Benefits of Combining Influencer Marketing With Programmatic Media Buying

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

What is Influencer Marketing?

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

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

Influencer Marketing Enabled by Programmatic

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

5 Programmatic Influencer Marketing Tactics

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

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

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

Watch Out for Influencer Fraud

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

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

Programmatic Media Buying 101: 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.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: The Difference Between First and Second Price Auctions in RTB

If you are buying advertising programmatically then you are most likely using either a first or second price auction bidding process.  Most recently there has been more talk of moving towards first price auctions because of the popularity of header bidding.  DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) have traditionally been set up to use second-price auctions and for most DSPs adapting and changing strategies to first price auctions is expensive because they have to invest in technology that will specifically adapt to the rules of every auction and allow them to bid effectively.

So what are the differences between the two types of auctions?  And why should media buyers care which one gets used?

First Price Auctions

The programmatic buying model where if your bid wins, you pay exactly what you bid. This type of auction maximizes revenue potential for the seller.

In the first price auction model the bidders pay exactly what they bid. This type of auction can lead to unnaturally high prices because buyers are forced to guess how much their competition will bid.  This auction mechanism gives publishers the highest eCPMs for their inventory but can lead to the advertisers overpaying which can then lead to a lower demand for that publisher’s inventory.

The first-price auction allows both buyers and sellers to see the actual cost of the impression and the fees taken by the SSP/ad exchange will at least be known. The winning price is exactly what the advertiser agreed on, but there is a risk of overpaying for impressions.

The workings of the first-price auctions make sense economically only when the buyer knows the fair market value of the impressions they are bidding on, and understands the mechanics of hard- and soft- price floor mechanisms. The Price Floor, is the minimum price a publisher will accept for its inventory, which technically means they will ignore all bids below that price. This can turn a second-price auction into a type of first-price auction.

Second Price Auctions

The programmatic buying model where if your bid wins, you pay $0.01 above the second highest bid in the auction. In this type of auction, it is in your best interest to bid the highest amount you are willing to pay to win that impression, knowing that you will most likely end up paying less than that amount.
The second price auction is preferable to first price auctions for advertisers because it gives the winner a chance to pay a little less for the ad impression than their original submitted offer — instead of paying the full price, the winning bidder pays the price offered by the second-highest bidder, plus a bit more, usually $0.01. The final and winning price of the impression is known as the clearing price.

So What About Header Bidding?

Header bidding has become a popular type of first price auction where publishers place a piece of code on their webpage headers that allows a limited number of advertisers to bid on inventory outside of their primary ad server. This lets advertisers compete for premium or reserved inventory before or instead of the second-price auction.

Header bidding creates an auction prior to the final auction in a publisher’s ad server. Because of that inefficiency, SSPs (Supply Side Platforms) who run a fair second-price auction in the header, will have less competitive bids for that final auction, and find themselves with low win rates.  Being less competitive in the auction has terrible implications for SSPs as more competitive bids from header bidding can steal their market share.

Media Buyers Are Asking for Transparency in the Bidding Process

Programmatic ad buying exchanges have a mostly obscure bidding process, making it unclear for the buyers whether they are dealing with first or second price auction. If you want complete transparency, then first-price auction seems to be the better option (there are no floor mechanisms or hidden fees), but it offers few real benefits for the advertiser. Truthful bidding in this model (i.e. bidding the real value of the impression, which means if an impression has a value for you of $1.00, you should also bid $1.00) is not only more challenging but it’s also more expensive. A transparent first-price auction will squeeze the margins of the many ad tech players in the middle, and deliver more actual working media to the publisher. But if programmatic media buyers think they are still playing according to second-price auction rules, they will end up overpaying for inventory. Advertisers don’t like the feeling that they are being manipulated into bidding higher than they need to, which is exactly why DSPs use algorithms to predict the price floors and bid accordingly.

