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.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Programmatic Creative is the Future for Display Advertising

Digital advertising that includes both high quality creative and relevant messaging is increasingly a high priority for media buyers and marketers.  Advertisers see no reason why creative, rich media, and programmatic should be mutually exclusive –­ it’s the combination that achieves engagement and results with consumers. The combination of programmatic and engaging creative offers a wide range of new opportunities – using data to precisely tailor messages.

Marketing teams are moving away from click-centric strategies as the only way to measure engagement. With all the new high-touch, high-impact ad formats and the growing popularity of native ad placements, there is a whole new world opening up to advertisers in display ads, to provide a more robust user experience while still reaping the benefits of programmatic buying.

Creative has never been more crucial to display ads as it is today and agencies and marketing teams are paying attention because they realize that a display ad’s message or creative is just as important as the channel or medium through which it’s served.

What is Programmatic Creative?

Programmatic creative has the ability to use the data collected from a programmatic display campaign to create a more personalized experiences for consumers. Rather than displaying one generic creative, new technologies, like Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO), mean that the ad creative can be tailored to the viewer in real-time, across multiple devices, according to their location, what they are doing, and the time of day – improving the overall user experience.
Where programmatic advertising matches users to ads on a one-to-one basis in real-time, DCO supports the matching of the best creative for that user during the programmatic advertising process.

Instead of marketers and advertisers having to figure out a one-size-fits-all, mass-market approach to their creative for a campaign, now they can create hyper-relevant ads that are relevant to individual users, while reaching a larger audience.  Using the sizable amount of data that is collected from each campaign, programmatic creative can enable automatically generated ads relevant to products or services that customers are viewing, helping to move customers towards the conversion path, and returning customers into repeat purchasers – building long-term loyalty and increasing returns for those campaigns.

Programmatic Advertising has Changed the Role of Display Ads


With programmatic taking the largest share of digital marketing budgets, the role of display advertising has been reborn and redefined.  More than four in five US digital display ad dollars, or $45.72 billion, will flow via programmatic means by 2019.
It’s no secret that different formats accomplish vastly different goals for marketers and media buyers. As the role of display advertising is redefined, and programmatic has dramatically changed the landscape, marketers need their display options to emphasize relevance for each consumer and define their experience as unique rather than obtrusive.
If campaigns are to remain relevant, marketers should be considering themselves not solely as advertisers, but as storytellers.  Marketers and publishers alike are turning to programmatic creative to enhance user experience and keep the customer at the center.

Wining & Dining in Atlanta: A Conversation With Brands About Their Programmatic Stacks and Strategies

On Tuesday, March 27th, 2018, Digilant hosted an executive dinner panel at City Winery at Ponce City Market in Midtown Atlanta where local digital media agencies and brands gathered to listen in on and engage with a panel of digital marketing executives as they discussed all things digital media and programmatic.
After a lively session of networking over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, Digilant’s US Chief Executive Officer, Raquel Rosenthal, moderated a panel with Senior Media Marketing Manager at Equifax, Joella Duncan, VP of Marketing and Digital Services at Marriott International, Sean Brevick, and Director of Product, Performance, and Data Strategy at Turner Broadcasting, Jonathon McKenzie.

Raquel started the evening off by emphasizing to the audience the amount of tools, technologies, platforms, and walled gardens that exist in today’s digital ecosystem, making it difficult for many digital marketers to keep up and deliver a quality customer experience. Digital media planning and buying teams can no longer afford to limit their inventory sources by running on just one DSP and programmatic campaign tactics need to be as diverse and dynamic as a brand’s customer journey. In order to remain competitive, digital marketers need to keep up to speed, making the development of an integrated digital strategy one of the most crucial tasks for any marketer in 2018.

Raquel kicked off the event by asking, which programmatic trends and developments impact their business today?

