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

Today’s CMO and marketing teams are tasked with getting more value out of their advertising spend, which means they have to use their resources wisely.  The motivation for companies to move their programmatic spend in-house is tied to value but also to needing better ROI attribution, improved audience targeting and overall campaign effectiveness.  But even though the motivations behind insourcing programmatic spend are justified, not all brands have all the tools and people in place to complete the transition to a complete in-house operation.  
So if you are a CMO or your CMO asks you to start thinking about bringing your programmatic media spend in-house, how do you know that you are ready?  What are the things that you need to think about? There are three signs that you are indeed ready for the transition to an in-house programmatic media buying team.

  1. You’ve managed either Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or worked within a Marketing Automation platform, before venturing into programmatic.

With the evolution of automation technology there has also been progress made in platform interfaces.  Media buyers that are already advertising on social or have some experience working with search campaigns, will quickly find that programmatic platforms have familiar feeling features.  For many of the DSP platforms, like MediaMath, campaign set-up is easier than it has even been, with many aspects of running and optimizing programmatic that has been automated using the latest AI technologies.

  1. You are determined to own every part of your company’s media budget as well data and analytics, rather than have it be a black box.  You want to negotiate your own contract and terms with vendors and not have those contracts owned by your agency or media partner.

Programmatic advertising has become the lion’s share of digital advertising spend over the last four years. Especially for US digital display ad buyers and sellers, programmatic is now the standard.  According to eMarketer, 78% of US digital display ad dollars will have been bought programmatically in 2018 and the prediction for 2019 is that share of ad spend will increase to 83%.  So having programmatic as a skill in-house is something that CMOs are taking more seriously, especially those who have significant budgets and want to fully own every aspect of their campaigns. 

Brands that are taking on direct relationships with DSPs are finding out that they need multiple platforms to execute omni-channel programmatic media buys.  This means that not only do companies need to think about hiring teams to manage campaigns but they also need staff to manage these new partnerships and find ways to gain the most value out of every platform under contract.

The goal for marketers and media buyers is that with direct access to their programmatic media, they will be able to keep track of their campaigns in real-time, make adjustments on the fly, such as creative changes, targeting optimizations, budget and bid adjustments.  This not only saves on time but also on cost, as everything will be completely transparent to the organization.

  1. You are ready to have multiple people at your company that will be dedicated to keeping up to date on the knowledge, expertise and platforms that are part of the programmatic ecosystem.

Although there has been a lot of progress in the user experience of marketing automation platforms and especially in the media buying category, there is still a ton to learn and to maneuver if you want to fully own programmatic in-house. Even if the plan is to go all-in, programmatic advertising is not a plug and play situation, and brands should give themselves time to get fully up and running. There needs to be significant buy-in from the C-Suite to justify changes in the team structures and the new organization needed to in-house functions that were previously performed by an exterior resource.  

The questions that marketing executives need to asked range from:

  • Do we have talent in-house that we can move to these new roles?
  • Is our office in a location that would attract the right talent if we need to hire?
  • Do we have enough funds in the budget for the required salaries?
  • What is the transition schedule between in house staff and the external resource (agency/ media partner)?

If you already own your data strategy and have access to a CRM and/ or a DMP you are off to a good start in the transition process.  But if you don’t have all the talent trained right from the start or have the relationships in place to get in front of the right platforms then you have options.  There are programmatic services companies like Digilant that can be both partner and consultant to help transition and train your programmatic media buying team to be fully self-sufficient.  So while you are learning how to be hands on keyboard but are not quite ready to push all the buttons, the ideal situation is to have someone else who can own the media execution piece, until you have a full team ready to go.  

In-housing is a long term strategy that requires a plan, people and time.  Even if you are ready it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything in one shot.  Successful companies take a year to two years to be fully up and running with the results they would expect from having less partners and more control over their spends.

