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

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.

Digilant Announces MAIA: Programmatic Power With Human Insights

Marketing, Artificial Intelligence & Analytics for the Modern Marketer

Boston — December 18, 2018 Today, Digilant — a programmatic media buying services company — introduced MAIA: Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics. This straightforward yet powerful infrastructure will be used to power DIGILANT and offers advertisers the harmonious combination of programmatic power and human derived insights, in one easy-to-use solution.  
According to a recent report by Forrester, no one DSP or ad-tech platform exists that addresses the full range of omni-channel buying needs. As a result, marketers are forced to stitch together a patchwork of disparate platforms, inventory and data sources to address their requirements — and then rely on these programs built on wobbly infrastructure to measure, analyze and predict consumer behavior.

“The existing set of online advertising solutions is conceptually inadequate for what marketers need to be successful in 2019 and beyond”, says Raquel Rosenthal, CEO of Digilant. “This year we made it a priority to address this gaping hole in the digital advertising solutions landscape, and we think we nailed it with MAIA.”

Never before have marketers been forced to be so adept across so many channels, or has it been such an ongoing challenge to serve up “the right ads, to the right audience, at the right time and cost”. With dozens and sometimes hundreds of dynamic digital channels to manage on even a single campaign, media buyers find themselves at the mercy of systems and software that are often either disconnected altogether, have loose and unreliable connections, or report on questionable metrics. The result is advertisers exposed to potential overspending, fraud and brand safety concerns.

Enter MAIA – Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics for the modern marketer.

According to eMarketer, 73% of U.S. marketing professionals find it difficult to get quality reporting and insights from their data sources. And in our experience at Digilant, the crux of the problem is a combination of an over-reliance on technology and not enough involvement of insightful and experienced digital advertising professionals.

This is the issue MAIA addresses head-on. Unlike existing marketplace solutions, MAIA brings people and technology together, creating the perfect blend of strategy, insight and efficiency that helps drive marketing teams to successful outcomes. MAIA intelligently makes sense of massive data sets, and with the constant support and guidance from the Digilant operations and analytics teams, leads advertisers to more efficient media buys, better decision-making, and media optimization across multiple channels — resulting in superior ROAS and overall performance.

MAIA Combines Best-of-Breed Technology + Talent

With the introduction of MAIA, Digilant is now able to offer Digital Advertising Solutions for agencies and brands that blends both human expertise and curated technology to generate intelligent insights activated through cross-channel campaigns.

“I’ve been in the Internet advertising industry for more than 20 years,” says Digilant CEO Raquel Rosenthal, “and I can tell you that MAIA solves the single biggest challenge that media buyers face today, and that’s multichannel management and optimization. There’s nothing in the marketplace that comes close to the features and functionality of MAIA.”

MAIA’s infrastructure was built to combat the future complexities of the advertising industry and allows marketers to effectively use billions of collected and analyzed data points. This data is sourced from over 250+ log level feeds, API’s and server-to-server level integrations with partners and channels. MAIA’s AWS powered technology directly feeds in to Digilant’s fully integrated Data Management Platform and Data Mining Console.


MAIA, by Digilant, offers media buyers and brands:

  • Omni-channel media buying and execution
  • Privileged access to the highest-quality markets and media
  • Real-time, extensible data management based on people, not cookies
  • A proprietary data layer combined with AI, built from real transactions
  • Extensible decisioning and machine learning platform, and customizable attribution framework
  • The best human insights from people with programmatic know-how

The modern marketing operation requires both programmatic power and human expertise to be successful, and MAIA accurately measures, analyzes and predicts customer personas, behaviors and motives. The platform uses data as a currency, to not only build the most accurate audiences to target, but to give brands the ability to see the whole picture – how strategy, data, inventory and reporting work together. And then the ability act on those insights to consistently learn and achieve better results campaign-over-campaign.

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 them 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.

Healthcare Marketers Gain Programmatic Power Using Unique Deterministic Data

Digilant And HealthLink Dimensions Partner To Help Marketers Go All-In On Digital

Boston — November 15, 2018  Today, Digilant, a programmatic media buying services company, announced that to address a pressing market need, Digilant and HealthLink Dimensions have joined forces to create a powerful partnership, specifically designed to address the demands of healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing executives by offering:

  • Industry leading programmatic power
  • The best deterministic physician and health care provider data
  • Insightful and practical analysis from experts

“We’re very optimistic about the new alignment with HealthLink Dimensions,” says Raquel Rosenthal, CEO at Digilant. “We’ve been delivering programmatic solutions to brands all over the world for more than a decade, and the healthcare category is ripe for digital marketing innovation.”

