Today, more and more brands are taking control of digital media buying needs, and more platforms are giving brands the ability to automate their buys with full transparency on things like ad cost, bid amounts, and audience control. 

Starfish Ad Age LLC is on a mission to help businesses understand the complicity of programmatic and to help bring it to their doorstep for more control over their digital media. 

First brands must understand what programmatic is and how it has become such a dominating force.

Let me start off by saying Programmatic Is The New Traditional… PERIOD.

“Programmatic media buying is the automated and algorithmic bidding, sale and purchase of advertising inventory, in real-time. It allows marketers to reach new and existing audiences with precision, relevance, and optimization.”

Today’s digital ecosystem has become fragmented with so many channels and jargon that it’s no wonder some people have such a difficult time understanding how it works or what it all means. One of the biggest problems is that there are so many “experts and gurus” out there who really have no idea what they are talking about or how the technology works. 

In order for brands to really master programmatic, they must understand it and also what is coming next. 

Programmatic Advertising accounts for 80% of all digital ad spending, which include display, mobile, social, and search. According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), in-house programmatic is on the rise for marketers because of the following benefits

  1. Improved ad performance & ROI
  2. Cost and Transparency 
  3. Better control, optimization, data management, and targeting
  4. Real-Time capabilities
  5. FULL Accountability 
  6. Focus on brand goals

Before we get into the technical side of things, let me start by saying that, as marketers, we live in a very complex customer journey, and trying to reach our ideal customer has become extremely fragmented. We don’t live in funnels. Today’s consumer is on an entire journey.

Okay, now it’s time for the technical stuff…

Before you can begin to bring programmatic in-house you must understand a few key components.

Strategic functions include media strategy, establishing KPIs, data strategy and management, and full control of DSP, and DMP contracts and understanding each of those platforms’ functionalities to take full advantage of each vendor. 

Optimization and campaign analysis are key for brands and marketers to bring digital in-house, but it is not the easiest task. Brands must hire the right talent to optimize these campaigns to its fullest, and that takes a full understanding of the programmatic ecosystem along with how to connect social and search into one marketing campaign

Innovation and technology, because these digital ecosystems move quickly brands/marketers tend to outsource several key components, like data strategies, creative content, Rich Media Ad Formats, tag management and more. Currently, full in-house programmatic is at just 18% according to the IAB. Brands are demanding more transparency and control, but a vast majority have decided not to move forward with in-house programmatic due to the cost of talent, creativity, and data. 

One of the biggest challenges brands and marketers face is the long-term commitment to learn and understand the ecosystem. Most brands are not prepared for the commitment, but those who embrace programmatic in-house will save hundreds of millions of dollars in the long-term by investing in a partner for guidance. 

Before brands go down that path, they must debate several analyses, like cost performance and benefits associated with in-house programmatic. Create a game plan, execution strategy, and data analysis. This is critical in order to lay a solid foundation. 

Great you made this far, now let’s start to discuss how your creative and data is important to execute campaigns that are people-based instead of frequency-based

But for now, let’s start on why banners ads are both a good and a bad idea. 

Good banner ads are created as a back-up for specific targeting of consumers who have landed on a specific page or search for a product or service, but 8 out of 10 times that plan falls flat. In comes the HTML5, which is also a form of a banner ad, but not as static. This format delivers motion. Remember, the goal of advertising is to get the consumers’ attention, so in comes rich media formats (EXAMPLES SEE BELOW AD UNITS) these ad formats not only grab the users attention but deliver an “impression” which is the key to mobile marketing. Brands must focus on mobile users and find new ways to convey a relevant message

Bad banner ads; we’ve all seen them. Brands who only use banner ads as a last resort will not see the return. It is one of the many reasons why they feel the “I’ve been burned by digital ads before” mentality. We are not suggesting that these ads are 100% the wrong choice for you. Instead, focus on how these ads work and what your overall KPI is. 

Data execution and understanding is one of the most critical components of any digital campaign, yet it is one of the most overlooked parts. Brands have a sense that data is important but they don’t know how to use that data to improve their campaigns

Data execution is a goldmine if brands have the right talent to leverage ad tech companies out there, and who can help centralize the process for them. You can create an entire pool of data based on your current customer base. 

We live in a connected mobile world, and whether brands are small, large, family-owned, or have been around for 100 years, the fact is that digital is taking over. Marketers and brands should take full control of their digital marketing, and programmatic is the engine that can help connect such a fragmented digital world. Today, you have the ability to control a full customer journey.