How To Select A Programmatic Advertising Partner

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How To Select A Programmatic Advertising Partner

One of the follow-up questions we got from our recent post on programmatic advertising was how do I pick a programmatic partner? There are a lot of lot of companies out there in the programmatic space. How can I make sure that I am picking the right one?

To answer that question I turned back to programmatic expert Tom Burke from Centro. This is what he had to say.

When picking the right programmatic partner for your business or agency, here are two things to consider.

The first consideration are tactical, day-to-day media-based questions. These are a bunch of boxes you should check around inventory sources and supply-side, what exchanges are they integrated in, how many PNP deals they have, what type of data they have, etc.

11 Questions To Ask A Programmatic Advertising Provider

  1. What do you classify yourself as? A trading desk? A DSP? Something else?
  2. What DSP do you use? is it different based on inventory type (desktop, mobile, video)? Is it your own or a 3rd party?
  3. If you are a DSP, do you have a self-serve interface and if not, do you have any plans to put one in place?
  4. Do you have your own direct PMP deals or do you trade on the open exchanges?
  5. What split of retargeting vs prospecting are you proposing and can this be monitored ongoing?
  6. What are your fees and how are they calculated?
  7. What buy models do you support? CPM, CPC, CPA?
  8. What post view and post-click conversion window will you apply to my activity?
  9. Is there anything automated in your bid optimization process or is it managed by people?
  10. What third party data providers do you typically use?
  11. What level of transparency do you provide on reporting? Can I get a domain list including impressions served?

While you need to check these boxes, realistically the majority of the day-to-day work has become so commoditized at this point, that it would be a red flag if someone could not answer clearly any of these questions.

The second consideration is how does programmatic advertising fit into your business? This is the question that  I’d recommend, almost every agency – especially in the mid-tier – focus on answering.

The two questions I ask agency partners about choosing a programmatic advertising partner are:

The IAB released a study in May 2018 indicating that 18% of programmatic advertisers have completely brought programmatic media buying in house, while an additional 47% have at least partially done so.

If you are thinking about bringing your programmatic services in-house, here are four things to consider:

What’s does “in house” mean to you?

A closer look at the IAB data indicates that few advertisers are aligned on what “fully in house” means.

For instance, some brands viewed taking their entire programmatic process in house as working directly with a DSP instead of using a creative agency to help execute buying. To others, it meant having their agency of record provide them with a programmatic strategy while their in-house team performed the media buys. 

You Will Need an In-House Team

The number of people you’ll need to develop and execute your programmatic media depends on how much of the process you’re bringing in house. Some brands have brought in programmatic department heads, but continue to have an agency of record with whom their experts work to develop the programmatic strategy to execute buys. Others have essentially modelled the structure of a trading desk to manage strategy and execution. Any one of these structures can work, but all require that you staff up a team of programmatic experts.

In-House Programmatic Advertising Is About Data Management

Programmatic media buying requires tons of data—collecting, aggregating, layering, and swiftly drawing actionable insights from it. Depending on your strategy for taking programmatic in house, you may need to take some or full responsibility for managing your data, which would require an experienced (and expensive) data science team.

A Long-Term Programmatic Strategy Is a Must

As with everything in digital media, programmatic advertising buying will not remain stagnant. Technology, key players, channels, and formats will continue to change and evolve. Many companies have built their entire business model on this evolution. Therefore, your strategy needs to account for, and proactively address, the constant changes in the industry.

That means hiring exceptional talent that fully understands the landscape, and can act autonomously to address innovation. It also means providing employees with ongoing opportunities to continue their industry education.

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What is Programmatic Advertising?

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What is Programmatic Advertising?

This is a question that we get when we are reviewing paid media plans with clients. What is programmatic advertising? It’s a great question and I turned to paid media expert Tom Burke  to answer that question. This is what he had to say.

Programmatic advertising is the use of automated technology for media buying (the process of buying advertising space), as opposed to traditional (often manual) methods of digital advertising. Programmatic media buying utilizes data insights and algorithms to serve ads to the right user at the right time, and at the right price.

In other words, as Tom points out, programmatic advertising is simply another way to buy advertising or media.

How is buying programmatic advertising different from traditional ad buying?

With traditional or direct ad buying you purchase advertising space on a website or in a traditional publication directly from the publisher.