Health marketers are facing more challenges than ever before, in addition to having to wrangle with the steady drumbeat of regulatory and HIPAA issues that require constant attention. Indeed, the perfect storm of proliferating data and an influx of new marketing technologies has resulted in an environment never before experienced by many of even the most accomplished marketers.

As a result, healthcare marketing executives are encountering myriad new complexities, like keeping pace with technology adoption, generating a steady stream of news to fill social media channels they never used before, and addressing the ongoing challenges of targeting the right audiences without being limited by scale.

Programmatic On The Rise in Healthcare & Pharma

According to eMarketer, health marketers are lagging inordinately in adopting programmatic, as compared with their peers in other industry categories. Indeed, programmatic penetration is 4X as higher across other U.S. sectors, with programmatic accounting for 19% of healthcare digital advertising budgets versus 80% elsewhere.

However, operating behind-the-programmatic-curve is also understandable, given the unique challenges that healthcare advertisers must navigate. With that said, healthcare marketers can no longer afford to keep programmatic off the table. On the contrary, well-funded and lean upstarts are nipping at the heels of industry behemoths, so marketers need to learn how to maneuver the current digital marketing landscape as quickly as possible in order to maintain market-leading positions.

That’s where the Digilant and HealthLink Dimensions partnership seeks to fill a void: by helping health marketers pursue innovative initiatives aggressively but also safely and successfully. It’s time for health and pharma to go “all-in” on digital, by effectively embracing all of the available channels and quality data to achieve advertising goals, while also gaining scale and efficiency.

The Digital Marketing Revolution Is Well Underway

After many years of encountering all sorts of roadblocks on the road to innovation, health marketers are now able to make digital marketing a reality in their organizations, whether it be medical devices, specialty products, or services. And whether the target audience involves patients, providers, or payers – digital advertising can play a meaningful role in getting the job done.

“With Digilant’s expertise in the functional area of programmatic advertising, and our focus on quality healthcare data, we’re excited to bring our unique partnership to clients, and help them accelerate their online marketing capabilities,” says Kevin Guthrie, president of HealthLink Dimensions.

Specifically, the Digilant and HealthLink Dimensions partnership provides healthcare marketing organizations with support on multiple fronts, including:

  • Efficiency. For good reason, programmatic has a bad reputation in some circles due to concerns about waste, fraud and lack of transparency. There are few credible experts that can help advertisers avoid programmatic pitfalls and optimize ROAS, and with more than a decade of experience in the category, we offer unique expertise.
  • Scale. Proving a tactic or strategy to be successful is one thing; applying it to a global operation and at significant scale is quite another. Our hands-on experience with global brands and international footprint allows us to support clients’ far-reaching programmatic goals.
  • Tactics. Strategy and planning are critical to successful campaigns, of course, but day-to-day tactical support is where campaigns succeed or fail. We partner with clients every step of the way, in the form of employing deterministic data to pursue specific audience groups, activating proven techniques like look-alike and retargeting, and using third party data to broaden reach and penetration.
  • Innovation. One of the more popular words in the general business lexicon these days, ‘innovation’ is genuinely underway in the healthcare marketing category. As a result of the stifling regulatory conditions in the aftermath of HIPAA, digital marketing has been slower to evolve in the healthcare category, as compared to early adopters like retail, hospitality, and entertainment. As a result, we’re on the cusp of halcyon days for healthcare marketers that are transforming their organizations to be digital-centric and incorporating the latest technologies and techniques to both deepen existing customer relationships but also develop new ones.

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 them 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.

About HealthLink Dimensions

HealthLink Dimensions provides healthcare data solutions to healthcare and life science organizations to improve master data management, compliance and marketing initiatives.  Leveraging the largest multi-sourced database of active practicing healthcare professionals, HealthLink Dimensions develops customized data solutions to help clients reach their target audience, enrich their business data, optimize claims processing, meet compliance requirements and solve master data quality problems. Based in Atlanta, GA, HealthLink Dimensions is one of America’s fastest-growing private companies on the Inc. 5000 list, and one of Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™.