Jonathon from Turner was the first to dive into the discussion, saying that in the current state of the entertainment industry there’s so much quality content from premium publishers capable of showcasing brands to audiences and  now advertisers are really beginning to tap into it. He added that not only inventory quality is improving, but the channels on which programmatic inventory is now available are expanding to new frontiers and that helps publishers like Turner get their content distributed at the right time and place, specifically through DOOH. Sean echoed Jonathon’s response, saying that Marriott has benefitted from having less remnant inventory and that the company that manages a portfolio of nearly 30 brands is always looking for ways to thoughtfully manage their data and segment audiences.  Lastly, Joella from Equifax was excited about developments in multi-touch attribution, a longstanding practice at the credit reporting agency, but something that has recently taken center stage for many brands running omnichannel campaigns. Also, something that she thought they were going to hear more about was header bidding.  She feels like header bidding is something that we should all keep an eye on, but for now it’s something that publishers are more concerned about, wanting to monetize their sites.

What expectations do you and your brand have of their programmatic partners?

Joella was the first to respond by saying that she has extremely high expectations because of Equifax’s dedication to their fractional attribution modeling through their partner at VisualIQ, which is their source of truth. Many of their partners have built out new products and adapted to their needs.  For them, their programmatic partners need to be a tech company, invest in data science and employ forward looking employees.  They need to stay the shiny object by investing in those people, we don’t want to be the razor, we are and want to stay on the bleeding edge.  It’s then exciting that those partners can then go out and get more business with what they have built for us.  For Sean, a programmatic partner must be innovative but also have an understanding of their complex landscape.  They also have to bring brand recognition and buying power, stretch their dollars further, coming up with solutions that support their hotels and hotel owners needs.

What aspects of your digital media mix and or execution is your brand taking ownership of and why?

Our marketing teams have the dollars, started Jonathon, we develop the media strategy but the IO’s come out of the agencies. We benefit by receiving data from our agencies that come into our cloud as outbound data.  Everything’s piped back in house which is helpful, because the people at the agency and those of us at Turner aren’t within the same 4 walls every day to examine how to best leverage all data we receive.  The ownership is all held within Turner and then we execute it within the brand.  For Sean they have been using a hybrid model for a number of years.  We buy some media but our agency does it at scale.  They are focused on maintaining that model, they don’t plan to cross over into that space.  The goal is to simplify media buying for our hotels and take the burden off them so they can focus on operating and delivering exceptional guest experiences.  They know that they have experts that can manage it.  At Equifax, Joella said that they have a very close relationship with their agency.  They transact with complete transparency and because of security they own all of their contracts.  Because of the verticals that they deal with, they own the contracts, but work with their agency to develop the strategies and are at each others offices multiple times a week. She likes that the agency works with multiple clients and draws from that experience so they can help you pivot and you can rely on their network to get there.

Raquel concluded by saying it seems that the trend of a hybrid in-housing strategy is confirmed, that brands own their data and strategies, but rely on agencies for programmatic media buying execution.

How else is your company using data to influence your digital advertising spend or strategy? What kind of data are you using?

Jonathon said that at Turner Broadcasting they have all their data in-house so they can model it.  If we know you are going to watch our program we are not going to target you, but we don’t have enough of 1st party data, they use 2nd and 3rd party data to scale.  Joella, said that all their 1st party data comes from their website, people who come and convert, so they suppress those people so not to target them again, but do use the data for modeling, it’s also expensive to push data out.  They use 3rd party data to scale efficiently, and use Visual IQ to help model and spend money.  At Marriott, Sean uses data quite a bit with all the different brands, with 6000 hotels worldwide there is a lot of competing interests. Their challenge is how do we manage with that, we want to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, so they have to be thoughtful about how we talk to people.  They are dealing with a perishable experience and how do we measure and message to those people for their experience.  We need to measure at the transactional level and how do we measure that?

How are you managing digital advertising activities across search, social and programmatic? How do you make sure that you’re not bombarding users? And how siloed is your data?

There is more coordination than ever before, according to Sean, Marriott is a very complex company, but the best thing is the people.  We work together and do not compete with each other, and make sure there is knowledge shared across the groups. Joella manages to not silo her data by having all the media strategy and execution live under her, using Visual IQ to stitch it all together. At Turner, Jonathon said there is one team lead for each group, it gets Q&A’d before it goes to marketing.  We still have a siloed approach, so it’s flawed and there is no guarantee we are not targeting the same person on Facebook and outside Facebook with display.