2019 Programmatic Media Buying Trends

64% of people that took Forrester’s ‘In-House Agency Forum’ survey said that they used in-house agencies in 2018, an increase of 52% from a decade ago. While in-housing is a trend that we are going to see more of, not all functions are going to in-house teams, brands are opting to use programmatic consulting services for specialized programmatic capabilities as well as the transition from agency to in-house.

Digilant has identified ten programmatic trends that will impact 2019.  To read them all you can view our infographic here.

PR Agencies Turning Toward Programmatic

PR agencies, traditionally, have the primary goal of gaining earned press, media or attention. As Forbe’s Robert Wynne stated, they don’t buy ads or create catchy slogans, but rather they “promote companies or individuals via editorial coverage,” otherwise known as earned media. As people use social media everyday, PR agencies rely on this platform as a means of gaining earned media. It is an easy way to organically reach thousands, if not millions of people while also maintaining brand image. Politics is an area that has seen great results from combining PR and social media. Political figures post their campaign commercials on social media, rather than paying for a TV spot and interact with voters firsthand on Twitter and Facebook. Even more effective, if a problem or scandal arises, they can take to social media to release a statement, directly reaching people. Social media platforms are a great tool for PR agencies to promote brands and people – but it is much easier for those who already have a significant following. For companies with smaller following, social platforms are becoming a tricky maneuver and pose different challenges that PR agencies are working to address.

Back in 2011, when social platforms changed their algorithm, the ability to rely on organic reach lessened. This was extremely problematic for PR agencies due to a market that is overly-flooded with media and news. PR agencies have continued to struggle to gain and maintain attention on behalf of their clients. As a solution, some agencies are looking to expand their services by including programmatic media buying as something they can offer to extend reach, especially when it comes to areas of interest like politics.

Less Focus on Awareness and More on Conversion

Marketing budgets are becoming more about ROI and attribution. Companies are less inclined to put their marketing dollars toward awareness, but focus more on conversion. They no longer just want customers to know about them, they want them to act on this awareness. Adding to this challenge, the constant influx of online content, makes it very difficult for articles and coverage to stay at the top of newsfeeds and searches. It is reported that nearly 2 million articles are posted online everyday. PR agencies are rising to this challenge and combining their standard PR strategies with programmatic media buys which include platforms like Facebook, which played a huge role in the last political elections.

PR is quickly evolving, companies like Cision are going beyond just distribution, moving data and analytics to the forefront. Reaching customers on social platforms, due to the high-paced change in newsfeed and content, is a real necessity for companies. As reported by Adexchanger, “…targeting a brand’s audience on social with a coupon or offer can drive customers back to the site, where a pixel tracks and learns more about them so they can be targeted with earned media in the future.” This tactic has two benefits. First, it drives the consumer directly to the website, putting them face-to-face with the brand and in an optimal position to make a purchase. Second, and most important to PR agencies, they are able to learn about the customer, how to better target them and what they most positively connect with. This in turn helps them determine the best content and placement of earned media to ensure its reaches the proper audience.  

The adoption of programmatic as a tool by PR agencies is still at the beginning stages. However, in the years to come, they will need to have programmatic media buying in their wheelhouse to get the reach and attention they need to maintain their clients and budgets. To stay current on Digital Media Strategies PR agencies are reaching out to programmatic buying companies and partnering with them. PR agencies understand the earned space, but savvy marketers want the best of all worlds which is the combination of paid, owned and earned media. Combining these marketing channels not only produces better ROI for companies, but more insights about customers and how to best reach them in the future.

In 2018, Mobile Video Spend Will Dominate Programmatic Media Buys

In 2017, programmatic digital display ad spending reached $32.56 billion and is projected to continue to grow rapidly throughout 2018 and hit $45 billion in spend by 2019. With this rise in programmatic ad spend, there also comes a shift in where advertisers are buying ad space. Another shift in programmatic ad buying is the rapid rise in mobile placements over desktop. The move to mobile is not surprising considering that on average, people in the United States are spending over 5 hours a day on their mobile devices. Media Buyers are set to capitalize on this shift, in 2018, programmatic investment on mobile will reach $30 billion, over 3x the amount spent on desktop. This is in large part due to the popularity of mobile video consumption and mobile-friendly sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat.