For additional information about the company, visit the HealthLink Dimensions website: www.HealthLinkDimensions.com.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Why DSPs & DMPs work better together?

Data-driven advertising has been proven to deliver the most effective way of managing an advertiser’s spend as well as the most efficient way to monetize a seller’s digital assets.
The effectiveness of data-driven decisions –planning, selling, buying– make it necessary for both sellers and buyers to take as much control of their data as possible, and for this reason Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are a key technology for media buyers, publishers and marketers. A good DMP should not only be able to collect data from different sources, but also allow for the creation of audiences/ segmentation, consolidated reporting and campaign optimization – the place where people, platforms, partners and processes are brought together to apply audience data that is actionable. For all those marketers, media buyers and advertisers running programmatic advertising the DMP should be the source of truth for activation and analysis purposes.

What Can A DMP Offer?


Web and mobile experiences, speed of ad delivery, relevant ads and smooth and uncluttered paths to purchase have all contributed to the expectation of today’s consumers.  A good versus bad experience will make or break a retailer. The DMP enables advertisers and brands to craft and deliver personalized communications and offers to existing customers, while simultaneously reaching new customers (identified and informed by existing customer data) through digital advertising making sure the experience is seamless and relevant.

So what do advertisers look for when purchasing a DMP? According to John Lockmer, Director of Programmatic and Ad Operations for DuMont Project there are two main factors he considers when shopping for a DMP:

  1. How the platform will connect to his firm’s ad tech stack?
  2. How much it will cost to use?

With costs ranging from a minimum of $15,000 per month for basic usage to up to $500,000 for a license to manage up to 50 million users, advertisers are looking for alternatives which includes an integrated DSP (Demand Side Platform) and DMP solution.

“It makes it easier for us to work with them, as it does not require a yearly contract and commitment like [standalone] DMPs,” Lockmer said.

 

Tight integrations between a DMP and DSP hold a number of advantages for programmatic media buyers:

  • More efficient media activations – which means you can message your known audiences and address them with the right message
  • Advertising Efficiency – when there are clear signs that a user is no longer interested or have already bought your product, you can stop advertising to them
  • You can diversify your data to include first, second and third party sources for maximum advertising impact
  • Better understanding of the impact of your media buys across all online channels with more accurate and robust analytics
  • NO data leakage
  • If you work with Digilant, there is little or no added cost to activating the DMP

In order to execute a data driven programmatic media buy on a DMP, it’s also important to understand the different types of data available to today’s digital advertisers.

First Party Data

Advertisers have numerous potential first party data assets that they already own: CRM, Point of sale (POs), website, search, digital marketing and offline (point of sale, shopper visits, etc) marketing data. This data is frequently referred to as first party
data. The most important evolution for media buyers in first party data is the ability to activate it for programmatic campaigns, in addition to using the data only for email marketing or direct mail campaigns.  An necessary part of using first party data for programmatic is taking out any Personally Identifiable Information, know as PII, by using on-boarding service providers like LiveRamp – used to translate offline or email data signals to a digital user ID, so that DSPs can now translate different kinds of data for programmatic media campaigns.

Second Party Data

Second party data is acquired through exclusive relationships with data providers who do not sell their data in the open market. A DSP platform can help strike a deal with a data provider to enrich an advertiser’s first party data or directly activate second party data. DSPs are in a unique position to provide data intelligence to help advertisers make that data actionable. The DSP data intelligence comes from developing data science models from previous advertising campaigns that can be applied to enrich advertiser data and their campaigns.

Third Party Data

Data Management Platforms (DMPs), collect audience content consumption anonymously through access to publisher sites and sell the information as 3rd party data to advertisers. For sellers, the data that DMPs help collect is leveraged by sell side platforms (SSPs) to understand the value of their content and properties to increase monetization. For buyers, DMPs provide paid access to audience data from many publishers to which they otherwise not have access. DMP platforms that perform this data collection and distribution (“data exchange”) pay a small fee to sellers to be able to collect data and make it available for media buying platforms.
For example, BlueKai, acquired by Oracle, is one such DMP platform, the idea was to be able to monetize the data collected on both sides (sellers and Buyers), making it necessary for it to be anonymous, impartial and independent. This type of data is frequently termed third party data (3P). All DSPs have access to the same third party data for a price. But, additional layers in the media technology stack have implications. One, there is an additional fee to advertisers; and two, there is data loss as the audience universe do not exactly match between platforms. Since these different types of data are housed in different areas, a gap between first party data and third party data has been created for marketers and media buying platforms. these two data sets live in two different companies, in different technology solutions, and in different formats.