How do you manage reporting for search, social and programmatic? Do you use the data to optimize spend?

Joella started by saying that they do set a budget at the beginning of the year, but then they look at the data everyday, so that they can move budget between channels and countries. The budgets get laid out but they are very fluid, they look at the data daily for high level results and then weekly for deep insights.  The way we move money around is not common and very smart. We’re able to take our data in such real time and make these really smart efficient decisions in that month that might not make the most sense in the next month based on where the credit market’s going. Having data at your fingertips and moving it to drive the best revenue is great.   Jonathon’s challenge is that he doesn’t know who’s going to watch, they have no idea.  They still care about buzz in the marketplace sot they still have to spray and pray to have the full brand experience.  For product it’s still very DR focused. Sean is managing 1700 individual interests and they manage those budgets like they are their own.  They are looking at their budgets on daily basis especially on a meta search basis, they don’t have large budgets, especially the cheaper hotels but have to treat them like they have large budgets.

How do you measure across digital (or offline channels)? Meaning, do you have an attribution strategy for optimization of media performance across media channels? How have you applied it?

Sean said that at Marriott they are not quite there yet, they are still focused on last click/view attribution but it is something we want to get to.  Jonathon said that it takes them 30 days to get the attribution in, it’s very tough.  Siloed attribution is garbage, attribution should come from the brand level and encompass everything.  Joella at Equifax uses Visual IQ as their partner to tag every impression that goes out, take all those touch points put it through their model and assign a attribution score, and assign true value to each of touch points.  They can see that they need to put money into display because it brings money into the funnel and can look down to the key word level, and even down to each partner’s targeting tactics – then they can forecast for the next month, to beat the goals that they have.  Use all the inputs to plan our data and budget, we found that as long as we are hitting our goals, we can use the remaining budget to test and invest in new channels, test new partners, new segments without actually having a dedicated testing budget.

Are you leveraging digital media to build personalization strategies for your consumers?

Marriott is just getting started, answered Sean, our focus has been integration.  We are just scratching the surface, big win for us has been to deliver dynamic creative.  We have to be able to deliver a specific message for a specific location, it’s evolving, through email and apps and through the channels we own and have a lot of data on.
Joella would love to use DCO, but due to legal constraints having a lot of creative is prohibitive, can’t do it on the fly, they have a more manual approach, specific banners for specific groups.  There is a conversion team that does testing on our site, find out what journeys convert best for people. They believe in it, they want to be able to have a dynamic landing page, with decisioning based on client value, know what experience they are more likely to convert on.  Jonathon would like to personalize the customer journey based on their fans, give them sneak peaks, real-time audio spots, and personalized messaging.

Again, thank you to our wonderful panelists.  We look forward to our next events in New York May 8th, Seattle, May 22nd and Boston, June 12th.  If you are interested in attending or speaking please reach out to us info@digilant.com.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: What is the Difference Between AI, Machine Learning & Programmatic?

The world of digital advertising and programmatic advertising has developed its own language in the last couple of years, full of terms that are commonly heard and used everywhere but mean something very specific when attached to the word advertising. Most recently it’s almost impossible to read an article or even talk about media buying without bringing up the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning. The terms AI and machine learning are often used interchangeably but they are different. What is the difference between the two and what should they mean to us or me as a marketer or CMO?

AI for Programmatic Buying

Artificial intelligence is the concept of reproducing human intelligence in machines so they can execute on activities that normally would require a human brain to be involved in, such as making data-based decisions.  By using AI-powered systems brands and advertisers case save money and time by completing tasks faster than us mere humans and make less mistakes.  When you apply this to the programmatic media buying industry, you bring efficiency to the media buying process, freeing people who’s job it is buy media from the more tedious and allowing them to focus on the strategic and creative elements of their jobs.

The reason digital media executives keep talking about AI technologies is that they allow us to have algorithms that analyze a user’s behavior, allowing for real time programmatic campaign optimizations towards consumers who are more likely to convert. Advertisers then have the ability to gather all this rich audience data to then use it to be more accurate with their media buys and overall targeting tactics – ultimately spending less money and time and bringing in a higher ROI.

