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.

2017 Holiday Shopping Insights & Stats for Marketers and Media Buyers – Infographic

The results are in from America’s biggest shopping weekend of the year and the numbers are bigger than ever!  According to Adobe, who predicted that Americans would spend $5 Billion this year on Black Friday, they actually surpassed that number in online retail sales reaching $5.03 Billion – up 16,9% over last year.  This comes after the record $2.87 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving.  Adobe analyses 80 percent of online transactions for the 100 largest web retailers in the country to come up with these stats.

Mobile Traffic Dominates Black Friday

This year, according to Salesforce 60% of traffic to retail sites came from a mobile phone device. This tells us that consumers are not just browsing on phones, as 42% of Black Friday orders were placed from a mobile phone. 2017 represents a huge shift to mobile and the first Black Friday where computers accounted for less than half – 49% – of all orders.

According to Adobe’s Revenue tracking index, on Black Friday, 54.3% of retail website visits and 36.9% of revenue came from mobile, with conversion rates for tablets up 13% year over year, and smartphones up 16.5% year over year.
With consistent mobile retail traffic and revenue since the beginning of the month, it’s time for all marketers to consider running mobile only programmatic campaigns. Because consumers have access to reviews, ratings, and suggestions at the tap of a button,mobile-driven micro-moments are grabbing the huge majority of consumer attention.  It’s important to get in front of that consumer at the right time with the right ad, on their device of choice, and create a fluid and intuitive buying experiences – all the way from the awareness stage to the point of purchase.

Mobile is also transforming the in-store experience for customers. In-store shoppers search for information online while in-store. For the most part, they’re using search engines but consumers also head to the retailer’s own site or app. This presents a powerful opportunity for retailers to connect with shoppers, whether by sending them a special coupon or thanking them for coming into the store —mostly using the opportunity to  prevent them from turning to the competition.

 

Getting Personal With Programmatic, 3 Buying Strategies for the Holidays – Infographic


It’s that time of year when consumers are being bombarded with advertising from all their favorite brands plus all the other brands that are trying to capture their shopping dollars.  For marketers, it’s the perfect time to work programmatic into your holiday media buying plans – so that you can reach specific audiences based on their current interests and behaviors.  With programmatic the consumer gets a more personalized experience – the right ad at the right time – resulting in a much better chance of converting them into a paying customer.
There are a couple of ways that programmatic advertising ensures brands can meet the unique needs of their seasonal shoppers when and where it really matters.

1. Data

One proven method of reaching customers on their seasonal shopping journey is leveraging first-party data for digital ad campaigns. The modern shopping experience is across devices, locations and is always-on. Utilizing the data that’s gathered directly from customers often translates to more accurate targeting capabilities and insights to what your audience responds positively to. When first-party data is added to third-party data and insights, marketers can create a well thought out campaign to ensure that their customers are receiving offers that will positively influence their shopping experience, in the right place and the right time, rather than add to the noise of online advertisements.  You can accomplish this by connecting your CRM data to your programmatic media buy.

2. Geotargeting

Programmatic advertising can help customize the experience for shoppers in physical stores through geotargeting. By targeting consumers with ads bytheir geographical locations, including ZIP code levels, brands have the power to develop hyper-localized ads to fit consumers’ exact preferences. These programmatic campaigns offer flexibility to taylor relevant ads to specific audiences, using data and analytics to make the necessary tweaks to maximize your holiday campaign performance.

Advanced programmatic geotargeting can be especially useful for holiday campaigns when paired with dynamic creative. Serving in-store promotions or product-specific ads to consumers within the zip code of store locations, advertisers can target those users who would most likely convert. With programmatic geotargeting, marketers can combine audience data filters with location signals to deliver timely ads that resonate with shoppers looking for specific holiday discounts or a particular product. These ads allow retailers to provide helpful details to consumers such as whether a product is in stock at a nearby store.

3. Personalization 

With programmatic advertising, you can remain agile and base your media plans on when, where and how your consumer wants to shop. You can offer shoppers product recommendations organized by the type of gift recipient – shoe lovers, sports fans, and more.  Then you can personalize that offer with a coupon to their local store.
You can marry customization with automation and offer consumers a personalized experience, whether is be a product that they might be looking for or a piece of advice through a native ad on a preferred social platform. Social media will have a real impact on what people buy for their loved ones this year so marketers also need to consider social as party of their holiday media plans.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the attention of your consumers this holiday season.  Try getting personal with the right programmatic buying strategy.  Talk to us at Digilant to get started.