Many programmatic traders are left in the dark when it comes to the setup of the auctions they are bidding in. Since media buyers can only audit the vendors they are working with directly on the demand side, they have no way to verify if other programmatic platforms in the ad supply chain are altering their auction structures to make more margin. Which means a buyer might think they are buying based on second price auction but really be in a first price auction. That can get expensive, since the bid strategies are drastically different.

The industry will likely be in a transition period for much of 2018 as DSPs adjust their algorithms to allow for some Bid Shading to minimize the chance of overpaying.  It’s important for media buyers to clarify the auction type (first or second) whenever negotiating a deal and floor price with a publisher. To combat price increases, some buyers have already started Bid Shading, or reducing bid prices. But that strategy comes with risks because buyers can lose out on inventory they want if they submit too low a bid.  So until trust or transparency in auction type and fee structure is available in the open exchange, some media buyers will either try to work with adjusted algorithms or push towards more private exchange tactics so that they can trust the contracts and pricing models.

Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP) Uses Attribution to Win Over Programmatic Media Buyers

Amazon’s theme of go big or go home remains consistent when it comes to it’s most recent moves in the programmatic advertising space.  Their DSP is already the 3rd most popular for media buyers and is seeing a 50% growth in adoption.  The popularity of Amazon’s DSP isn’t because of the platform itself and they are certainly not winning any awards for service, according to media buyers, but it’s because of the data that lives inside the platform.  According to Digiday, Amazon is running a series of attribution tests with at least two agencies, with the goal to prove its long-running pitch to marketers that Amazon offers, unlike Facebook and Google, what it calls a “total wallet perspective.”

Amazon DSP

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 the right time, but they also want the right relevance.  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.

What programmatic buyers really want from Amazon and other DSPs is data they can’t get anywhere else.  This need has caused a shift in media buyer’s attention from a one DSP relationship strategy to having multiple contracts to satisfy their inventory and data challenges. So while buying remains fragmented, according to Forrester’s report titled “Marketers Must Demand More from Their Ad-tech”, marketers are searching for their single source of truth.
The word on the street is that Amazon is launching a new attribution tool designed to demonstrate the value in its’ advertising platform to skeptical media buyers and show how their advertising stacks up against other advertising platforms like Facebook and Google.

Why is Attribution Important for Amazon?

Media buyers use attribution models to track the behavior of users across platforms and devices. Individual purchase paths across the customer journey can be observed and used to continuously improve the programmatic media buying algorithm. Using an attribution model marketers can collect more customer data and then they can show relevant ads in ever better places at ever better times. When attribution models are used to inform programmatic algorithms, marketers gain a more realistic view of ad effectiveness.  If you’re not measuring the impact of your marketing efforts—especially in today’s world of fragmented devices and touch points—you are likely missing out on ROI opportunities and wasting spend on channels, strategies and audiences that aren’t performing well. Plus, getting attribution right helps you maximize your learnings to make better business decisions over time.

Amazon Attracts Media Buyers With Their Unique Data

Showing insights into where leads are coming from and which ad campaigns are resonating with advertisers is half the battle, but Amazon also has to find a way to relay that information in a clear, actionable way, or media buyers won’t know how to make use of the raw data. Brands now, more than ever before, want to be able to understand which advertising methods and platforms are gaining results, and also how to use that attribution to shift and improve their strategies moving forward.  As budgets get tighter and more marketers become sophisticated with programmatic buying platforms, the need to understand what ads and buying methods are performing is increasing – and it has to be scientific.  CMOs want to know how many people clicked on ads, where the ad was placed and if it lead to a purchase. The one thing marketers hate is spending media budget to buy ads and then having to prove that they are really converting.

All this is meant to upset the Facebook-Google Duopoly.  Amazon is not only increasing their brand recognition with media buyers with tools that they need to make their jobs easier, but they are also heavily investing in programmatic talent, as one of their biggest complaints from marketers has been lack of support.  The media buying business is still heavily centered around people, and managed service isn’t going away anytime soon according to Joanna O’Connell in her recent Forrester’s report on omnichannel marketing.