DSPs and DMPs Work Better Together

How can we bridge this gap? Digilant’s solution lies in its integrated DMP and DSP that bridges data management and media activation.  With all the effort, platforms, people and cost involved in executing data driven programmatic advertising, advertisers need to understand that the recipe for success is not pre-packaged, the right combined DMP and DSP will can help them achieve the right ingredients to create the right programmatic buying strategy that leads to campaigns that scale and perform.

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.

Seattle Dinner, Drinks & Conversation About Programmatic Buzzwords: Transparency, GDPR, Attribution, Data Privacy and More

On Tuesday, June 5th, Digilant hosted a dinner panel in Seattle titled the “2018 Fast Track to an Integrated Digital Media & Marketing Strategy.” Digilant‘s Chief Executive Officer, Raquel Rosenthal, moderated a discussion on the evolution of digital marketing with the following local marketing and advertising professionals:

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.

Raquel from Digilant kicked off the discussion with this first question.

What industry buzzwords or shifts do you think will impact digital marketing this year? For example: GDPR, Transparency, Attribution, In-housing or Blockchain.

David from Vulcan was the first to answer this question.  For him from all the buzzwords Blockchain is most likely to have a general impact on the advertising world and what we will probably talk about the most.  It fixes a trail of action and shows you how a fish gets caught before it gets to your plate. Transparency, attribution, GDPR, Blockchain will talk to all of that.  How we process the amount of data that we are creating will be huge. So Blockchain is my topic for the year because it will be huge.

GDPR to me, said Sharon from The Seattle Times, is like Y2K, a lot of build up and preparation especially in the media.  At the Seattle Times we talked to attorneys and thought it would be a bigger deal for us, but then all we really did is turn off retargeting in the EU. In the meantime, the panic of GDPR has made us all become consent monkeys.  AI (Artificial Intelligence) is one of the keywords I would pick, voice assistants are going to be a big deal.

Adam from Formative said that he is interested what GDPR will mean for the longer term.  What it will mean for advertisers who can’t retarget their visitors, paywalls cost more, publishers will make less money for premium inventory.  In the US we’ll get a couple of years to see how Europe deals with it before we do. Voice, Alexa and Google home, if we think how search has dominated the advertising space for such a long time and now voice interactions will be increasingly part of our lives, so it will be interesting to see what that will look like.

Transparency and in-housing are two big buzzwords we are reading about a lot in relation to programmatic media buying. But the reality is that most brands are not taking things totally in house but still relying on their agency partners.  Why is it such a buzzword then? Is it because of transparency? Why are people talking about it, but not really doing it?

David’s response was that there is an expertise related to the traditional way of doing things.  People are only bringing in some of it in-house because they don’t know how to do the execution part on a bigger scale.  Adam thinks that clients like to talk about bringing stuff in house like social and search but there is an expertise and value that comes from working across different clients that you don’t get from working in-house.  I personally came to appreciate what agencies can provide to their clients.

We haven’t talked about the customer experience yet, there used to be only 50 partner options in the ad-tech ecosystem and now there are 5000 so the customer experience is now really changing and Customer Experience Officer (CXO) is becoming a common job title.

I get the idea of a CXO started Adam, I get it, but it’s also what a CMO is responsible for.  The CXO is somewhat driven by Silicon Valley startups as an anti-marketing thing, that they don’t need to invest in marketing, and that their companies and products can be successful without spending money on marketing.  The need to focus on that overall experience, thinking about it holistically as a cross channel experience is a big shift. With the 5000 ad-tech partners there is no excuse not to present a better experience for the consumer.
Sharon’s answer was that customer experience is something we struggle with at the Seattle Times.  We sell advertising and subscriptions and have hundreds of ad calls. Advertisers are looking for a better experience for their consumers and to me It’s shameful that Google had to come up with ad standards with Chrome, all because publishers weren’t paying attention to the experience.

What about the silos of data? What are the consequences of these trends?