9 Tips for Media Buyers to Minimize Ad Fraud in Programmatic Campaigns

eMarketer estimates that U.S. programmatic investment will surpass 83 billion dollars in 2017, representing 73% of all digital ad spend this year.  To ensure that this increase in spend is sustained, the industry needs to continue to improve the programmatic purchasing experience and eliminate problems such as fraud. According toad verification company Adloox, the numbers suggest that ad fraud will cost brands $16.4 billion globally this year, and that nearly 20 percent of total digital ad spend was wasted in 2016.
Companies that participate in the programmatic advertising ecosystem are most interested in banishing fraud and exposing bad practices.  That is why companies like Digilant are bringing more and more transparency to the whole process, promoting regulatory improvements against cybercrime, trying to ensure that content appears in the appropriate spaces and the advertisers get the greatest return on their investments. It is the only way for ad-tech to continue to be a marketing lever in the digital economy.
The good news is that because of efforts from programmatic vendors fraud is now in retreat. The National Association of Advertisers of the United States calculates that the losses will be over a million dollars less than last year.

In order to help marketers minimize fraud we have come up with 10 tips that help them make safer programmatic investments.

9 Tips for Minimizing Ad Fraud

There are different measures that advertisers can take to make their investments more secure:

  1.  Search for personalized strategies. Each proposal must be adjusted to reflect your brand values and overall marketing KPIs.
  2. Examine the context on the publisher pages. The analysis of the data of a web page can confirm that the content is relevant and suitable for your brand’s advertisements. Implement whitelists and blacklists, analyze user traffic and strengthen visibility criteria.
  3. Use machine learning to implement audience targeting and then to safely expand the audience of campaigns by finding people that look like them.
  4. Ask if they are willing to use only Ads.txt. This buying method confirms that each webpage uploads a file to its root domain detailing which SSP (Sell Side Platform – a tool that manages the programmatic advertising of a website) offers its inventory, its Placement ID and its relationship with that SSP. In this way, it is ensured that the information passed from SSP and the publisher ID is accurate. The publishers publicly indicate who is actually authorized to market their advertising space eliminating inventory fraud.
  5. Prioritize programmatic buying in private marketplaces, which ensures a direct relationship with publishers.
  6. Avoid non-certified apps. The environment of the applications can be more risky than desktop or mobile web.
  7. Ask if the DSP has a pre-bid solution. Ads are only bid on and served if the inventory meets certain conditions and pre-bid filtering can be used to ensure contextual relevancy or to prevent ads from appearing in environments are not brand safe.
  8. Identify programmatic companies that have or work with the best fraud technology solutions and application of best practices.
  9. Run away from opacity. The most advanced programmatic buying companies are offering an increasingly transparent relationships.

 Types of Ad Fraud

Fraud affects all digital marketing, generating false traffic. The fraud started with clicks (generated by people who have no real interest in the ad) and impressions (when requesting an impression in an Ad-Exchange knowing that it will not be seen by any real user). It was technically sophisticated with bots (software programs that simulate the action of a person visiting websites and clicking on advertisements).

Four other ad fraud practices that digital marketers are faced with include pixel stuffing, ad-stacking, ghost sites and masked URLs. Pixel Stuffing occurs when the visitor of the web page does not see the advertisement because it is so small, but for the advertiser it counts as an impression. Ad-Stacking is when several banners or videos are placed on top of each other in a single advertising space. Because the user can not see that they are stacked, the advertiser is charged for false impressions. Ghost sites are false websites and impersonations of domains, as the Financial Times recently experienced. Masked URLs occur when an ad is said to be shown on one website but is actually placed on another one.

There is also the reputational risk that brands can face if their ads appear next to inappropriate or illegal content. This was discovered last spring with Youtube and Google. The brands unknowingly placed advertisements for brands next to violent political content, religious extremists and other negative environments. The analyst firm Nomura calculated that the search engine could lose more than 7% of its revenue in 2017, totaling close to 750 million dollars.

