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Things to consider when choosing your next programmatic agency

Programmatic advertising technology is designed to make the digital ad buying system more efficient – and cheaper. It removes humans from a large chunk of the process of buying, selling and optimising ad placements.

Most programmatic ad spend is done using real-time bidding that buys ad inventory on a per-impression basis. 

Strategy, data and technology, along with automation and artificial intelligence, have changed the way digital marketing is delivered.

Smart algorithms can now determine the perfect time as well as an ideal location to reach your brand’s target audience. 

Of course, many brands will have their own data on which to draw on to help them understand customers, which means new opportunities for marketers to enhance client campaigns. But a programmatic agency can add a new dimension to retargeting that audience and drilling down further in order to reach exactly the right audience to ensure a high volume of conversion.

Programmatic DSPs (demand-side platforms) offer automated audience matching and media buying functionalities and those programmatic agencies that are ahead of the game will already be offering brands options to improve efficiency and better target their ideal consumer.

So, before choosing a programmatic partner, do consider the following:

Brand goals – what channels best meet (or even excel) your business aspirations? Where can a programmatic agency help when it comes to media exposure and best accelerate your brand growth?

Multi partners – some marketers believe it is worth considering selecting a number of programmatic partners to test strategies and compare results. Agencies ordinarily bid and buy from a number of sources, with strengths that are variable.

However, The Drum guest writer, John Gillan, recently cautioned: ‘The problem here is that with two retargeting partners in play, brands essentially begin bidding against themselves'.

‘The reality here is that if a business is fragmenting campaigns across multiple platforms, they likely aren’t getting the visibility they need across audiences, campaigns, and devices.’ [link – https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2018/12/04/how-invest-programmatic-minimise-ad-wastage]

Add to this, the fact that over saturation of your ads may prove a big turn off with your target audience who will eventually object to seeing your brand every time they go online, these factors will inevitably create problems with longevity of exposure. As you can see, it’s a thin line, so do ensure any agency you choose understands ad frequency limitations. If you do opt for more than one partner, how will they minimalise any ad overlap? Any decent agency will have the sequencing technology and systems in place to handle these risks that can have a negative impact on successful reach.

USP – your brand has it own unique selling points and so should any agency you choose as a partner. Establish where its strengths lie. What makes them stand out from the crowd? Why choose them over anyone else? How will they segment customer data insights to create more effective and better performing target audience groups?

Ask for client testimonials. A programmatic strategy is all about the best buying solutions for your brand so ask about how they test different platforms for their clients. Brands using multiple programmatic DSPs can greatly improve results and agencies can exercise better control over spending having tried and tested the most effective among them.

Audiences can be changed, budgets shifted and results optimised. Ask how the agency ensures maximum value from your digital advertising campaign.

Teamwork – the management of key programmatic tactics is reliant on a strong cross-functional team with great organisational skills and time-management strategies. It’s a dynamic world that changes at a pace, so the agency team needs to be adaptable and au fait with the latest innovations and evolving technologies. It also needs to understand the recently implemented privacy laws – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that now regulates the handling of personal data – and be able to adapt to them. Is the agency that will handle your campaign demonstrating these assets?

Keep it simple – the fairly new world of programmatic advertising is littered with jargon – and a hint of mystery. So, how do you know you’re getting the best value for your budget? Can the team convey in plain English how these emerging technologies will benefit your brand and drive better ROI? A good agency will ensure that they manage your brand’s campaign with greater control whilst using fewer resources – and should be able to explain how and why. And, by the way, a bigger spend doesn’t necessarily translate to bigger returns. An effective and competitive strategy will.

It’s all in the mix – choosing the best platforms is a skill and rather depends on your brand’s marketing goals. Google, Amazon and Facebook, for example – all key programmatic platforms – offer different access to different data, so be wary of any programmatic agency offering any ‘partner exclusive’ deals. Increasingly, programmatic strategies are not only straddling devices, but also spanning various marketing platforms as well. Communication is all about reaching your target audience in the right place at the right time and a multi-channel strategy supports this approach. What value do the specific channels hold for your business? Combining those that best support your brand will strengthen your position within the market.

It is estimated that 65% of global advertising will
be trading programmatically this year

Reaching consumers digitally is a key driver in any marketing strategy. Programmatic advertising now allows brands to drill down to elicit and utilise the digital behaviour patterns of their target audience. By placing their ads in front of the eyes of those people most likely to engage, they can greatly improve their ROI. Partnering with a team of specialists who can harness the technology to optimise your campaign, understand the nuances and can smartly navigate within the regulations without falling foul of their limitations is key both from a cost-effective point of view as well as supporting efficient and effective brand marketing.