Will Machine Learning Replace Media Buyers?

The words Machine Learning can conjure up images of old sci-fi movies in which someone develops an intelligent robot that then dominates its creator or destroys a large city… leading to many questions about how this technology could affect the digital media industry.
Machine learning is a type of Artificial Intelligence that provides computers or robots with the ability to learn things by being programmed specifically to take certain actions, improving their knowledge over time, much in the same way our brains do.
Computers using machine learning focus on imitating our own decision-making logic by training a machine to use data to learn more about how to perform a task.

Imagine you ride your bike to work every day. Over time, after trying different ways to get to work, you will learn which route is faster or maybe which road or path is better according to the day of the week or based on the weather outside. This is exactly how machine learning works. You feed the computer or algorithm with large amounts of data so it will analyze information from the past and learn from it to apply the learnings to any new data it receives in the future.

When applied to programmatic advertising, machine learning algorithms can analyze large volumes of data from difference sources and draw conclusions from it. It means you can almost replicate the brain of an experienced media buyer in a machine or algorithm so it becomes capable of  predicting, planning and optimizing media. Almost…. but not yet, though the machines can certainly make programmatic advertising more efficient, faster and easier to implement, there remain many factors which need human brains to input link the machine learning to an overall media buying strategy.

So How are AI and Machine Learning Connected to Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising is the automated process of buying and selling ad inventory through an exchange, connecting advertisers to publishers rather than having to make individual deals with each publisher. This process uses artificial intelligence technologies to improve efficiency and make better decisions for the advertisers with their budgets.
There is a lot of investment being made in marketing and ad buying technologies to leverage AI.  Companies like Xaxis, are betting heavy on AI for improving their future Programmatic Buying Platforms.  Fo right now marketers are using AI to stitch massive amounts of their data together, but it still hasn’t replaced human analysis.  For media agencies, Artificial Intelligence is still more a buzzword or a catchphrase to get peoples attention.

David Lee, programmatic lead at ad agency The Richards Group, said that he regularly gets pitches for AI-enabled products but the AI part of the products usually “doesn’t seem to affect performance outside of being a buzzword.”

You need Machine Learning to feed AI but you don’t need AI for Machine Learning. What that means is that machine learning is the technique — using algorithms to process data, learn from insights and make predictions for future programmatic campaigns which then trains the AI.
Both Machine Learning and AI are here to stay.  If you are a marketer or a media buyer, get familiar with these terms as they will continue to occupy the press and blogs like ours.  But for now they are not taking over for humans, that’s still in the sci-fi section of the video library.

2018 Programmatic Media Buying Trends: Video Takes 1st Place in Growth Opportunity

In 2017, advertisers spent more on video ads than banner ads for the first time. In the first half of 2017, advertisers spent $921 million on video ads which topped the $903 million spent on banner ads. This is in large part due to how many people are watching videos online. In a recent report, Cisco suggests that by 2019, 80% of all consumer traffic will be video. On mobile devices, 70% of the advertising traffic will be video ads. This yields a 14-times growth within the next five years. Advertisers and programmatic media buyers have a great opportunity to embrace this change, to make content that resonates with consumers and include video in more of their media plans.

Video display ads are expected to be the second leading highest spend platform in 2018 and in 2019 (source: eMarketer).

It isn’t just the growth in video consumption that is propelling a large spend on this ad format, there are also great opportunities for return on investment. Amazon, who owns one of the larger DSPs in the programmatic space, says that including a video ad increases the propensity to buy by up to 35%. Although video ads naturally cost more to produce, they are more engaging for consumers thus making them more effective. Advertisers need to ensure that they are still creating quality content, rather than a 15 second pre-roll TV ad.