In August, it became known that Google was refunding money to hundreds of brands affected by advertising fraud. Brands’ ads purchased through the DoubleClick Bid Manager-Google were being placed on pages with false traffic generated through automated programs.

At the end of last year, the computer security firm White Ops revealed the biggest and most sophisticated scam to date in this area, named Methbots. A group of Russian cyber criminals created an “army” of bots, pretending to be real people, that generated more than 300 million fake video views a day. More than 170 million dollars were spent by advertisers who believed they were generation impressions of real consumers.

A Media Buyers Lunch Conversation About Breaking Media Silos in Kansas City

On Tuesday, November 14, Digilant hosted a discussion and lunch at Stock Hill KC on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.  I joined local digital media agencies and brands to hear their colleagues discuss their approach to integrated planning and media silos.

During this intimate lunch conversation Raquel Rosenthal, CRO at Digilant U.S. moderated the conversation with Claire Bishop, VP of Marketing and Engagement at Children International, Lucas Cobb, VP of Integrated Planning at MMGY Global, and Pam Williams, Director of Media and Client Services at Rhycom.

Raquel kicked off the lunch discussion by addressing the following question to Claire: How are you managing – or planning to manage – digital advertising activities across search, social and programmatic? Are you merging the tactics or do they remain siloed activities? 
In 2010 there were 150 ad technologies out there and now there are 5,000+, so what does that mean for our industry?  It has created silos of data and silos in organizations with all the different channels like email, CRM, and search so what does that mean for the customer experience and journey?


Claire said that at Children’s International the reality is that search, social and display are all managed by external partners and that her and her team have to work at making sure that all of the channels are integrated with everything else and one another. They are definitely working hard to make sure that they leverage everything that they know to drive more effective marketing campaigns with the agencies and each other. Still there are many things that we have to solve for in order to effectively discern the impact that each of these channels have. Children’s International does a lot of direct mail and promos during the holidays and are looking for these tactics to work in combination with email and CRM points of integration along the spectrum of their marketing. All in all Claire finds this exciting grounds to cover for her brand.

Raquel also asked if Claire is looking at personalization along the customer journey?

There general answer is yes, for them with 350 thousand continuity givers talking to them through all the various channels, being able to speak to them personally is very important. And they need to understand where does personalization pay and what’s its the impact.

Pam, a question for you, How is Rhycom is managing the customer journey with all the different channels that are now available for marketers?

Pam’s response was that the customer journey is so fragmented and you need to be nimble and relevant.  So how do you do that we when attention spans are so short and dispersed? You need to know your client, what they are looking, likes, dislikes and demographics so that you can segment effectively and then map back to the customer journey. Measurement is really important to us, we now know what is working, our job is to educate the clients on perceived failures and transition that into the next campaign.

Claire chimed in by saying that you have the ability to be responsive by having automation in place, thus creating your own journey and adventure. Marketers also have to have a system to smartly asses those signals in order to take advantage of the information coming back in – the landscape has widened for us.

The customer is demanding the experience that they want and we have to be careful about what we give them, Raquel concluded.

Lucas, what are the expectations that your brands have of programmatic marketing? 

People expect that the programmatic marketing will be smarter than the people who do it, responded Lucas.  Not every partner is going to have the same ability to reach every individual. Agencies needs to understand how the partner will fit into the customer’s marketing ecosystem. Paid search has been our closer for years, but there are new opportunities with other technologies to close that loop.

So Lucas, what new channels have you explored in digital in 2017 beyond display, native and video? And what new channels or formats do you plan to try in 2018, for example: OTT, TV, Radio or new platforms like Amazon?

I have tried them all, he said – channels like TV, radio and outdoor.  Using the data to drive the decisions in every channel and making sure they use the right partner that can get there.  There is now an average of eight devices per household, knowing that TV is still very important also knowing at the same time that what you put on their devices is equally as important. And it takes data to drive that connection.

Pam also added that it will be exciting to see what will happen with programmatic Out of Home and the impact on media planning.

So how have you been distributing your budget between search, social and programmatic?