David was the first to respond by saying that he is having a very hard time with the amount of data we are getting.  It’s getting to the point where we can’t deal with the volume of data in a way that it will inform us in a nimble fashion.  We are not sure if we are pulling real insights from all these new great dashboards that are supposed to show us how to use our data, even if you stitch it all together, you have to know how to make great decisions from what you pull out of all the data.
Sharon said that they are trying to be very focused on what is driving that actual subscription. Their AI team is developing a subscriber influence score; they want to know what story or email they read before they subscribed. Building their own scoring system and own analytics so that they can answer one simple question: ‘what influenced that consumer to subscribe?’  According to Adam, nothing slowed the innovation of ad-tech more than Facebook because they don’t allow 3rd party ad tracking, something we could do before, but not anymore. GDPR is actually pushing us back rather than improving the user experience.

What do you think the impact of the announcement that Google just made, about no longer being able to export DoubleClick IDs, will have on targeting, performance and ​attribution?

David said that he thinks it’s going to affect all of those things. Google has been good at thinking of that end user experience because they have the data on that user and people will be forced to used their solutions because it’s most efficient and cost effective.  It’s more concerning for the advertiser but not for the end user.
Adam thinks that Google is trying to get ahead of the curve and make all the changes at once. People will start to complain about the crappy ads they get targeted with as it becomes more difficult for ad formats like native. Instead of being very specific to the user, contextually relevant ads will have to be more generic and not as targeted, because it’s going to hard to do much else.
For Sharon, from a news publisher’s perspective, they tend to trust Google more than Facebook for now and are taking the wait and see approach.

Are you or companies you work with investing in marketing attribution platforms and strategies and why yes or not?

David said that they are not investing in it at this point.  For right now they are not very interested in how the consumers converted but getting the conversions. They aren’t investing enough dollars to make the investment in an attribution solution.
Adam also said that they are not spending the ad dollars at the level they used to, so attribution has not been that important for them right now.  Attribution a bit passé, they’ve been hearing about for a long time and now walled gardens are making it more difficult. What’s going to become important for them is attribution between online to offline, people have smart TV’s that have data, real attribution will be really important when online and offline are not blurred and the consumers get a real experience.

Do you think that brands are going to continue to invest in social advertising or will they be more hesitant based on Facebook’s recent data privacy news or YouTube’s brand safety challenges?

There has been no pullback from social at all, even during the Zuckerberg trial, answered Sharon.  So yes, she thinks people will continue to invest in social. David said that when social platforms first launched they brought together people that weren’t able to connect. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, are all free and nothing in America is free. People are going to remember that, so how do we keep it free, the benefits for the consumers will outweigh the data privacy issues. Adam thinks that eventually the pressure for data privacy will decrease as brands get more slack for data breaches. Facebook made a bunch of unrelated changes to their platform after their data scandal and people seemed ok with that.

What new digital ad formats or platforms have you tried over the last year?

David said that they have been talking a lot about podcasting, they are starting to dip into the programmatic area. People are passionate about podcasts and it would be efficient because we can narrow down the targeting to exactly who we want to reach.  Voice will be fantastic and huge especially combined with Amazon and Google e-commerce offerings, because they have so much data the ads will be even more effective.
Sharon said that this year they tried a couple new things, one of which was headline ads and was a huge failure.  Now they are trying to do more with native. For them the way they decide what to do is a little different than on the publisher side. If they try something new or develop something new it has to be profitable for the business. But if she was on the other side she thinks that she would definitely try something like podcasts.
Adam echoes the podcasts, but also SMS and messenger, because it feels like a one-on-one connection with consumers, more like a conversation and specific answers for their situation.

Again, thank you to our wonderful panelists.  We look forward to our next event in Boston, June 12th.  If you are interested in attending please reach out to us here: info@digilant.com.