Video is Winning the Attention Battle with Consumers


Consumers are now pre-programmed to ignore banner ads, so media buys need to make sure that this doesn’t happen with video advertising as well. Consumers are already watching videos, so if videos ads are interesting, they will remain hooked. As of now, video ads have the highest click-through rates of all digital ad formats at 1.84% which in large part is due to video trends yielding more brand engagement as opposed to direct-response, “buy this product” ads. Advertisers benefit because video ads offer live and very granular insights instead of static panel insights offered by other ad formats. There are many advantages for both consumers and advertisers that this ad format will continue to offer, as long as advertisers do not abuse it.

A Shift Towards a Video-First Strategy

The opportunity for revenue in video for publishers and advertisers is equally appealing and both are embracing video advertising as a dominant format.  Consumers have grown accustomed to the pre-roll and post-roll ads that appear when watching a video. But mid-roll, outstream and social in-feed ads are on the rise, now accounting for more than half of video spend ($478 million). Advertisers will need to proceed with caution with this ad format. Consumers do not like having their content disrupted and if this platform is abused, more people will start to use ad-blockers, thus making the ads irrelevant.
If advertisers and marketers stick to making quality, non-intrusive, creative video ads, consumers will begin to adapt pre, mid or post-roll ads as a ‘native’ format and part of their online video watching. This will allow programmatic media buyers to continue to see success with their video campaigns by both engaging consumers with brands and creating an overall return on investment.

Read about the other nine trends that we are predicting will be the key to success for programmatic buying teams in 2018 here.

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed and get going.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

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.

Calling All Marketers: 6 Reasons to Get on the Programmatic Buying Bandwagon for the Holidays


Despite what might be considered setbacks for the programmatic industry in 2017, like the YouTube ad controversy and the constant battle against “bots” and “ad fraud” – more and more marketers are investing in programmatic advertising. eMarketer estimates nearly four of every five US digital advertising display dollars will have been transacted programmatically in 2017, totaling $32.56 billion.  For 2018, programmatic digital display ad spending will climb to $39.46 billion, with 80% of mobile display ads being purchased programmatically — that’s up 21% from 2017.
So marketers can’t afford to not get on the programmatic bandwagon, if they want to be effective in getting their brand out in front of customers and prospects, the Holiday Season is prime-time for getting a running start.

 

6 Reasons You Should be Buying Programmatically ASAP


1. The world of advertising is moving towards Automation.  With more of the advertising display dollars being spent programmatic platforms than any other method, and huge advancements in ad technology, brands who continue to buy ads manually will fall behind their competitors who choose automation.

2. Personalization is now achievable though Programmatic.   Personalizing your marketing has always been a goal but now it’s a real thing through programmatic targeting tactics like geolocation, in-depth demographics information and dayparting, for example. And also more consumers are accepting of and are feeling more positively about a brand when their ads are personalized.

3. More Data!  With marketers being tasked to analyze and optimize on hundreds of different data points about their users, programmatic platforms can use this data to create detailed behavioral profiles of existing customers and even prospects.  This data can then be used to enable tactics like lookalike modeling and contextual targeting which gives advertisers the ability to create a more personalized media plan for their Holiday campaigns.

4. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) really works.  DCO technology enables marketers to use programmatic platforms to deliver on the promise of serving relevant and custom advertising to the consumer and capture their attention.  This also gives marketers the opportunity to have their best performing creative be served more often.  Studies have shown that DCO ads can have up to 50% higher post-click conversion rates over standard display ads – delivering overall better results than non-dynamic creative.

5. Make Storytelling a reality by reaching the right audience.  Today’s customer expects a journey, an experience, a story from their advertiser or brand.  With the accuracy of programmatic targeting and the sophistication of ad-tech platforms, there is finally the potential to deliver this.

6. More scale equals more opportunity.  With more consumers adopting ad blockers, every opportunity to get in front of potential consumers needs to be maximized.  Programmatic provides the scale that most marketers need to get in front of the right consumers at the right time, especially during the Holiday season.

 
 
Anyone in the marketing role knows that the holidays are a crucial time for ads, which means that the market is flooded with advertising, but not all of it is optimized for the best results.  In addition to getting on the programmatic bandwagon, here are some other things marketers should be thinking about:

  • Creative eye-catching images and well-written ad copy that is most relevant to your target audience.
  • Your ad should directly link to the product you want to sell, saving time for the customer.
  • Have a strong call-to-action; make it time-sensitive!