You negotiate the price, pick the placing and the date the ad will run, and for how long the ad will be shown to the publisher’s readers. It involves people talking with people, and the process can take time, as ad copy is sent back and forth for approval. Results are calculated manually and provided to the buyer when they become available. Ads are optimized manually based on the data.

The most common example of traditional ad buying is buying ad space on a site like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, or Boston.com. Everyone who visits these websites will see your ad, regardless of whether they could be interested in your product/service or not.

Purchasing programmatic advertising, on the other hand, is very similar to Facebook or Google where the ads are bought and sold through an automated process through a dashboard. Real-time optimization occurs and KPI data are available as it comes in. There is no need to interact with any salespeople at the publishers.

Unlike in the first example, your ad is only shown to the website visitor who matches the behavioral or demographic characteristics of your ideal customer, increasing the likelihood that they will click on your ad.

Programmatic advertising misconceptions

One of the common misconceptions about programmatic advertising is that the quality of the ad inventory is not top tier quality.

That is completely incorrect because today you can buy almost any type of ad programmatically. In the last twelve months, companies we have worked with, have bought TV advertising on Hulu programmatically. They have bought streaming audio on both Pandora and Spotify programmatically. And they have bought ads on major websites like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.com all programmatically.

When you can target your ad buy so that your ad is only shown to someone who matches your ideal customer profile, why would you not be using programmatic advertising?

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How Many Social Media Platforms Should You Focus On?

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How Many Social Media Platforms Should You Focus On?

One of the challenges that a lot of B2B companies struggle with is what how should they handle social media? Should they be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat? Do they need to be on TikTok?

Do they need to be on all of these platforms, or should they just focus on one and just do a really good job on there?

To answer these questions I turned to social media expert Amanda Fountain and this is what she had to say.

What Are Your Social Media Resources?

What you are asking is actually two questions rolled into one because what you are really asking is what are your resources and where is your audience?

Social media can open a lot of doors for businesses, but if you don’t have the right resources, it just becomes harder. Harder to manage, harder to see results, harder to feel good about what you’re doing on it. Harder to see results if it’s not overwhelmingly good.

And that’s usually what happens, when you have limited resources, you do the best you can, but it’s not great.

It’s just the best that you can possibly do. And that can hurt. Which is a weird thing to think about, but it can hurt if it’s not great for social. Because there’s so much that’s happening, that your stuff has to stand out.

When I say great, I don’t mean like the highest quality videos are the highest quality graphics, it’s just great content that is really
well tailored for your audience.

That’s the ‘great’ that you’re looking for. It doesn’t have to be highly produced content, it just has to be really well tailored for your audience.

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Where Is Your Audience On Social Media?

The second part of your question is where is your audience? If you know that you have limited resources and you know that your audience is most active on Twitter, for example, spend your time there.

This is a much better strategic approach, to find where your audience is, and put your time and effort there, rather than trying to separate your time across every single platform.

Maybe claim profiles and have a regular cadence for occasionally posting on other places, but put your time and efforts to where your audience is.

And then the next phase of that is if you can get a good cadence of producing content that your audience likes and engages with, then you can look to expand your social media presence to the platforms where your audience will be.

One of the things I always think about is who is my next audience, right? Because people grow up in their careers.

The people who are decision makers now, are maybe not, maybe not big Instagram users, but the people who are in their twenties and thirties who have them, will eventually be a decision maker

It’s a platform they’re used to using and seeing. So you can’t ignore it forever, but think about when you need to start kind of getting in front of them.

That’s why it’s more important to have a regular cadence, even if it’s only occasional, in order to be in front of those other audiences.

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The Art Of Storytelling Through Data

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The Art Of Storytelling Through Data

In this episode of Five Questions with… I am talking with JLA Analytics founder Julie Alig about the art of storytelling with data in business and how to present complex stories with data. This is part two of the interview. You can find the first episode on Visual Storytelling With Data here

How do you come up with the question that you're going to tell the story around?

Definitely in a conversation, it’s a back-and-forth with the customer. That’s the way I do it. That’s the way I’ve found the strongest results come out.

I might be the person in the room who has the most experience with research methodology, with statistical tools, this, that, the other. I’m not the subject matter experts of what my clients are. In my mind, any good research project – kind of like this – needs to be a collaboration between the subject matter expert and the people with the tools and expertise. 

