together. In an interview with CNBC, Adidas’ CEO, Kasper Rorsted, stated, “All of our engagement with the consumer is through digital media and we believe in the next three years we can take our online business from approximately 1 billion euros to 4 billion euros and create a much more direct engagement with consumers.”

This decision marks an important paradigm shift for digital marketers. With the sheer quantity of online user behavior data available and a plethora of digital media channels on which to reach these users, today’s advertisers are positioned to create digital marketing campaigns with incredible scale. When combined with programmatic ad buying, this scale is effectively leveraged to target and uncover the most valuable users in real time.

Interested in unlocking data and uncovering your brand’s potential through programmatic ad buying? Learn more about Digilant’s solutions here.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Why Media Buyers Should be Using Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social platform that enables users to collect ideas by “pinning” images, articles, or even recipes to themed boards.

Similar in size to Snapchat, Pinterest has over 150 million active users worldwide — about half of which are outside of the US — and users spend an average of a little over an hour and a half per month on the platform.

Like Snapchat, Pinterest’s audience is mostly women, with just over 70% of users being female. However, the age demographic for Pinterest skews higher than Instagram; nearly two-thirds of users are over 30. Pinterest gives brands the opportunity to be discovered by audiences that are actively seeking ideas. Pinterest users are eager to connect with brands. Approximately two-thirds of content pinned comes from brands and businesses. And users report being more likely to follow brands than individuals like celebrities or experts.

What makes Pinterest interesting for media buyers?

What really makes Pinterest stand out is the way that users interact with content. Pins don’t ever go away, so marketers can make the most of quality content for their programmatic advertising campaigns. On other channels, feeds drive content placed in front of the user, making recency key. On Pinterest, users are exposed to content via discovery and search, ideal for contextual tactics in a media buying plan.

And Pinterest drives purchasing!

  •    87% of Pinners purchase a product because of Pinterest and
  •    93% of Pinners are pinning to plan a future purchase

Pinterest also drives web traffic – up to 5% of all website traffic is coming from Pinterest, that’s second only to Facebook, which drives up to 25% of website traffic. But Pinterest is surprisingly leading in one category over Facebook: Pinners average order value from referral traffic is around $59, compared to $55 from Facebook.

Pinterest is a clear cut marketing tool and source of inventory for programmatic advertisers.  For a business like the fictional Heart and Sole Shoes that are looking to promote very visually appealing physical products it is more obvious, but for B2B brands like Dave’s Data Storage it might be a less obvious advertising option since their products are more conceptual and therefore demanding more thought and creativity from the marketer.

Marketing best practices for Pinterest 

Marketers can make it a best practice to include some visual element in any blog they’d like to share, or create infographics packed with valuable information worth sharing. Data charts are equally visual and eye catching – users know that there is info to be discovered. Some service-orientated businesses do well with showing pictures of their happy customers– imagine how interesting and fun Penny’s Pet Grooming Pins could be showing well-groomed pets reuniting with their happyowners?

Pinterest offers plenty of opportunities, if marketers can rise to the challenge of creating visually engaging and high quality content that can match the staying power of Pins.

Summary

  • Pinterest stands out among other social media platforms with permanent Pins driven by user discovery and search.       
  • Pinners are purchasers – and they spend an average of almost $60, higher than Facebook’s $55 average.
  • Businesses and brands can use their Pinterest page to engage and build relationships by Pinning their own and others’ content – or even inviting guest Pins from brand fans.
  • Businesses and brands need to create visually compelling, high quality content to get the most from permanent, long-term Pins.

How to Hire a Digital Media Buying Agency?

Hiring the right digital media agency is one of the most essential tasks for any brand that wants to effectively reach its target audiences. The digital ecosystem has radically transformed the work of media agencies. However, its main function has remained the same: having a brand message reach the right audience, at the right place and time, and at the lowest possible cost for the advertiser.

Until a few years ago, the main media outlets were newspapers, television, radio or outdoor advertising media. In spite of the great variety of available means, the truth is that the work of a media agency was simpler.

As seen in the image below, the process of buying advertising space began in the compilation of a series of data that the agency itself interpreted and executed channel by channel.

buying ad space

Changes in the media purchase model

The transformation of the media buying ecosystem has brought some changes that should be taken into account:

  • The emergence of the Internet has lead to significant audience fragmentation in each and every one of the digital channels. And all this boosted by the irruption of mobile devices. It is becoming increasingly true that : anyone who writes a blog, creates a radio or television station, is a digital medium. Because although the reach of each of individual channels very small, the sum of all of them is a very sizeable amount. That is why the long tail of digital media is one of the main headaches of media agencies. And the way to solve it is one of the keys to take into account when hiring a digital media agency.
  • The evolution of advertising technology has profoundly changed much of the media buying process.
  • In the past, marketing managers and agencies could buy inventory directly from the publishers. A purchase decision that in many cases was based on the content. Depending on the target you would like to impact, you should choose a specific medium. However, the emergence of technologies such as DSPs, DMPs or SSPs have not only solved some of the inefficiencies of the traditional media buying process, but also, has made the process faster and easier to identify the target and the right moment to impact it.
  • The generation and grouping of data from a variety of sources makes it possible to achieve greater target identification. The technology makes a huge volume of data available to all the actors of the ecosystem, as well as the possibility of extracting value from their combination. Thus, it can impact a very specific type of user. Taking into account not only its demographic aspects but also its digital behavior.