 

 
 
To find out more about programmatic buying tactics and shopping habits this 2017 Holiday season download Digilant’s ‘Holiday and Consumer Shopping Report.’
 
 

Last Month in Digital Media News

The advertising industry and digital media buying specifically, requires attention to the latest trends. New ideas, new upcoming technologies and the changes in the behavior of the consumers make it necessary for forward thinking marketers to be attentive to all the industry news. This evolving industry, makes it very complicated to compete in equal conditions if you are not up to date on the digital environment.
For that reason, it is important to be updated on every industry sector. And the purchase of digital media is no exception.

For example, Google and Facebook together are two-thirds of all the investment that is made in advertising around the world. Something that years ago we could not even imagine. Buying digital media was complicated, and online advertising was only seen as a complement to traditional advertising, taking only a small percentage of marketing budgets.

What happened in the last month?

What has been said about the purchase of digital media in the last month? And how does advertising technology affect brands in general?
As eMarketer has reported, in 2017 advertising investment will grow in the United States to such an extent that it will outweigh the investment in television advertising.
And for that reason, all the data, news, statistics and information related to consumers and their environment are now the holy grail of advertisers. Consumer communication has become personalized and, logically, advertising too.
If you look only at Facebook you can see that the company with almost 2 billion users covers much more than what any brand advertiser could want. But what does the future hold? What news has appeared during the last month? And how will they affect the purchase of digital media?

1.- Will YouTube Be A Payment Platform?

Perhaps it is better to pose the question in another way: Would you pay for contents that you can access for free? One of the most interesting debates on this subject was launched in Entrepreneur.
Turning a frees space into a paid space online is very difficult. And this is something that the publishing industry is familiar with. Publishers have had to start charging for subscriptions to be able to obtain revenue to keep up with the boom of the digital world and the problems that it created for traditional media.
YouTube, however, has long been thinking how to launch YouTube Red, the subscription version. And the video giant is clear on the value proposition: it allows all type of content consumption without advertising interruption. That is, it totally eliminates the ads and claims to provide exclusive content.

Will users be willing to invest in this type of content?

So far Ad Blockers have eliminated advertising from websites. And, for many users, that was enough. Will the YouTube Network be the solution for those who want to omit ads in their videos?
As Entrepreneur points out, “it is still too early to know”. In fact, it is anticipated that the most powerful feature of YouTube Red, which could make users change their minds, is yet to come.
In addition, The Independent shares that the date on which this content will be available to all countries will depend on the agreements that are closed with the record labels. Since they are mainly interested in having users invest some money in consuming video clips and music.

2.- What’s Behind the Chatbot Surge?

This is a very hot subject since the future for the chatbots lie, precisely, in that someone must feed them, train them and give them life.

It is one of the issues that has been discussed in Adage lately. Chatbots are changing the way we communicate with brands and is exploding across the sites of businesses of all sizes and verticals.
In fact, as pointed out in a Gartner report, by 2020 more than 85% of customer-brand communications will be carried out without human intervention. Which means that chatbots, among others, will take control of this relationship.

And all with the aim of improving the consumer experience. This directly affects customer service. Apple has been using chatbots for some time and Facebook is working on it. However, this technology is still nascent, so it can not be said that it is 100% useful for all companies.

Out of context a Chatbot makes no sense

Technology has to improve in order to create bots that are consistent with each brand and its personality. And, therefore, it is necessary to write answers so that they can use them later.
The same goes for Siri, for example. If you try to hold a conversation or ask unusual questions, Siri will not know how to respond. This system is trained and programmed to respond to certain issues, so still thousands of issues are unresolved.

And this is where things change. To feed a Chatbot, it takes an expert who knows the personality of the brand very well, and therefore, he/she is capable to provide to to this system the appropriate answers to be able to continue evolving and to offer better experiences to the users.

This implies an absolute knowledge of the target audience. As a consequence, a new need already exists. The one to properly train every Chatbot. Yet, as the report points out, they will never replace interactions between humans.