Working with my clients, I really like to have that kind of conversation or communication continue, and if anything I like to over-communicate, because I want to make sure that I’m going in the right direction. I think I responded to one of your posts on LinkedIn and said something like,”Let your client, or their questions, be your North Star.”

That needs to be what I’m focused on. That’s where I find the best results with my clients.

Four Tips To Successful Storytelling

I sit in all these meetings, I get Powerpointed to death, with slides with a gazillion data points on them. We spoke about taking this data, understanding the North Star, answering the questions, pulling it together so you can tell a story with it, but now you have to deliver it.

What’s your tips and tricks for boiling that down, putting it onto paper so that people in the room can understand it and so when it gets passed around outside the room they can still follow the story.

That’s the question isn’t it? That’s the 64 million dollar question!

I think that’s where a lot of your skill and expertise come into play. You really have to distill down all the findings into something very short and small. I forget who but there was a British author who said,

"I would've written a shorter letter if I had the time."

1. You have to be concise and get right to the point.

 I would say the tip is: A – keep going back to those original questions and make sure that you’re still focused on those. B – I really get a lot out of visuals.

2. Communicate so much with visuals

I was just on a call with a colleague last week, and she was talking about a process, and I whipped out my journal and drew a little picture, and held it up for her, and she was like,”that’s exactly it!” She got it.

So I think we’ve all been in those situations. The danger though is that you’re going to load up too many ideas and too many concepts into one poor little graphic or image. I really like using maybe a couple of visuals to tell a story, and in a storyboard kind of manner.

3. Stick to the basics, and throw everything else in the appendix.

 That’s kind of what I used when I was writing my dissertation in grad school. All those great supporting analyses, stick ’em in the appendix.

I love that storyboard analogy. It’s like these are the ones you can always pop out and say, “Okay are we gonna use these images in this order? Is it telling the story that we want?” Instead of “well there’s a slide, and now there’s another slide…”

4. That you and your client or customer are on the same page.

 So, especially from that first slide, statement of the problem, statement of the question, and what you’re going to do with it.

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How Do You Select A Social Media Agency?

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When To Select A Social Media Agency

One of the questions that we get asked a lot is when is the should I use a social media agency for social versus when should I do it in-house with the people that I have?

It’s a great question and I turned to social media expert Amanda Fountain to answer that question. This is what she had to say:

Hiring A Social Media Agency

One of the reasons why a company would consider using a social media agency is to develop a social media strategy.

A social media strategy is one of the key building blocks to being successful on social media. A strategy identifies who your target audience is. What social networks they are on? What messaging they respond too? What types of messaging they do not respond too?

A second reason to engage with a social media agency is to produce more content.

A third reason is to listen and engage with your audiences on social media. Listening is an overlooked aspect of a successful social media strategy. The bigger you are as a company, the more risk you have of missing conversations about your brand if you don’t have someone monitoring and listening all the time.

“By providing great customer service through social comments, you not only retain existing customers but also win new ones.”

Handling Your Social Media In-house

When does handling your social media accounts in-house work best? If you know that your audience is not really active on social, that it is not where you want to talk to your audience then having internal resources handling your social media accounts make sense.

In this scenario, your in-house person just focused on posting content and responding to whatever comments are left.

Agency + In-House Model

The obvious best model is when you have a social media agency partner and someone -in house that’s your social media expert.

You have your in-house person who can lead what needs to happen, can share all that in-marketing insight from the other pieces that are going on, and help with the execution pieces of it.

Your agency partner then becomes your strategist, your person that’s there to tell you what’s happening, tell you what’s going on, counsel you to make changes or consider new things. To push you in new ways that if you’re in the trenches day to day, it’s not always easy to see those things.

So that’s a good model, having a social media agency partner who can be your strategist, and then the in-house person that can oversee implementation and execution of your social medium campaigns.

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Visual Storytelling With Data

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Visual Storytelling With Data

In this episode of Five Questions with… I sit down with JLA Analytics founder Julie Alig to talk about visual storytelling with data. This is part one of a two-part interview.

Can you tell the audience a little bit about your background Julie?

At heart, I’m basically a storyteller. As I look back I’ve really always been interested in stories. It was in grad school that I really got interested a lot more in data, using data and marrying that with stories to be able to really have an impact. I went to the University of Chicago, I got my doctorate in Political Science, I did a lot of work in quantitative methods, survey research, that sort of thing.

