Can Programmatic Spend Be Audited?
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Brands need to change the way they manage and audit their media spend if they want to ensure success via programmatic.
Programmatic is, increasingly, the way we buy media. In a $475 billion global business (according to the latest Zenith data), 60% of ad spend is now digital and 90% of that is bought programmatically.
Programmatic is effectively eBay for advertising, allowing anyone to buy any impression and is no respecter of scale. In these real-time auction environments, brands can no longer access a pool to compare the prices they pay.
They need a new way to assess their performance and that of their agencies. This change is essential if they are to demonstrate to the rest of the company that they have effective money management in place in this new media buying landscape.
Smart brands can ensure they perform better by having the right process and protocols in place around three clear areas.
The first one is around a clear understanding of the interplay between price, quality and outcomes. No brand can afford to emphasize one of these at the expense of the other and they need to take a more holistic viewpoint.
By talking about the links between price, quality and outcomes, they can set the right guard rails and a clear baseline within that for what they are prepared to accept. Marketers have to get into the nitty gritty and constantly refine these guardrails as they learn from the experience.
Guardrails shouldn’t involve arbitrary limits on any one of the three. It’s like a bonus program for salespeople – if the sales person is crushing it why should you put a cap on it when it benefits the company?
Second, they need to pre-define the thresholds within the campaign, what’s the brand willing to accept, what are the expectations going into that campaign. Comparing delivery after the fact against those robust thresholds allows you to see if your targets are bring hit.
Finally, they need to deliver on operational excellence – this is where the rubber meets the road difference between good progress and average. Data is the primary leaver in programmatic so they need a focus on analytical capability as well as a test and learn approach that can be optimized. Proof of daily optimization is part of that process.
Of course, you can’t put all these elements in place on day one. As the saying goes you eat the elephant one bite at a time. But you can take them forward step by step, gaining greater control and greater effectiveness and productively.
Starting is the most important thing you can do. So set realistic goals and measuring the steps as you take them so that you can chart your progress with programmatic.
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