Benefits of Combining Influencer Marketing With Programmatic Media Buying

Before we could scroll through Amazon’s customer review sections for the truth about products or check out Twitter feeds for trending hashtags that sometimes criticize brands delivering subpar experiences, most consumers relied on more personal offline sources to find the endorsements they needed to influence their final purchase. It’s no wonder why these two worlds have recently collided through influencer marketing. Whether tapping into family, coworkers, acquaintances, or any well-regarded individual that can vouch for goods or services, it’s undeniable that a referral valued by your audience will be of even greater value to your brand.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Although it’s definitely not a new practice, Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising survey found that 83% of consumers trust the opinions of friends and family most, proving that word of mouth advertising still holds incredible weight.
Today’s digital marketers are hyper-aware of how saturated their audiences’ inboxes, apps, dashboards, and news feeds are. With so much digital advertising crossing our path every day, whether it be video, Instagram ads or email banners, we often tune out the noise and rely on a familiar face to guide us towards our next purchase. This is where influencer marketing has seen success. Influencer marketing relies on word of mouth reviews but also gives us a recognizable online personality’s face that we trust and may even aspire to be like. “Influencers,” or people with a large social media following, are paid thousands of dollars to talk about, post or market how great a specific product is.

Brands and advertisers are hungry for influencer endorsements, especially in retail, beauty, and other CPG verticals. A recent article by Forbe’s stated, “Great influencer marketing content can sway opinions, spark conversations, increase brand loyalty and boost sales.” But none of this matters if the strategy behind the content isn’t right. Just as with any marketing, the ad needs to hit the right consumer, at the right time, in the right place and with the right message. The brand, its message, the influencer, and the time, place, and relevance all need to align. Organic content that is only distributed from the individual influencer’s blog or social channels simply doesn’t hold as much lifetime value as a digital ad campaign, so why not marry the two?

Influencer Marketing Enabled by Programmatic

According to eMarketer’s 2017 Influencer Marketing Roundup, “Marketers continue to spend big— investing anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 on a single influencer marketing campaign.” To leverage this investment even further, 74% of U.S. marketers repurpose influencer content on their brand’s social channels and 46% across the sites that they own and operate. However, a mere 14% of marketers are leveraging programmatic media buying to distribute the influencer content that they originally invested their ad dollars in. Digital advertising agencies like January Digital that are pushing out their influencer content through programmatic channels have seen engagement rates up to 100x higher. With that type of investment and this lift, what digital marketer wouldn’t want to leverage programmatic in their next influencer marketing campaign?

5 Programmatic Influencer Marketing Tactics

EVP of Arnold Worldwide, Brian Babineau, believes that brands need to change their mindsets when it comes to influencer marketing, stating that “[it’s] a different production model, but many treat it as a media channel. Influencer marketing is no longer just a niche tool that companies can use. The better you can measure the ad, the more information you will have about how much to spend.” Beyond measuring ad spend, there are certain programmatic tactics that you can use to take full advantage of influencer marketing.

  1. Retargeting: Programmatic data can track the audiences that interacted with the influencer’s content, re-market to them and also use lookalike targeting to find more user like them.
  2. Channel Variety: Limiting yourself to just influencer marketing limits your channels to owned and earned, but incorporating programmatic unlocks a different paid channels to leverage.  
  3. Digital Out of Home: Incorporating the influencer in DOOH ads, allows you to place the ad in a great location. Placing an influencer near a store drives customers to it. Placing a display ad along during a commute that you know your audience takes, increases brand awareness. This is a great way to directly target an audience in a location that you know they pass.
  4. Knowing which influencer works best: If a brand is using more than one influencer, programmatic allows you to see who is more successful or resonates with your audience more effectively.
  5. Print advertising: Through programmatic, you can determine which magazines, newspapers and websites your target audience is drawn to and incorporate influencer marketing in those channels.

As programmatic advances and enables even more precise targeting, the capabilities to incorporate the tactics into influencer marketing will grow as well. Serving your audience with an ad that includes a friendly face they are familiar with will become an even more successful advertising tool.  

Watch Out for Influencer Fraud

As popularity in influencer marketing rises, there will also be a rise in fraud, making it important to look out for red flags. From fake accounts, to fake followers and engagement, there are multiple platforms that allow people to buy followers and engagements for their pictures or posts. According to eMarketer, marketers spent $570 million on Instagram influencer marketing last year, meaning there is a chance that huge sums of money are going toward fake accounts.
There are various services and platforms that use algorithm-based detection of influencers’ accounts to ensure that their followers are real. This is an option to use when deciding on an influencer. It is also important to look at the history of the account and chose someone that has a reputable track record. Just as with any advertising agreement, if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Before jumping on the influencer marketing track, make sure the person you chose fits your brand image, has great consumer engagement and the proper following, granting you the best return on your investment.