3.- From Big Data To Artificial Intelligence?

Does Big Data turn artificial intelligence into something that is not science fiction? HuffPost has dedicated an article that addresses the convergence of data management and AI and the potential value it will add to the digital media space as well as other industries.

Both Big Data and Artificial Intelligence already provide greater added value though their agility and the option of creating more productive business processes. However, to take advantage of these tools you need to know how to collect data and interpret it.
As HuffPost points out, companies and users are not yet ready for automated decision-making demands. Therefore, innovation will need to be focused on the convergence of data and artificial intelligence.
So, what are humans facing? Artificial Intelligence has gained ground in key sectors such as health, banking, advertising and financial services. But data, by itself, is not enough. And, as a consequence, programmatic marketers especially will need to apply BDI, Big Data Intelligence.

4.- Trolls In Social Networks In The Face Of Terrorist Attacks

What role do social networks play in today’s society? It is more than proven that when it comes to selling digital advertising, these platforms are more than effective. They get to specific targets, you can create specific and eye-catching creatives, etc.

However, when networks fall into unwanted hands, they cause undesirable impacts. And this is precisely what has been addressed in The Guardian. Especially when terrorist attacks are involved.

The news speaks specifically of the victims and relatives of the victims of the London and Manchester attacks. And invite them to watch out for network trolls, especially on Twitter.

Social networks can play a positive and negative role in the face of a terrorist attack. But these trolls take advantage of the networks to “crush” and capture their victims, subjecting them to different abuses, such as accusing them of “trying to cash in” on what happened by talking to the media.

After the bombing of Manchester Arena, several doctors who worked there claimed that many victims had previously been controlled by networks.

5.- Mobile And Buying Behaviors

If a few years ago the user was reluctance to buy via mobile, this situation has taken a turn, since smartphones are now the currency of users.

The Telegraph in the UK says that industry data points out that mobile phones have become an essential element in payment processes. Smart phones are playing an important role in online shopping. Especially during this last year. As a consequence, mobile penetration is even greater.
More and more users are using their smartphones to manage their lives. And, therefore, making purchases through this device is becoming routine, therefore, digital media and advertising must be fully optimized for mobile.

6.- New Alliances Of Streaming Spaces To Reach Students

Another trend related to the purchase of digital media that directly affects programmatic and digital advertising was featured in Cnet.com. Did you know that Spotify and Hulu partnered to create a combo for college students? It offers the best of its services in streaming. Is this the new way to reach the youngest target audience?
Students who meet the requirements, can access services for only $ 4.99 per month for Spotify Premium and Hulu. Of course, eliminating advertising 100%.
The younger ones will be able to access whole seasons of exclusive Hulu programming and other series from prominent networks. Again, with the same value proposition: eliminate advertising.

In Summary

The digital panorama in the news that’s dominated in recent months leave something clear:

  • Mobile is the current and future device.
  • Social networks have a lot of power both inside and outside advertising, as they can impact the public if the message sender uses certain persuasive techniques.
  • But there is also a tendency to remove advertising in some digital spaces. And this is a problem for the programmatic media buying industry.

The solution? For now, is working to launch advertising that is much less intrusive, subtle, attractive and place them in the right place to the right person. Something that is simpler to do with a programmatic partner such as Digilant and its self-service tool that offers you the possibility of automating your digital decision making.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Digital Marketing Data Sources, How to Apply Them?

The rise of digital advertising has given marketers fuel to reach their ultimate marketing goal: connect the actions of users into a meaningful whole. When marketers know a lot about their consumers, advertising is personally relevant and more effective. Personalization of brand experiences is a powerful way to drive conversion – and in digital advertising, personalization is driven by data.

Pre-digital direct marketers relied on research of public records of births, marriages, and property deeds. They bought mailing lists from catalog companies to reach out to potential customers. Audience segmentation and tracking purchase intent are not new strategies, but digital data collection has significantly increased their impact. And online consumers leave a digital data trail behind wherever they go.