What I really wanted to do was be able to understand how to use data, and how to use it in a very honest, methodologically rigorous way, so that people could really feel what the story is in it, and beyond that to figure out, “what do we do with that? Where do we go next?” 

And so that’s what my company does. We work with clients that have a lot of data and don’t know what story it’s telling, and who need someone with the tools and the expertise to come in and work with them to figure out what’s going on and plot a course for going forward.

Common basis of understanding

With COVID-19 there’s just so much data that’s out there. I think Andrew Cuomo has done a really good job of visual storytelling with data by condensing it down into understandable parts.

Most data analysts do not do this. When you have a complex dataset, what are some of the tips and tactics that analysts can use to sort of take that and tell a story around it that people understand.

With a complex data set, you can answer a whole lot of questions, and you can do a lot of really fun stuff. I think we’re all pretty aware of all the powerful machine-learning algorithms out there, a lot of these very, very complex statistical analyses. I find, honestly, that if you can’t tell a story, even if it’s a complex story, if you can’t tell it in a very simple way then what good is it?

 You might have all of this data, you might have these really cool hierarchical clustering algorithms or whatever you call them – logistic regression of whatever – but if you can’t get down to and answer that question that your customer or client has then what good is it?

I think that’s where thinking of this in terms of visually telling a story with data helps me, and I think it helps other people to think about breaking that down. The first thing you need to do as a practitioner when you start having a conversation about a really complex topic is to make sure you find a common basis of understanding with your audience, with our client.

If you don’t have that common basis, that foundation from the get-go, you’ve lost them. It doesn’t matter how great your R2 is or this, that, the other. It’s over their head and you’ve lost them, and what good is it then?

So I really try to stay true to what the original questions were, and really think about how someone is going to use the data. We all fall under these traps of going off on tangents or going down rabbit holes. For me, analysis is really iterative.

Coming back to the questions, answering a few more questions, coming up with a few more findings, and then going back and iterating. Almost like a palimpsest.

Presenting too much information

What I find a lot of times is that analysts we work with or have seen elsewhere, they’re so focused on showing that they’re the smartest in the room that they just go really deep. They lose everybody, because yes they are the smartest one, because they own the data, but you have to be able to – as you say – bring that up to that story point at the top that says, “these are the terms that we can all understand, and this is the story part that’s around that.” 

That’s powerful when it works, it’s a really tough meeting when it doesn’t, when you go too far with that.

Yes And full disclosure, I’ve been doing this for 20, 25 years, I was a young analyst way back in the day! There is something really cool about when you’re able to find something that allows you to dig and dig and dig, and come up with something. You get excited about it and you want to share it!

I’m sure I’ve been guilty of that in the past, but you need to come back to,”Okay, so what? What are we gonna do with this? Does it really answer the question?” 

And if it doesn’t, okay, let’s stick a pin in it, stick it over here in the parking lot and get back to the question at hand: how can we really help the client or the customer to make a difference?

 

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Consumer Insights And Behavior – Part Two

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Consumer Insights And Behavior

In this episode of Five Questions with.. We’re continuing our conversation with Captify CEO and co-founder Dom Joseph about pulling some insights into how  consumer behavior has changed as a result of  the Coronavirus. Part one of our conversation about changing consumer behavior and consumers in a COVID-19 world can be found here.

What are some consumer insights you have on the type of messaging that resonates with consumers today?

I think there’s been some very clever stuff coming out from some brands that have managed to move quickly. I do think some messages have been a bit ‘done-straight-away’. 

I saw a funny meme yesterday that got sent around about brands trying to evolve their messaging to the emotional state of the country right now but still trying to sell their product straight away afterwards. Consumers will really see through that sentiment.

It’s a tricky one for brands to work out. I think they’ve probably got to try a few things and iterate and find out what

I think this causes a lot of problems for a lot of companies because often the link between creative and media buying strategy is so disparate that actually a lot of brands won’t be able to move quickly enough. They won’t be able to adopt and listen. You’ve got to have a different message right now.

One of our biggest clients, KFC , were very, very quick to change. Their slogan is normally ‘finger lickin’ good’, and right now we’ve been told not to touch our faces! I was very impressed with how quick they were to do that. So, some brands are able to change their messaging and make it right for the scenario, and a lot of others are going to really struggle.