For Lucas there is no ratio for every client that works but on average, 70% is probably programmatic.
For Claire the average split is 10% for search 10% for social and at least 30 for programmatic because of all the channels in programmatic is more expensive because there are so many more opportunities like native and video as well as reach even with target audiences.

Where does programmatic fit in your consumer lifecycle? are you planning to use programmatic within your overall campaign strategies?

For MMGY global, programmatic is everywhere in their campaign strategies, it helps them find new people but also exclude people that they don’t want to reach. It has also become a top of the funnel tactic, where in the past programmatic was only used for bottom funnel.

For Children’s International programmatic helps them reduce waste.  By that Claire means that digital advertising introduces reams of data, so they need help to reduce the waste of just putting spend out there in the impressions we are serving, doesn’t just have to be at the bottom the funnel, it just needs to be the opportune time to capture that moment. Programmatic can be central in guiding the decision when, where and to serve the message to throughout the customer journey.

We hear a lot about “always-on” digital marketing strategies, across social, search, etc. What are your thoughts about having an always on programmatic campaign and why?

We should absolutely have an always on programmatic strategy – engagement and exposure to digital media is constant, answered Claire.  In the past advertising was restricted to a certain time when you were at home watching TV or at work on the computer. Now exposure is across the board, people don’t even realize they are being exposed.  For us the problem is there is a lot of waste of exposing people when it’s not relevant to them.  At this time of year, the mindset of donating and giving is popping up all over the place, Children’s International has to be there, when people are ready to give a donation or gift or we are missing the opportunity. The world made up of individuals with different experiences, we have to be present when people are ready to raise their hands.

Lucas, can you give us an example of how you have put programmatic data into action? 

 Programmatic data for us has been more about who we are trying to reach and what do we know about them? We know a lot about the brands that we work with and who their audiences are and with programmatic we can find the people we know we want to reach.  Our programmatic partner needs to make that data work harder, that piece of that programmatic model is what we really need.

So another question then, if data is so important; how do you police your partners to make sure they are using the data the right way?

You can’t, but throwing your data into a black hole won’t do you any good.  We put walls around our data, we don’t share PII with clients, partners – so the protections are in place. You also make sure that we choose the right partners.

Claire also answered this question by saying that she needs smarter people than herself to apply that data, our data is out there everyone has it. Data security is a huge concern and we have folks that are committed to handling data, passing it through without PII and other ways that are really important. I agree with Lucas that it’s important to cement reputable partners, use your judgment and experience and relationships with people you can hold accountable.

Claire, one last question, given this years’​ YouTube controversy and the constant battle against ad fraud, ​ what has been your brand or agency’s POV and or approach?

Working with non-profit we stand for credibility, transparency and trust, in today’s climate, pairing those three things with programmatic is tricky. We want to show our ads in opportune and also safe places, not all those scary places that you can go on the web.  Something you have to think about, like what we said earlier about data partners, who are my partners and can I hold them accountable.
The landscape has really changed, to get sales up we have to be on the right pages. Ask your partners what are they doing to handle viewablity and fraud, ask the hard questions.
Lucas chimed in to say that he hates that they have to use fraud monitoring 3rd parties, why are we paying for that and why is there no repercussion for those committing the fraud? Buy side is delivering it and paying for it.  Publishers and SSPs are making money off fraud.  Claire wrapped up the discussion by saying that advertisers have to stand up for themselves when it comes to fraud and address it in a meaningful way.
A lot of content for an hour of conversation, but the panelists did a good job keeping up with Raquel’s questions and Digilant appreciated their time and thoughtful answers in what turned out to be an inspiring afternoon.

10 Tips For Digital Advertising Best Practices

Keeping up-to-date on digital ad buying best practices is essential for any marketer to successfully navigate today’s digital ecosystem. Given the sustained high-level growth of programmatic media buying in recent years, the way in which we leverage new technologies to bring together the main players of digital ad buying and selling is constantly evolving.
buenas prácticas para la compra digital de publicidad
To understand this evolution, you have to familiarize yourself with the foundations of programmatic buying, an impressions-based buying system that relies on algorithms generated from DSPs (Demand Side Platforms).

What for? It’s simple. DSPs need to access global ad inventory with millions of advertising impressions  in real time, with the ability to adjust to what every advertiser wants or needs.