Traditional Media Buying Vs. Programmatic Buyinginfografía compra de medios tradicional Vs compra de medios digitales

The concept of a media agency as a mere buyer of advertising space has disappeared, as technology has been further integrated into the buying process. The previous infographic shows the main differences between the traditional media purchase and the programmatic purchase.
Highlights include:

  1. The purchase of ads changes from manual to fully automated,thanks to powerful software that allows Real Time Bidding (RTB), in milliseconds.
  2. It goes from a process that involves several people to a management in which the technology groups the data in a common dashboard.
  3. Price stops being a matter of agencies and publishers to being set up through real-time bidding. It allows you to buy and sell inventory in real time based on possible impressions.
  4. Measurement goes from being a tedious and complicated task to be generated via automated reporting. That, in addition, allows generating more knowledge through the application of several filters to the data.
  5. Traditionally, the only way to optimize the campaigns was to wait and see the results. By contrast, programmatic buying of digital media allows to optimize the campaigns in real time. Basically by the access to the data as it consolidates.
  6. A slow and intensive process in human resources is transformed into something fast and automated, where much fewer human errors are made.

 

Keys to hiring a digital media agency

Having established this background, hiring a digital media agency has become essential. It is essential if the agency does not have the technological means, or if it lacks the necessary knowledge, or if it does not have access to the long tail inventory.

Having access to a media agency that buys ad space is no longer enough to draw interest. The most compelling  thing is that this agency focuses on data analysis and technology to optimize any campaign in real time. This is important when deciding  between  digital media agencies to hire.

To avoid falling into errors, there are a number of keys that you must master:

1.- Appropriate Technology
 Technology is a pivotal piece of the puzzle. If a digital media agency does not have the appropriate technology, it can’t compete with the market.

The process of buying media with agreements between the publisher and the advertiser is no longer useful. It is now essential to have a DSP to automate the access to an almost unlimited inventory, while leveraging algorithms to define audience segments appropriate to each campaign.

A DSP is the technology that allows the ad to reach a higher quality audience, thanks to its capability to cross users’ data with auctions’ data. This helps optimize campaigns in real time. Hence the importance it has when it comes to hiring a digital media agency. So it is very important to opt for partners like Digilant.

2.- Access to unlimited inventory
 One of the tasks of a DSP is to centralize media buying services, and to do so in real time. This automation allows you to integrate data from both your own sources and from other suppliers, as well as advertiser data.

This not only makes decision-making more accurate (fundamentally because much more information is available and more segmented), but even more important it allows access to an almost unlimited inventory. In the case of the traditional media purchase the access to inventory depended on the ability to negotiate with the publishers one by one.

3.- Creativity
 However, using programmatic buying does not imply letting go of creativity. Quite the contrary, when hiring a digital media agency you must assess that the agency can generate creative strategies. Only doing so, it will be possible to make decisions with a return:

  • Where you need to communicate the brand to your users.
  • What message to send.

4.- Complete reports in real time
 A professional reporting dashboard makes it possible to explore and interact with thousands of data points, and what it is even more interesting, in real time. This is another essential aspect in deciding why to hire a digital media agency or another.

A digital media agency should be able to offer you aggregate metrics as well as trends for specific time periods. Reports that give you information about your audience, that have been extracted from First, Second and Third Party Data.

This aspect is fundamental since these reports are used for the timely optimization of each campaign, which will make you achieve a greater return on your investment.

5.- Support
One of the problems with automation is that some advertisers need to learn how to work with certain tools. Knowing what a DSP is and how it works is not enough. It is important to know how to use it.

Hence before hiring a digital media agency is necessary to study in depth the support it offers. It is not only important the explanations they offer, but you should also consider the contact channels that are being used to offer that support: webinars, chat system, phone, etc.  as well as the language. Sometimes incorporating technology involves mastering terminology that you may not know in your language.

In this regard, Digilant University, offers programmatic knowledge relevant to media agencies and brands.
Digilant University Programmatic Media Buying Training
 
6.- Price
 Is there any company that does not take this variable into account? It is a  mistake to only consider this factor when deciding the agency you are going to hire. However,  this list of aspects to consider, the fact that it is more or less expensive is important, especially if it is accompanied with different functionalities.

7.- Certifications
 One of the ways to increase the confidence of other companies is to demonstrate expertise. Having professional certifications is another aspect to take into account. For example, when it comes to buying digital media, the QAG Quality standard from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a certification confirming the agency’s commitment to providing advertisers with high-quality, transparent and reliable advertising placements is key.

Something only within the reach of a few companies among which, of course includes Digilant. Do you want to know more about our Programmatic solutions?

