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Programmatic marketing - top tips to get you started

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16th Jun 2015
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If you haven’t heard of programmatic marketing, it might be a fair question to politely ask if you’ve been living under a rock of late. Marketing is an industry rife with fads and hype, but programmatic has bucked the trend, quickly establishing itself as cost effective, highly efficient and able to deliver a tangible return on investment. So much so that Magna Global predicts that the programmatic display advertising will be worth US$53 billion industry by 2018.

Yet despite its success, it remains woefully misunderstood, even by marketers, who find themselves baffled by complicated diagrams of how the different players interlink. Put simply, programmatic is the automation of digital media delivery. Inventory that used to take days to organise and purchase can be actioned in a fraction of a second.

Programmatic can also help marketers cut costs. Transactions become more efficient when complex ad-operation tasks are cut out. In an ideal world, automated technologies take over data-heavy tasks and allow humans more time to what they do best – to drive the creativity in marketing campaigns. 

So what’s not to love? If you’ve yet to dip your toes in the water, here are some top tips to help get you started:

1.     Using audience data

In a programmatic environment, the more data you have the better. But the quality of data matters too - not all data is created equal and whilst volume is important, so to is quality.

Advertisers will have their own first-party data, but for real insights this needs to be supplemented with third party data.  By using a combination of different types of data, it empowers you to build actual user profiles of your target audience. Third-party data, in particular, lets marketers minimise advert spend wastage because you get to reach real people and not robots.

2.     Choosing your data provider

There are some vital questions you should ask your data provider before choosing to work with them:

  • Where do you collect your data? The quality and breadth of data used in performance campaigns is a critical success factor.  You need to ascertain from your data provider where the is data has been derived from. Is it from a publisher’s website an ecommerce site? Is it based on surveys or through a partnership? This is important, as it will enable you to determine its relevancy to your campaign and flag up any limitations.
  • How can I use your data? It is important that in the early planning stages of the campaign you think about how the data you buy will be used, and communicate that to your data provider. For example, do you want to use it for search, display, social, or mobile? Are you trying to target a particular demographic? What do you want to track? The more detail you can provide upfront, the more your data provider can work with you to ensure that the data they deliver is as precise as it can be.
  • Do you offer local market data that takes into consideration local language, culture and consumption habits? A lot of online marketing can sometimes feel a little robotic. However, if data has local significance and is delivered via a channel that it is in tune with local consumer behaviour it can go a long way towards building brand advocacy. To that extent, be sure that your data provider can testify to the integrity of their data, its regional relevance, as well as additional context for the data that proves this. Additionally, it is important to question them about local registration information.

3. How to show ROI

The easiest way to track ROI of your programmatic buys is via straightforward tracking of activity-based measures that have been employed for years, such as click-throughs and views translating to higher sales figures.

Within the ecommerce space, the return on investment can be measured by comparing the amount of money going into the campaign (cost of generating automated emails reminding users that they still have items in their shopping carts) versus the amount of shopping carts with completed transactions.

Viewability has become the top priority for buyers as brands demand for proof that consumers have seen their ads. A recent comScore study reported that Kellogg’s observed a 75% increase in sales by increasing its viewability rates by 40%.

Marketing is changing and if programmatic continues to develop at this pace, soon it will be able connect the multiple worlds in which marketing lives – social, digital and traditional. And all because it is data-driven. The possibilities of programmatic are tremendous and for many marketers the time has come to jump on board the train.

Kevin Tan is CEO of Eyeota

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