The main draw of programmatic buying lies in its ability to automate the ad buying process in Ad Exchanges and on websites from a unified dashboard.

Differentiating between Programmatic and Direct Ad Buying

 Before reviewing best practices for digital ad buying, it’s important to understand the difference between programmatic and direct ad buying.

  • Direct buying occurs when a marketer buys impressions in bulk, normally in a specific context on specified sites and from a specific publisher. This involves hours of researching which publishers’ impressions will be best to optimize campaign performance and then negotiating the purchase before launching the impressions.
  • Programmatic buying occurs when a DSP automatically and instantaneously places ads on publishers’ sites after evaluating the quality of individual impressions from the best bidder.

Both buying methods have pros and cons and undergo different processes with online publishers. For example, though real-time buying allows an advertiser to reach wider audiences, it doesn’t offer a guarantee on return.

Best Practices for Digital Ad Buying

Real Time Bidding (RTB) marketing alludes to a type of digital advertising in which a variety of ad spaces are auctioned off in real time. The system identifies the visitor’s user information and then each is shown ads that correlate to their tastes and interests determined by data tracked from their online behaviors.
For this process to work correctly, it’s vital to make use of technology and big data. RTB wouldn’t be possible without generating and evaluating millions of data points. This data contributes intelligence to the entire programmatic buying process.

Additionally, advertisers can attract users more effectively thanks to being able to use data for the personalization of ad delivery. This is very evident if one’s to compare the effectiveness of traditional display campaigns.

Today, the majority of marketing departments are employing real-time programmatic buying for retargeting purposes, for example. However, programmatic ad buying allows marketers to also fulfill many other different strategies, analyze the relationships between all media channels, both online and offline, and consider segmentation possibilities.

10 Digital Ad Buying Tips

1.) Start with a general focus

Programmatic technology uses audience data to target specific consumers across vast amounts of ad inventory by using audience data to target individuals dynamically, on a one-on-one basis — in real-time. It’s particularly useful for advertisers who are seeking the reach of a large bulk buy without sacrificing the accuracy of targeting users.

Rather than pay for large inventory, advertisers hoping to reach consumers’ interest can bid for the right audience and the right time. Programmatic not only makes ads more relevant to consumers it also helps publishers to sell inventory in a more valuable way for advertisers.

Additionally, Demand Side Platforms, or DSPs are able to buy ad inventory across all sources with the use of computer programs called algorithms. An algorithm is a computer application that performs sophisticated calculations based on specific rules. For DSPs, these algorithms determine which impressions a specific customer should buy.

2.) Identify your target

As with any advertising strategy, digital or otherwise, marketers need to establish clear objectives and a well-defined target audience.

If you have a specific product or service to promote, or if you’re simply trying to amplify brand awareness on social media, you need to make sure that you’re reaching the audiences that are most apt to listen to your message. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

Start by determining demographic data, such as the gender, age, and location of your audience. After gathering that information, you can begin planning how and where to allocate your ad spend.

3.) Prioritize transparency

 According to Smart AdServer, a third of digital media buyers don’t bid on blind inventories. For that reason, it’s important to segment your audience and provide buyers with as much data as possible.

4.) Think Mobile

 The behavioral capabilities of programmatic buying technologies are strongly linked to cookies. Which is a problem when it comes to mobile, since there are no cookies on mobile devices.

In the past, mobile marketing was used to view products before completing a purchase in a physical store or from your desktop. However, according to eMarketer, 75.7% of U.S. buyers are willing to make purchases directly from their phones and over the coming years that figure is expected to grow significantly.

Additionally, 9 out of 10 smartphone users have used their phone at some point in the buying process, according to the IAB. This is why it’s important to adapt all creatives to mobile devices before starting your next digital ad campaign.

5.) Monitor minimum bids and block lists

Another digital media buying best practice  is the consistent monitoring of your minimum bids. If you’re aware of where your ads will get the most value for their traffic and track minimum bids once or twice a week, you can multiply your return in the short term.

6.) Identify what ad formats are growing

Consider the following data from ComScore: After viewing an online video ad, 64% of users are more predisposed to the purchasing a product online. According to Unruly, online video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and brand recognition by 139%. Still wondering what format to use?