Digilant is partnered with Amazon’s Advertising Platform (AAP).  If you want to learn more about Amazon as a DSP and how you can get started go here.  Otherwise you can contact us now to get started: info@digilant.com.

Facts and Figures For Programmatic Media In-Housing

In 2018, more and more media buying and marketing teams are being asked to draw up proposals and plans for taking the programmatic portion of their budgets in-house.  While the claim behind this strategy is to innovate and take control of a brand’s programmatic future, the economics might point to something besides a complete in-house strategy as the way to go.
There are also different ways of in-housing. For some brands it means setting up their own agency trading desk and using that to deal directly with demand side platforms (DSPs). For others it involves bringing on board an ad tech partner or an agency of record that will be part of setting the strategy, but also responsible for pushing all the buttons when it comes to ad buying execution.

But let’s start at the beginning, why is in-housing taking off in the first place? The short answer is that marketers came to realize that a large share of their budgets were not being used to buy ads, but to fund the 5000 companies that have become part of the ad-tech LUMAscape. While in-housing doesn’t solve for all of that undisclosed share of the budget, it does force marketers to demand a more open or transparent business model from their agency or ad-tech partners.


Recent surveys suggest that more brands are having a serious look at bringing programmatic in house. A report from Infectious Media indicates that many marketers (more than 4 out of 5) want increased control over their programmatic efforts, but fewer than 2% of respondents have actually taken the steps to make it happen. It’s no wonder why brands have been scrambling to figure out the best way to manage their programmatic budgets.

The Challenges to Bringing Programmatic In-House

So what has been the challenge for advertisers to bring programmatic in house?  We’ve narrowed it down to what we think are the four most obvious issues.

  1. PROGRAMMATIC TECHNOLOGY IS COMPLEX:
    Requires a unique skill-set, technology in-house requires an expert or multiple experts at the helm.
  2. A FRAGMENTED ECOSYSTEM:
    Unlike other forms of digital advertising such as search, the market is not dominated by a single player but instead there are endless sources of inventory, numerous DSPs, multiple programmatic models to navigate. Marketers have to string together six to eight specialized solutions to accomplish their programmatic buying goals.
  3. TALENT POOL IS RELATIVELY SMALL for programmatic experts, with most professionals based at agencies in tech hubs such as San Francisco or New York.
  4. In addition to programmatic execution, brands also need to consider factors such as PLANNING, ANALYTICS AND BRAND SAFETYMost of which are enabled by 3rd party platforms and require expertise.

With most companies only being able to afford one or two internal programmatic experts, it seems that the budget has to match the resources necessary.

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

– Wayne Blodwell, CEO of The Programmatic Advisory

The Solution is a Hybrid Model

At the end of the day most marketing and media buyers want the ease and safety of a single solution for their marketing services.  As much as having more control and transparency over programmatic media buying seems more cost efficient, the required investment in talent and expertise to navigate the ecosystem should not be overlooked.

The advantages of going direct make sense; control over their own first party data, disclosed contracts and platform logins, but until larger players absorb point solutions in the ad-tech LUMAscape your budget needs to start at something like $20 million to make the investment worthwhile.  Frankly not everyone is ready to jump in at $20 Million, so for those of you who are not there yet you should consider a hybrid model where you own the contracts and data and your agency partner, like us, owns the rest, at least for the foreseeable future.

How to Become a Better Programmatic Marketer?


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

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

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

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

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

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

How does the process of programmatic ad buying work?


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

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

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

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

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

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

Step by Step Process

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

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

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

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

Common Concerns of Marketers New to Programmatic Ad Buying

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

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

1.) Ad Fraud

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

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

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

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

2.) Viewability

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

3.) Brand Safety

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

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

Major Brands Relying 0n Programmatic Ad Buying for Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What makes Pinterest interesting for media buyers?