Looking to implement influencer marketing in your next programmatic media buying campaign? We can help. Learn about how Digilant can determine the best influencers and micro-influencers to lift engagement in your next programmatic media buying campaign. Contact us at info@digilant.com or here.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: What is a Data Lake?

A data lake is a centralized place, like a lake, that allows you to hold a lot of raw data in its native format, structured and unstructured, at any scale. You can store your data as-is, without having to first structure the data or define it until its needed.  It can then be used for creating reporting dashboards and visualizations, real-time analytics, and machine learning to guide better programmatic advertising decisions.

As data grows and diversifies, many marketing and especially digital strategy teams are finding that traditional methods of collecting data are becoming outdated and are pushing for something more centralized like a data lake.  According to Aberdeen research done in September 2017, the average company is seeing the volume of their data grow at a rate that exceeds 50% per year. Additionally, these companies are managing an average of 33 unique data sources, according to the research study. With data split into silos by team, like search, social or direct marketing, CMOs are being challenged with how to efficiently manage the analysis for their media campaigns.  If they don’t consolidate their data, they risk targeting the same consumer more than once or even exposing them to the wrong message.

Why Do You Need a Data Lake?

Most data platforms will only store data if it’s been formatted to fit a particular structure, like rows and columns.  So unstructured data like log files, data from click-streams, social media, and internet connected devices typically can’t be uploaded into a data platform until the data has been defined.  A Data Lake allows you to import all marketing data in real-time, from multiple sources and in its original format. It also allows you to scale data of any size.  Then you can figure out how to use it in an automatic yet personalized way to attract and retain customers through digital advertising.  Companies like Digilant can help you set up a Data Lake and use it for media activation.

What is the difference between a data lake and a Demand Management Platform (DMP)?

If you are a digital marketer, a Data Lake allows companies to collect PII data (Personally Identifiable Information), which DMPs do not.  A DMP’s is main function is the collection of cookie data for media audience activation where a Data Lake is often the first step used by data scientists to expand the knowledge of the DMP.  The DMP often connects directly to the media activation tool which for programmatic is most likely a DSP (Demand Side Platform).  A DMP will establish connections between several external data providers, and the data lake then supplements it with new internal data like social media feeds or connected device data.

Four Main Advantages to Having a Data Lake

1. DATA INDEXING
Data Lakes allow you to store relational data (a collection of data items organized as a set of formally-described tables from which data can be accessed or reassembled in many different ways without having to reorganize the database tables.) —operational databases (data collected in real-time), and data from line of business applications, and non-relational data like mobile apps, connected devices, and social media. They also give you the ability to understand what data is in the lake through crawling, cataloging, and indexing of data.

2. ANALYTICS

Data Lakes allow data scientists, data developers, and operations analysts to access data with their choice of analytic tools and frameworks. This also includes open source data frameworks such as Apache Hadoop, Presto, and Apache Spark, and commercial offerings from data warehouse and business intelligence vendors. Data Lakes allow you to run Analytics without the need to move your data from one system to another.
3. MACHINE LEARNING

Data Lakes will allow organizations to generate different types of marketing and operational insights including reporting on historical data, and doing machine learning where financial models are built to forecast likely outcomes, and suggest a range of actions, if taken, have the ability to achieve optimal results.

4. IMPROVED CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS

A Data Lake can combine customer data from a CRM platform with social media data analytics, as well as a marketing platform that includes buying history to empower the business to understand the most profitable audiences, the root of customer churn, and what promotions or rewards could increase loyalty.

In Summary

Marketers and Media Buyers would want to implement a data lake for three main reasons. First, they want to take advantage of more advanced and sophisticated analytical tools and dashboards, using a more complex and diverse foundation of information. Secondly, they also want to make traditional activities — like data access and speed of retrieval — more efficient and easier to accomplish. The third reason is they want to bring all the data from the different parts of the organization into one place creating efficiencies of time as well as cost savings.  While not every company succeeds at achieving all three objectives simultaneously, the most effective ones will able to see positive results on their ability to make better programmatic media buying decisions.

7 Things Brands Need to Know Before In-Housing Programmatic Media Buying

In 2018, brands and marketers have made it clear that they  want increased control of their programmatic advertising efforts. Digital advertising spend is estimated to overtake offline spend, with programmatic already surpassing direct digital buying. In more advanced markets, the media buying industry is aimed at a programmatic future.