5 Programmatic Advertising Tips to Boost Performance

By Wesley Farris Director of Partnerships at Digilant

Programmatic has evolved considerably. What was once an experimental technology, has now morphed into a cross-channel, data-driven ecosystem with unlimited opportunity and strategic value. In fact, U.S. programmatic spending continues to rise – it is expected to surpass over $27 billion by the end 2017, according to e-marketer. Today, the question is no longer “Will we use Programmatic?” but rather, “How will we use Programmatic?”

Despite programmatic’s growth and widespread adoption, many marketers still struggle with how to best leverage it to maximize ROI. That’s not surprising considering its vast menu of options — programmatic can leave many marketers wondering where to begin. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Below are five tips to help you navigate your programmatic options today:

1.Identify A Goal

goal1Before diving into programmatic, it’s important to first understand and acknowledge the objective of your effort. Is the goal of this campaign direct response or branding? Are you trying to drive people to a physical location or convert online? Are you trying to better understand your audience or learn when and where they are converting?

Identifying the goal of the campaign will enable the selection of the best programmatic tactics. For example, if your campaign goal is direct response, your programmatic efforts should include retargeting. If your goal is branding, focusing on domains with high impact ad units and domains with historical high viewability scores are good starting points. For instance, you might work with a partner who can measure viewability and Limit Fraud to ensure ads are highly visible. Overall, aligning your goal with your programmatic tactics will deliver better performance and improved ROI.

2.Identify The Right Marketing Channels

channel2There are many ways to reach an audience programmatically: desktop, mobile, mobile apps, video, native, audio, and TV, just to name a few. But how do you choose the right channels?Each channel has its pros and cons, and you should carefully weigh them when deciding where to spend your budget. For instance, desktop display tends to be affordable and flexible, but won’t drive as many clicks. Conversely, video and audio can drive high viewability, have better ad recall and are strong branding performers, but they come with higher CPMs.
So, if the goal is a low cost per action or return on ad spend, you are better off spending your budget on desktop and mobile display. If you are looking for better brand recall, video and audio might justify the higher CPM. Cross device targeting is essential if you are trying to drive conversions/sales in order to reach the target audience during all phases of the purchase cycle. In general, if you want to get more value from your programmatic media buys, don’t underestimate the importance of carefully selecting the channels you’ll use for your campaign.

3.Identify Data Layers

With the growth of programmatic, we’ve also seen the proliferation of audience segmentation and big data, both of which can be used to enhance and optimize campaigns.  A great way to visualize the data selection process is to think of audience segmentation as various layers of data. With each data layer, the goal is to filter and remove users that don’t fit the target you are trying to reach. For example, let’s say you want to target women who will be in market to
purchase maternity clothes.

  • Data ProgrammaticFirst data layer might try to segment the entire user population to identify pregnant women. This could be accomplished by looking at a combination of demographic data and apps on the user’s device.
  • Second data layer might look to identify pregnant women who have shown an interest in maternity clothes, or behavior to purchase them. A marketer could target them on search history, contextual content, and their physical location history. These two data layers will help you establish a baseline for pregnant women who have shown an interest in purchasing maternity clothes.
  • Third data layer could be the audience of users who have viewed specific products on a maternity clothes brand’s website and are retargeted.

Overall, a layered data strategy enables you to filter out non-applicable users, and focus on your ideal target audience. Doing so will boost the ROI of your programmatic effort.

4.Attribute Performance

programmatic attributionIt’s important to know what is performing in a campaign and why? Programmatic media allows marketers to understand performance at a level that is unmatched when compared to other traditional media such as print or TV.  Today, there are no longer limitations to properly attribute a programmatic media campaign, and marketers don’t have to rely on CTR or first/last click attribution. Instead, attribution allows marketers to truly understand — on a 1-to-1 level — how their media affected their bottom line. For instance, tying media to physical in-store traffic is a great way to take an abstract media metric and apply it to real world performance, and is readily available in the marketplace. Media can be tied to loyalty data or credit card transactions as well, so marketers no longer need to guess if a campaign made an impact on the bottom line. And from a branding stand point, marketers can just as easily tie a media campaign to the impact on their brand and how consumers perceive it.

5.Optimize

Attribution ProgrammaticFortunately, programmatic media provides more metrics, insights, and hard data than any other form of media.  Tapping into this data can greatly help you uncover insights that aren’t always intuitive, and improve the performance of your next initiative.
For example, if you are a retail marketer focused on sports apparel, you might assume that your audience might skew male. However, a programmatic campaign might reveal that your top performing audience is actually females 25-34.  Be sure to examine your programmatic campaign insights for learnings that will help you fine-tune future efforts. Doing so will ensure increase your ROI and bottom line performances.

There will always be ways to improve a media buy, and programmatic’s flexible capabilities allows for that continual optimization. Pre-flight, mid-flight, and post-flight analysis and strategy can ensure campaign performances continues to improve. When mapping out programmatic efforts, be sure to take the time to apply the the above 5 tips to boost success.

 

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