In 2018, Programmatic investment on mobile will reach $30 billion, over 3x the amount spent on desktop -eMarketer

This year, it is projected that mobile video ad spending will surpass non-mobile ad spend. This is due to the rise in popularity of consumers watching video online. It is projected that this year people will spend on average 36 minutes watching video on their phone or tablet compared to 18.5 minutes on non-mobile devices. Around the world, people will watch 25% more video on phone and tablets whereas computer and laptop video consumption is expected to decline. Smart TV streaming continues to rise, but not quickly enough to make up for the mass decline in non-mobile platform viewing. Mobile video ad spending alone is expected to reach $18 billion, a 49% growth. With more consumers watching videos on their phone, media plans are also being adjusted to include larger budgets for mobile video ads and creative.

Mobile Video Ad Boom Driven by Social Platforms

The move towards mobile video consumption is largely due to mobile-friendly apps like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat. Over 500 million hours of YouTube video are watched everyday. 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a Facebook video will watch for at least 10 seconds, and 45% will watch for 30 seconds (Facebook, 2016).  These stats clearly explain why Google as well as Facebook have the largest share in mobile advertising. Advertising agencies put aside a portion of their media budget for Facebook ads and although these agencies don’t necessarily plan to use this money for mobile, it is where the audience is going, as most of Facebook’s audience is through mobile. Views for branded video content on Facebook has increased 258% in 2017 making it a great media buy for advertisers. With 10 million videos watched on Snapchat everyday, the company is estimated to experience the fastest mobile ad revenue growth between 2016-2019. As more companies make their websites mobile friendly, the shift to mobile advertising will continue to grow, leaving desktop ads behind.  

By 2019, $45.72 billion will flow via biddable media, more than four out of five US digital display ad dollars. Mobile ad spending will be credited for more than $30 billion of this amount. The era of mobile programmatic advertising is just beginning as advertisers and brands spend more time and budget optimizing their campaigns for mobile.

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

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed on native advertising and more than 30 other topics.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

2018 Trends: Generation Z vs Millennials, What Programmatic Media Buyers Need to Know?

In the last five years, digital media buyers and brand marketers have been hyper-focused on finding and targeting millennials, forgetting about an extremely influential and profitable demographic, Generation Z. Generation Z defines the group of people born between 1996 and the mid 2000s. They have different purchasing habits and need to be targeted differently than millennials. Most importantly, their influence on the market is tremendous and if brands don’t adapt to fit their needs, they have a great possibility of getting left behind.

Instagram Stories blow past Snapchat with 200 million daily active users as Generation Z becomes more valuable to most organizations than millennials -Statista


Generation Z has very clear and unique preferences that advertisers need to understand. Influencer marketing is very successful with Gen Z. Rather than looking at informational sites, they are likely to head to YouTube and watch a trusted influencer’s video for their information. Although many of them grew up with technology in their hand, this isn’t where they do their shopping. Millennials are much more likely to shop online than Generation Z who prefer shopping in person. Although millennials and Gen Z share short attention spans and the ability to toggle between multiple pages, Gen Z takes this to an extreme level. People in Gen Z have an average attention span of 8 seconds and usually switch between at at least 5 different screens. Advertisers had already seen a decline in television advertising success but now with an even shorter attention span, Generation Z is not the audience to target with TV spots. Gen Z wants real content that makes them feel like they know the brand and the person behind the content. Most importantly, this age demographic wants their independence. They are not interested in loyalty programs but rather want to interact with the advertiser on their terms. Brands that understand the unique preferences of this age demographic and can build media plans, creative and overall programmatic marketing campaigns that have better results.
 