Video generates double the engagement that traditional banner ads generate. Even interstitial ads (advertisements that temporarily take up an entire device’s screen) have average bidding prices that are 60% higher than those of banner ads.

In addition to their creative capabilities, new and more captivating ad formats like dynamic creatives, can be programmatically delivered to the user in real time.

7.) Find Similar Users – Lookalike Modeling

Leveraging the data collected from your cookies, DSPs can find new and undiscovered users that look like your customers to whom you can target your ads and optimize conversion rates as your campaigns progress. Lookalike modeling involves defining the attributes and behaviors of your most valuable customers and then using these profiles to target matching prospects. Since these new audience segments are similar to your current customers, you’ll enjoy a higher likelihood of conversions.

8.) Implement Dynamic Creative Optimization

If you combine the power of a DSP with the audience management from a Data Management Platform (DMP), your campaign’s performance will improve significantly.

This lift is attributed to the sorting and classifying of customers based on diverse criteria makes it easier to deliver more personalized ads in which creatives are launched based on where in the sales funnel a user is located.

9.) Brands go for in-house management 

With the emergence of new programmatic software platforms, companies are increasingly willing to control the advertising spend by keeping programmatic buying internal, facilitated by brand marketers. This is the area of programmatic spending that has grown most in recent years.

CMOs that directly manage their digital ad buying build internal competencies in the execution, measurement and optimization of programmatic campaigns.
 

10.) Use attribution models to properly measure campaign performance

The efficiency of programmatic campaigns is calculated by tracking post view and post click conversions. Therefore, client acquisition strategies should be data oriented, steadily measuring and predicting the media channels that willyield optimal results based on the brand’s campaign goals.

Finally, the ultimate best practice for programmatic ad buying is to constantly improve upon the above practices and strategies. At Digilant, we don’t simply follow best practices for programmatic ad buying, we create them as the needs of our buyers and the technology to serve them evolve. Programmatic ad buying doesn’t just help reach new clients; it uncovers new and more valuable audiences.

Interested in unlocking data and uncovering your brand’s full potential? Learn more about Digilant’s solutions here.

Part 3 of 4: Back To School (BTS) Data & Strategies For Smart Programmatic Buying

Back to School (BTS) season is the longest shopping event of the year. A 2016 survey from eMarketer found that 66% of shoppers planned on doing their back to school shopping between July 4 and Labor Day and 17% said that they plan on shopping on an “as-needed” basis.

College students start doing BTS searches while they are still at the beach.  It’s important for marketing teams to understand the types of messages and call to actions customers would be most receptive to before planning their programmatic advertising campaigns so that they can get the biggest return on their investments. That’s why Digilant dove into the data to find out when and how marketing dollars should be spent.

Download the full Back to School Infographic Here! Don’t forget to share #DigilantData.

BTS shoppers are now using all their devices to do their searches, so a cross-platform media buying strategy is absolutely necessary. Parents are browsing their desktops and iPads with their children, looking for BTS items but also shopping around for the best price. They are also using  their mobile devices when they are in store, price-checking items and looking for coupons to download. Most buyers are not relying solely on brick-and-mortar stores anymore. Some buyers will rely solely on using online stores for their BTS shopping like Amazon.com and most others will shop at stores like Walmart, Macy’s and even CVS who offer a combination of online shopping and in-store returns, which has totally changed the Back to School shopping dynamic.
According to a RetailMeNot survey, top predicted days for BTS shopping in 2017 are:

  • Saturday, 8/5/17
  • Monday, 9/4/17 (Labor Day)
  • Friday, 8/4/17
  • Saturday, 8/12/17
  • Sunday, 8/13/17

Digilant also discovered the following information about BTS shoppers:

  1. Best Call to Actions:
    • 88% of parents use coupons
    • Parents are also receptive to: promotional emails, promo codes and brands they already know
  2. Best time to run a BTS campaign?
    • Starting July 11th

 

Download the full Back to School Infographic Here! Don’t forget to share #DigilantData.

Your Cookies Are Stale, So What’s Next For Digital Marketers?

