Opinion Opinion | July 27, 2016

Programmatic – coming to a brand near you!

As part of The Digital Trading Awards US program Stewart Easterbrook, Chairman, Media iQ speaks to The Drum

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Stewart Easterbrook: Chairman@Media iQ
Stewart Easterbrook: Chairman@Media iQ

In a recent survey, 75% of marketers said that they have plans to increase programmatic media spend on brand activity in the next 12 months. It sounds like an obvious step. Why shouldn’t brand activity benefit from programmatic approaches that have been well-honed by, largely, ‘performance marketing’ businesses for years?

Given some of the significant benefits that come with programmatic media approaches, which I outline below, why have brands been so slow to make the transition away from more traditional media planning and buying practices? The same survey sheds some light on this question. Two-thirds of marketers cite ‘lack of transparency of financials’ as the main barrier to increasing programmatic brand spend. Others refer to the complexity of the ecosystem (55% of marketers), the lack of appropriate measurements or the ‘lack of transparency in delivery’.

None of these concerns feel like obstacles that a strong client, working with good partners, shouldn’t be able to overcome. If you need more transparency, demand it. If you require guidance through complexity, ask for it. If the measurements you require to ascertain the success of brand activity don’t exist, create them. To allow these obstacles to slow the pace at which your brand benefits from programmatic media approaches is to allow your competition to gain an advantage.

So, why should brands be moving towards programmatic?

1. Brand and customer insights
A well run programmatic campaign is like running your largest focus group ever. Except it is for real. For sure, the detailed campaign analytics give the marketer the ability to monitor and optimise campaigns in real time, allowing for potentially huge increases in the effectiveness of campaigns. But the real ‘gold dust’ is what such campaigns can tell a marketer about their customers. A wealth of insight is thrown off by such campaigns relating to customers’ behaviours and motivations that could be used not just for optimising media but for all sorts of broader marketing and business decisioning.

2. Return on Investment
A marketer is not locked into traditional media measurements of success. It is possible for a marketer to optimise their campaigns to what they know drives the success of their brands.

3. Contextual Placement
Brand advertising can be placed, in real time, within the content that is contextually relevant. Given how simple this sounds, it is amazing it doesn’t happen more often.

4. Access to Wider Inventory
More publishers are making more inventory available programmatically. As this continues, programmatic media improves.

5. Segmentation and Targeting
The ability to target advertising at a granular level has long been the holy grail of performance marketing. But why shouldn’t brands take full advantage of being able to engage with their customers more relevantly depending on their behaviours, their context or the devices they are using?

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