Snapchat vs. Instagram

Brands that are looking to buy programmatic media that targets a younger demographic need to stay up to date with Gen Z likes and dislikes. Especially when it comes to social media advertising. Snapchat, one of the biggest social media platforms with 150 million daily users is starting to fall behind in market share as they realize their competitors are resonating with Gen Z more effectively. Although Facebook, who also owns Instagram, added the “stories” feature and have been accused of copying Snapchat, they already have more active daily users than Snapchat. Instagram started with a larger install base, at over 800 million active users, and have been able to successfully copy what Gen Z users love about Snapchat and adapt it in their own app. This leaves Snapchat to figure out how best to target Gen Z so the users come back to their app and don’t leave them behind in the likes of Facebook and Twitter.  
 

In Summary

What do we need to know about Generation Z?

  1. Trust influencers over direct brand advertising and would prefer to see a YouTube video from someone they follow vs. a TV spot from a brand they might like.
  2. Prefer to do their shopping at a brick and mortar store rather than online.
  3. Have a super short attention span, and are often toggling between 5 screens.
  4. Are super independent and don’t want to be defined by a brand, so advertisers that want to succeed with them need to celebrate the individual rather than trying to group them into categories or audiences.

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

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed on native advertising and more than 30 other topics.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

In 2018 Native Becomes the Leading Ad Format for Programmatic Media Buying Platforms

Native advertising was established to make ads appear more natural on a web page. Rather than making it overtly obvious that the ad is not part of the original page, native advertising uses the page’s design and layout to design the ad so that it appears as just a part of the webpage.  Programmatic native advertising takes this to the next level by targeting a person based on specific data parameters, with the goal of providing the right message to the user in the context of the page/ and or platform that they are on. This provides relevant and helpful information to the user at the right time.

Increase demand for more native experiences will drive programmatic native spend, reaching $24 million by years end, compared to 13.24 billion in 2016 – eMarketer

In 2018 native digital display ads will make up more than half of all digital display ad spending in the United States. This stems from both publisher and advertiser demands. Publishers are pursuing higher value and more mobile friendly content while advertisers are interested in more engaging, less intrusive ads.  This is a trend that programmatic media buyers need to pay attention to as it will be front and center in 2018 media plans. With the advances of machine learning and AI native advertising will become even smarter and which will likely increase the already enticing engagement metrics. Also, it is easier for publishers to guarantee a viewable and fraud free experience providing brands with a more reassuring level of transparency.

Native Gained Popularity Through Social Media Platforms

Native advertising has gained traction through social media platforms, the trend having started with Facebook. In 2017, 84.2% of native display ads appeared on social platforms, which resulted in a $18.59 billion spend. Because most people consume social media on their phones, the focus native advertising development is equally been mobile heavy.  In 2017, $19.5 billion was spent on native mobile display which encompasses 88.3% of all native advertising, and the share is only growing. However, the social platform trend is slowly shifting as other publishers outside the social platform walled gardens are incorporating in-feed ads and videos allowing media buyers to scale their native programmatic ad buys, especially for those brands who are seeking higher rates of engagement. In the coming months, it is projected that more non-social publishers will quickly move to accommodate native programmatic ad buying.

As non-social sites incorporate programmatic native ads, social platforms continue to incorporate these ads to accommodate demand from both publishers and advertisers for this advertising format, and we predict that the trend will be that in 2018 native programmatic advertising will continue to take share away from display ads. The numbers back up this trend. It is estimated that the total ad spend will reach $24 billion which will make up more than 50% of all display ad spending in the United States.

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

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed on native advertising and more than 30 other topics.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: How the Industry is Solving Domain Spoofing and Ad Fraud with Ads.txt & Private Marketplace

In 2018 the ad tech industry, and especially the top DSPs, are going to focus on improving inventory quality for programmatic media, as seen in our top ten trends you need to know about programmatic this year.

Download the full infographic here

What Does Inventory Quality Mean?