The Digital Data Trail

Now that there is much more data available for marketers to use, behavioral targeting has become a much more popular tactic for media buying. Most digital advertising still relies on at least some information about individual attributes — like gender, geo-location, and age. But programmatic buyers and also have the ability to collect data related to online behaviors.

While a lot of privacy-conscious consumers delete cookies or use the “limit ad tracking” features on mobile devices, advertisers aren’t interested in personally sensitive information – like cheating on taxes or a romantic partner. They are more interested in behavioral data signals that indicates whether consumers are in the market for a car, house, or coffee maker.
Social media sites or other login-based services have access to personal identifiable information (PII), but tying it to other data points would drive away customers. The ongoing stream of “shares”, “tweets”, “likes” — or other “reactions” — is revealing enough info to be worth a lot to advertisers – even without names and emails addresses.

Online activity allows data providers to identify specific audience segments, These segments can be defined by variables like (1) geolocation, (2) device type, (3) marital status, (4) income level, (5) profession, (6) shopping habits, (7) travel plans and a variety of other factors. These valuable segments can be sold to the highest bidder wanting to reach segments as specific as men in trouble or burdened by debt: small-town singles.

There are many players in the data game – and some play multiple roles. 

  • Brands collect information about their customers, such as email addresses and purchase history, which is helpful when tailoring their experience through product recommendations or incentive offers. 
  • Publishers sell data about readers who visit their site, which is valuable to advertisers purchasing ad space on their site – but can also be used to track their site visitors in other places online.
  • Other data collectors who may sell data may not be thought of as “ad industry” types at all, such as:

1. Political campaign groups often rent out their lists to firms as a fundraising strategy

2. Credit-card companies issued directly or through banks sell anonymized data to advertising companies – in cases where cards are issued directly, customers can be cookie’d whenever they login then go elsewhere online.

3. Online auctions offer a huge amount of user info, again anonymized, but revealing.

4. Any company, site or service that requires a login can collect data. For example, social media sites garner huge amounts of data as users “like” “tweet” and “share” about their interests.

How Companies Collect & Use Data?

The data game players are defined by how they collect and use data – either as first-party or third-party.
First-party data is any information that’s collected by a company that has a direct relationship with the consumer. First party data tends to be considered as more valuable because it usually is more accurate and is free for the advertiser.

  • If we take the fictional example of Heart and Sole shoes, they would like collect data about customers’ style preferences and shoe size through the user’s’ purchase history.
  • If we look at a fictional online publisher, say Knitting News Weekly, they may associate an ID to anonymously track the articles that their visitors read and share
  • Another fictional example, like Gloria’s Games App might use an API to gather data themselves, for example, the most common geographic locations where the mobile app is used.

Some apps also use external SDKs — or a software development kits — from a technology provider that will track user data. In this scenario, the technology provider is a 3rd party data collector. And third party data is any data collected by platforms or services that do not have a direct relationship with the consumer. These service providers obtain data in many different ways, such as:

  • Paying a publisher to collect data about their visitors.
  • Or piecing together behavioral or interest profiles and audience segments to be sold to advertisers.

Let’s not forget the new comer to the data party – 2nd party data, which is essentially first-party data that you are getting directly from the source. Buyers and sellers can arrange a deal in which the first-source party offers specific data points, audiences, or hierarchies to the buyer. The sharing of high-quality, first-party data gives marketers access to many hard-to-find audiences they may not have been able to reach.
Whether first-party or third-party, data is often housed and managed for programmatic buyers by a Data Management Platform – or DMP. DMP’s give marketers — and sellers of data — a centralized way to:

  • Create target audiences, based on a combination of in-depth first-party and third-party audience data;
  • Accurately target these audiences across third-party ad networks and exchanges,
  • And measure performance with accuracy.

Summary

  • Marketing based on consumer data has always been around; digital has just made it more powerful.
  • Personally Identifiable data isn’t critical; marketers can get a lot of value from behavioral and interest-based data.
  • First party data is often considered most accurate and more valuable.
  • DMPs help marketers collect and manage and organize consumer data so that they can use the insights to activate a marketing or a programmatic media buying strategy.
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