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

And Pinterest drives purchasing!

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

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

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

Marketing best practices for Pinterest 

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

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

Summary

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

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

The two target audiences that marketers need to focus for the Back to School (BTS) season are parents and college students. 90% of parents participate in back-to-school shopping, as the primary shopper for younger children and 89% of college students are shopping for back-to-school items. College students spending is significantly higher due to the fact that they are not just shopping for books and basic supplies, but also dorm room or apartment furniture and furnishings.

Five key product areas that get serious business during the Back to School (BTS) season, according to eMarketer.com are:

  1. Apparel and accessories
  2. Books, music and video
  3. Computers and consumer electronics
  4. Office equipment and supplies
  5. Toys and hobbies, including sporting goods

College students start doing BTS searches while they are still enjoying their summer vacations. Since college students spend is a large portion of the anticipated July and August U.S. retail sales of $857.18 billion, it’s important for marketers to dig into consumer insight data to know where to focus their programmatic media buying dollars.

Download the full Back to School Infographic Here! Don’t forget to share #DigilantData.Digilant discovered the following consumer insights about BTS shoppers:

  • 77% of shoppers use Walmart and 58% use Target
  • Low income moms do less comparison shopping because of less access to transportation
  • Upper income moms are better equipped for comparison shopping
  • Consumer Electronics spikes first in the season as a category, then office supplies and third is clothing and apparel
  • Kids are much more involved in the shopping process today with access to information though their parents still have the buying power

 

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

How to Hire a Digital Media Buying Agency?

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

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

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

buying ad space

Changes in the media purchase model

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

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

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

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

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

 

Keys to hiring a digital media agency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Independent Digital Agency Cramer-Krasselt Built Its Trading Desk

For independent shops like Cramer-Krasselt, the shift to programmatic presents challenges. They don’t have the resources to pour into proprietary tech like the big holding companies. For Cramer-Krasselt, that has meant stitching together ad-tech partners to form its own trading desk — and educating all of its employees on the ins and outs of programmatic.

“For a long time, media-holding companies maintained the agency trading desks as a centralized profit center, and the next trend is midsized independent shops started getting into programmatic by working with companies like Digilant and Choozle,” said Eric Bader, managing director and co-founder for digital consultancy Volando.

The system (named “DesCK”) was moved out of beta last year, and now, the agency has an ad-tech team of 10 to run programmatic campaigns for clients including Edward Jones Investments, Cedar Fair Entertainment and blender brand Vitamix. The agency uses the technology infrastructure developed by its data management and five demand-side platform partners including The Trade Desk, and then adds its own data and budget-control system on top of that.

“We would be locked in if we build our own tech from scratch because there’s a cost, and once you want to change things, you cannot adjust quickly,” said Chris Wexler, the agency’s director of media and consumer engagement. “By leveraging others’ tech infrastructure, we can be very nimble in terms of what we want to buy, how we want to buy and how to measure it.”

One big differentiator in Cramer-Krasselt’s trading desk is that the agency has built it as a multi-DSP tech stack, with one single DMP that is governed by a proprietary analytical, fraud and budget management system that “significantly” enhances the agency’s DSP and exchange partners, added Wexler.

“If we had built DesCK with just The Trade Desk, while the tech is good, we would be missing out on the best results for our clients,” he said.

Cramer-Krasselt built its DMP based on Salesforce-owned Krux and then uses that DMP as “the core source of truth” to get the cleanest view of data possible. This is because if a marketer buys programmatic inventory from a publisher, for instance, the publisher’s own analytics may show it has 100,000 impressions per month, while comScore may say that the impressions are 90,000. Then, Google shows that the actual number should be 80,000 monthly impressions, while Cramer-Krasselt’s own ad server reveals that it is 70,000 monthly impressions.

“The numbers are moving around, so we need our own DMP to assess those data discrepancies and evaluate one DSP over another,” said Wexler.

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