Over the past few years, the quantity of fraudulent ads has decreased greatly as the ability to monitor and prevent ad fraud has improved. However, there was still a significant room for improvement. Much of the development that has been made is for desktops ads. As the digital ad buying process continues to become more transparent and ad inventory quality improves, focus now needs to be centered on mobile and video ads. Video ads are extremely enticing to ad fraudsters due to high CPMs. The importance of eliminating fraud and enhancing the quality of ad inventory benefits both buyers and publishers.

On the buyer’s side, there are two major reason to ensure quality ad inventory: brand safety and media waste. If a buyer purchases fraudulent ad space and their brand is presented in a negative environment, it can greatly affect their brand image. In regard to media waste, if an ad is bought and only viewed by bots, instead of human eyes, the media spend is wasted on false impressions. Purchasing quality ad inventory ensures that an ad shows up on the site it is supposed to be published on and that human eyes are viewing it.

Publishers are primarily concerned with ensuring a quality customer experience. Customer experiences are deterred through malware or annoying ads. If the ad exchange is not properly screened, malware can arrive on a publisher’s site. If the consumer clicks on the ad, it will infect their browser, creating a very negative customer experience. Customers do not like when ads refresh, flash or are otherwise annoying. Publishers need to ensure that this is not occurring with their advertisements.

Publishers and buyers need to work together to become a trusted source of quality inventory which involves the following:

  1. Publishers sharing information with one another about negative buying experiences.
  2. DSPs need to educate their advertisers, that buying ad space from many different sources opens up the door for ad fraud.
  3. Create realistic standards for viewability. It is unrealistic to set 100% viewability goals.

Solutions for Fraud and Domain Spoofing

Private Marketplace Deals

Ad space was traditionally bought through open marketplaces. This is a process in which multiple media owners offer up their ad inventory to multiple buyers. All of the buyers compete to have their ad space placed on a page and the highest bidder wins.
Private marketplaces are auctions that are only open to select advertisers through an invitation-only format. Some of these entail only one publisher offering up ad space, others have a few. Before the auction, buyers and sellers negotiate a deal. Each deal is given a unique ID and advertisers bid on that deal only – inventory that does not meet the deal will not be bid on. This marketplace structure requires more work however, it is much more transparent. Buyers will know where their ad is being placed such as the URL of the website their ad will be shown on. The marketplace ensures a more transparent ad buying process and ensures that buyers ads show up exactly where they want them to, reaching the right audience in the right place.  

DSPs Are Implementing Ads.txt

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) has released the latest mechanism that boosts inventory quality and makes the ad buying process less risky. In September, IAB released the authorized digital sellers or ads.txt. This is a simple, flexible method for publishers and distributors to clearly state which companies are authorized to use their digital inventory.

Companies drop a text file on their website that lists the different companies authorized to sell inventory on their site. This will enable buyers to see which programmatic firms have authorization to sell ad space on specific websites, ensuring validity in their purchase. The upkeep for this process is also simple. Someone will have to monitor additions to an ads.txt list to stay up to date with authorized sellers.

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

10 Programmatic Media Buying Trends for 2018 That You Need to Know About

As we kick off 2018, it’s important as marketers, media buyers or media planners to be confident that we are making the right choices, spending valuable dollars in the right places and overall making the returns for those dollars that everyone is expecting.  How do we know for sure we made the right decisions?  We read, we discuss and we read some more on what’s next and how we can outsmart others by being ahead of the trends or implementing the newest ad technology before anyone realized they even needed it.

Our team at Digilant has spent a good amount of time doing the research for you.  We narrowed it down to 10 big trends we know will affect programmatic media buyers this year.  In 2018 you will be hearing a lot of talk about in-housing, ads.txt, OTT, DOOH, native, transparency, attribution and how digital media buying will be going fully programmatic in the next couple of years. We will cover all these topics and more over the next couple of weeks but in the meantime we offer you 10 things you need to know about programmatic for 2018.

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

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