Marketers have grown frustrated with the current business model; they want better control of their data and more financial transparency. A report by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) report finds that 90% of advertisers are reviewing and resetting both business models and contracts to achieve those goals. A survey conducted by Infectious Media found that over 70% of marketers think agencies have struggled to adjust to programmatic and they do not think the agencies accurately measure their programmatic media buys.

7 Things to Consider Before In-housing Your Programmatic Media Buys

With this loss of trust, it’s no wonder why brands are taking steps to bring their programmatic campaigns in-house. However, in order for them to be successful,  there are some steps they need to take. We’ve put together a check-list of what we think brand marketers need to know. Here are 7 things you need to consider if you want to bring your programmatic in-house.

1. Budgeting, resources, and hands on keyboard

The first thing to consider is evaluating your brand’s capabilities. Is the budget large enough? How many people will be on the programmatic team? Will they be able to stay up-to-date with the latest technology?

Brands must be spending at least $20 million programmatically before they even consider taking programmatic in-house, in order to generate a high enough level of savings to make the transition worthwhile.
Wayne Blodwell, CEO of The Programmatic Advisory

On top of a high cost, programmatic technology is complex; it requires a unique skill-set and it is hard to master. The technology requires an expert or multiple specialists at the helm. Hiring and training new recruits is not a simple process, especially if your office happens to be outside of New York, San Francisco or Boston.
After deciding which kind of technology stack is best for your brand (DSP, DMP, ad server, viewability tracking, dashboard, fraud protection) there are also other aspects to consider like licensing. This includes legal documentation, adherence to privacy regulations, etc.

Other forms of digital advertising, namely search, is dominated by a single player. Programmatic, on the other hand, lives in a complex environment that has many options of inventory to choose from. Several demand-side partners that can be used to access them and also several programmatic models to navigate through, like open exchanges to private marketplaces.

This goes back to having the right personnel for the job. New roles in the organization will open because of in-housing and it is up to you to have the right training methods for current employees. As mentioned before, programmatic technology is complicated and the right people must be on the job.

2. Objectives

After a programmatic team has been established it is time to understand the short and long-term goals of the business. Key considerations and questions at this point would include: Debating whether display, native and reach based advertising would help reach the long-term business goals, or whether inbound is a better fit, is an in-house team going to be more effective because of the increased frequency of campaigns?

3. In-housing goals

Besides long-term business objectives, identifying the end-goal of an in-house programmatic process is critical too.

  •       Do you simply want to purchase media in a more effective way?
  •       Do you want to maximize reach?
  •       Do you need better targeting and segmenting or are you looking to go wide?
  •       Do you want a broad mix of outbound- from display to native to video and mobile or are you limited to one or two formats?
  •       Or perhaps you also want to incorporate offline data to effectively take prospects along the typical buyer’s journey?

4. Big Data

One of the biggest and challenging tasks is being responsible for your own data. Collecting, managing, and then interpreting it for valuable insights can become rather tedious. If big data is too much to handle, hiring a separate data team can also be an option. Data-backed programmatic is extremely desirable today but it needs to be managed by disciplined professionals managing first and third party data

5. Cross-departmental Collaboration

It is important to make sure all departments are aware of the organization’s new programmatic team. Illustrate how an in-house programmatic process will benefit the whole business through increased sales, ROI, and customer satisfaction, not just the marketing department. Alignment with sales is also crucial in terms of making the most of leads generated via programmatic.

6. Implementation, testing, and execution

Different brands benefit from different programmatic models, determining which ones work best for you require testing.  Testing new tactics and programmatic strategies in-house for a short period of time may help your company adapt to the overall programmatic process before identifying a model that works best.

7. Consider a hybrid in-housing model


It may also be wise to consider using a hybrid approach. You may have a strong analytical data team, with data management experience, but not the talent or knowledge for programmatic execution. Or you might have built a strong digital marketing team, but they don’t have the skill or knowledge specifically in programmatic media buying. These are key skills that are worth outsourcing to a trusted agency of record while keeping strategy and data in house.

As much as having more control and transparency over programmatic media buying makes sense, the required investment in talent, expertise to navigate the ecosystem and budget size should not be overlooked. For now, if you are a brand considering starting the in sourcing process then you should consider a hybrid model where you own the contracts and data and your trusted partner, like Digilant, owns the rest.

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