By Mike Addonizio, Director, Platform Solutions at Digilant

The digital advertising industry loves cookies – the dominant data currency of today. Much of programmatic media buying technology and the way we deliver billions of digital ads, depends on this magical string of characters that helps identify consumers online. But what exactly is a cookie and how is it used to target ads? It’s not as straightforward as you’d think and the answer should help you understand why the ad industry will eventually replace the cookie and move to “People-based Advertising.”

What Is A Cookie?

cookiesIn the advertising industry, many would say that a cookie is a digital identifier for a consumer that an advertiser can target. While this is true, it can be misleading. A cookie is an identifier for a browser on a device. Each device has multiple browsers and each consumer has multiple devices. So, while a cookie is an identifier for a consumer, it is one of many cookies that represent each consumer. When advertisers target a cookie, they target one browser, on one device, for one consumer.

How Many Cookies Does A Consumer Have?

It varies by country, but the global average is approaching four devices per consumer (source). Therefore, at a minimum, the average person has at least four cookies. However, each device can have multiple browsers, and therefore multiple cookies. Even your iPhone, which has a default browser (Safari) that
most of us use, contains multiple browsers. For example, when you open a website in your Facebook app or Reddit app, that behavior is likely attributed to a different cookie than the default browser on your phone.

Today, cookies are increasingly short-lived. When someone clears their cookies, they are essentially changing their digital advertising identifier for that browser and all previously collected behavior is lost. When someone uses private browsing (like “Incognito” mode on Chrome), they create a new cookie each time they reopen the browser.

So if a programmatic advertiser wants to target a specific cookie, it’s possible that they will never see that cookie again because the consumer has cleared their cookies.Programmatic Marketing Cookies


How Is A Cookie Used To Target Ads?

In the early days of digital advertising, it was quickly recognized that profiles could be built around cookies by tracking what users do across multiple websites. For example, if you browse between a travel blog, TripAdvisor, and Expedia, it can be inferred that you are in market for a vacation. In order to monetize their audiences, websites started sharing data with third-party resellers, like BlueKai. These resellers wrapped that behavior up into segments, and sold bundles of similar cookies to multiple advertisers.

It has been quite successful to date, but with the explosion of devices, the surge of ad blockers, and learned habit of “clearing cookies,” the age of cookies for digital marketers  is coming to an end.

The Future: People-based Advertising

The goal of digital advertising has always been about using consumer behavior to communicate the right message to the right person at the right time. The more data an advertiser has about users, the more this goal can be realized.

It should be obvious by now that in today’s world a cookie represents a small portion of consumer behavior. In the days when most consumers had one desktop device and no ad blockers, a cookie represented the lion’s share of that person’s online behavior. However, we have hit a tipping point in the advertising industry where the value of a cookie is diminishing.

In order to replicate the success of the past, behavior across browsers and devices must somehow be tied back to the consumer. This is referred to by some as “People-based” advertising – where targeting occurs at the level of the consumer, not their cookies.

In order for People-based advertising to work, a shift from cookies to an identifier needs to happen. Many have looked at an email address as the alternative option. If an email address is tied to cookies, it is possible to tie behavior across multiple devices and browsers back to an individual. Furthermore, an email address translates to other channels – such as social, search, and email (of course!).

However, the reality is that many consumers have multiple email addresses – a personal email, a work email, and an email used for junk mail – and email addresses don’t last forever. While email is a great first start, it won’t create the defragmented consumer profile required for optimal ad targeting.

Could A Mobile Phone Number Enable People-based Advertising?

mobile advertisingMost consumers have one mobile phone number. Since mobile providers allow for a phone number to be transferred from one provider to another, consumers don’t often change their number. The mobile number is a non-fleeting, unique identifier that represents a consumer. If all digital behavior could be tied to a mobile phone number, advertisers would have a full profile of their consumers.

It’s no surprise that ecosystems, like Facebook and Google, are requiring a mobile phone number to verify a consumer’s identity. If you want to sign up for an account, you need to provide your phone number. As this practice becomes commonplace for smaller apps, publishers, and websites, mobile phone number could become the identifier of the future.

For programmatic advertising, a consumer’s unique ten-digit identifier could one day act as a replacement of the cookie – assuming this happens in a privacy compliant way. It would span ecosystems, devices, browsers and help advertisers achieve their goal of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.

Like what you see? Join the 500+ clients that have partnered with Digilant.