Again, we’re just here to help. If consumer insights can help inform that creative strategy, and if we can help with the creative build, then that’s something that we would do. Then, we can offer to help you guys out. I do think that companies have got to evolve it right now. You have to really understand your audience, which is a very difficult one to work out.

Who does Captify work with?

https://www.captify.us/We work with about 700 brands around the world. Most of it is still with agencies. We’ve really built up a lot of our setup focused on servicing agencies. However with a lot of our agencies, we’re starting to get a closer integration with the brand itself. That is very much of interest, because what we don’t like is being too cut off from really getting the best out of our product. 

The best way to use Captify ‘s product is in combination with the client’s data, so we can actually look at the full end-to-end customer journey. We can overlay our first-party client’s data on our data to see and understand the search behaviors of their users and that allows us to be able to pull the consumer insights from the data. 

If we can match all the search data we already have on those users it gives us a much richer understanding of what your existing or high-value audiences have been doing over the last twelve months, what have been the trigger points. 

If we can get to that level of integration with a client then we’re able to do much more stuff together and the consumer insights get more powerful, the way that you can react quickly and customize content is more powerful. 

The ideal client at Captify is one where we are using our product to its full capacity to inform everything from strategy to buying, all the way through to measurement. We really strive as a business to be a core partner that can be used at all stages in that journey. There’s no specific brand, we work in every vertical, but our biggest verticals are travel, automotive, finance and retail.

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Consumer Behavior And Insights

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Consumer Behavior And Insights

In this episode of Five Questions with.. we’re chatting with Captify CEO and co-founder Dom Joseph about how  consumer intent and consumer behavior has changed as a result of  the Coronavirus.

Who is Captify?

Captify is the largest holder of search data outside of Google . We essentially bring in search data from publishers all over the web. Consumers who are searching outside of Amazon and Google for holidays, cars, different types of products, even just researching things in life and so on, we bring all that search data in and then use it to provide ad campaigns and insights to our clients. 

We bring in about 46 billion searches a month and Google does about 110 billion, so it has a relatively large scale, but we’re really focused on consumers who are specifically a little bit further down the funnel. You might actually use Google to research a topic, but since you want to buy something you would actually then go to the next level of publisher or partner, and those are the companies we work with.  It’s the on-site search data from those partners that provides us with the consumer insights.. 

We  provide value to our clients through consumer insights, using the data to derive the interest and intent that users are showing, informing media buying strategies with it. 

For example if you’re looking to sell more cars, it’s helpful to look at how consumers are searching and going through the consideration phase and then engage them across all channels from CTV to video and display native. A true omnichannel view of consumer behavior and the buyer’s journey.

How has coronavirus changed Consumer Behavior?

What we’re seeing is that obviously as Coronavirus broke there was a very abrupt change in consumer behavior. We have moved past the crisis and panic mode, and now we’re seeing a real shift towards people looking for a positive presence in their lives. 

We’re seeing higher trends in movies that provide comedic relief and escapism from the constant barrage of news. I know for one that I’m certainly doing that myself. I’ve stopped watching the news, I’m just tired of seeing day-by-day how many tens of thousands of people are affected, it’s all got a bit too much.

Another change in consumer behavior we are seeing is that consumers are really searching in a different way. We are seeing a huge rise in people searching for specific products, everybody looking for fitness stuff as well as home appliances to really enhance the way they’re spending their lockdown. 

Home office is also a big one, we’ve seen a huge amount of that. We’ve seen a huge amount of spend from our clients in all of these verticals.

So, despite the fact that many advertisers are clearly paused we’re still seeing that actually some of them are going for it in quite a buoyant fashion. Some sectors are clearly going to be in a very good way from this, everybody that’s advertising around food and home office and such, as I said. That’s reflected in the search behavior that we see.

We’re also seeing parents looking for new toys and new methods to entertain their children. Everybody’s starting to run out of ideas now having had this prolonged period indoors. 

I think generally the consumption on the internet and watching videos is so much higher right now too, which in combination with our search data is evolving to the areas I mentioned above. 

We’re also seeing a huge influx in video inventory, which has led to a big opportunity for advertisers to take advantage of perhaps cheaper inventory, and more being available in CTV and so on. That in turn is shifting advertiser patterns as well.

You can hear more of our interview with Dom Joseph on our YouTube channel.

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