In 2018, brands and marketers have made it clear that they want increased control of their programmatic advertising efforts. Digital advertising spend is estimated to overtake offline spend, with programmatic already surpassing direct digital buying. In more advanced markets, the media buying industry is aimed at a programmatic future.
Marketers have grown frustrated with the current business model; they want better control of their data and more financial transparency. A report by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) report finds that 90% of advertisers are reviewing and resetting both business models and contracts to achieve those goals. A survey conducted by Infectious Media found that over 70% of marketers think agencies have struggled to adjust to programmatic and they do not think the agencies accurately measure their programmatic media buys.
7 Things to Consider Before In-housing Your Programmatic Media Buys
With this loss of trust, it’s no wonder why brands are taking steps to bring their programmatic campaigns in-house. However, in order for them to be successful, there are some steps they need to take. We’ve put together a check-list of what we think brand marketers need to know. Here are 7 things you need to consider if you want to bring your programmatic in-house.
1. Budgeting, resources, and hands on keyboard
The first thing to consider is evaluating your brand’s capabilities. Is the budget large enough? How many people will be on the programmatic team? Will they be able to stay up-to-date with the latest technology?
“Brands must be spending at least $20 million programmatically before they even consider taking programmatic in-house, in order to generate a high enough level of savings to make the transition worthwhile.”
– Wayne Blodwell, CEO of The Programmatic Advisory
On top of a high cost, programmatic technology is complex; it requires a unique skill-set and it is hard to master. The technology requires an expert or multiple specialists at the helm. Hiring and training new recruits is not a simple process, especially if your office happens to be outside of New York, San Francisco or Boston.
After deciding which kind of technology stack is best for your brand (DSP, DMP, ad server, viewability tracking, dashboard, fraud protection) there are also other aspects to consider like licensing. This includes legal documentation, adherence to privacy regulations, etc.
Other forms of digital advertising, namely search, is dominated by a single player. Programmatic, on the other hand, lives in a complex environment that has many options of inventory to choose from. Several demand-side partners that can be used to access them and also several programmatic models to navigate through, like open exchanges to private marketplaces.
This goes back to having the right personnel for the job. New roles in the organization will open because of in-housing and it is up to you to have the right training methods for current employees. As mentioned before, programmatic technology is complicated and the right people must be on the job.
After a programmatic team has been established it is time to understand the short and long-term goals of the business. Key considerations and questions at this point would include: Debating whether display, native and reach based advertising would help reach the long-term business goals, or whether inbound is a better fit, is an in-house team going to be more effective because of the increased frequency of campaigns?
3. In-housing goals
Besides long-term business objectives, identifying the end-goal of an in-house programmatic process is critical too.
- Do you simply want to purchase media in a more effective way?
- Do you want to maximize reach?
- Do you need better targeting and segmenting or are you looking to go wide?
- Do you want a broad mix of outbound- from display to native to video and mobile or are you limited to one or two formats?
- Or perhaps you also want to incorporate offline data to effectively take prospects along the typical buyer’s journey?
4. Big Data
One of the biggest and challenging tasks is being responsible for your own data. Collecting, managing, and then interpreting it for valuable insights can become rather tedious. If big data is too much to handle, hiring a separate data team can also be an option. Data-backed programmatic is extremely desirable today but it needs to be managed by disciplined professionals managing first and third party data
5. Cross-departmental Collaboration
It is important to make sure all departments are aware of the organization’s new programmatic team. Illustrate how an in-house programmatic process will benefit the whole business through increased sales, ROI, and customer satisfaction, not just the marketing department. Alignment with sales is also crucial in terms of making the most of leads generated via programmatic.
6. Implementation, testing, and execution
Different brands benefit from different programmatic models, determining which ones work best for you require testing. Testing new tactics and programmatic strategies in-house for a short period of time may help your company adapt to the overall programmatic process before identifying a model that works best.
7. Consider a hybrid in-housing model
It may also be wise to consider using a hybrid approach. You may have a strong analytical data team, with data management experience, but not the talent or knowledge for programmatic execution. Or you might have built a strong digital marketing team, but they don’t have the skill or knowledge specifically in programmatic media buying. These are key skills that are worth outsourcing to a trusted agency of record while keeping strategy and data in house.
As much as having more control and transparency over programmatic media buying makes sense, the required investment in talent, expertise to navigate the ecosystem and budget size should not be overlooked. For now, if you are a brand considering starting the in sourcing process then you should consider a hybrid model where you own the contracts and data and your trusted partner, like Digilant, owns the rest.