The advertising landscape continues to become increasingly competitive (and complex). Through the use of an automated bidding system, programmatic advertising makes the ad buying process far more efficient and cheaper and is going through some rapid changes. These evolutions have ensured that programmatic is quickly becoming the primary way of advertising. Since it automates most of the time-consuming, error-prone buying and selling tasks, it helps in quicker and more precise ads. Although brands have long outsourced programmatic advertising to capable agencies today, many turn to take programmatic in-house. Of course, agencies look differently at programmatic than brands do.
The inhouse trend
As audiences fragment across the digital media plane and as brands seek more control over the data they work with, in-housing programmatic is witnessing a tremendous adoption rate – with the hope to churn out more value from advertising spend. Today, 69% of brands have either partially or entirely moved programmatic inhouse. Here are some key reasons why the inhouse programmatic trend is growing:
- Improved utilization of internal resources
- Enhanced audience targeting and better site placement.
- Increased campaign effectiveness, improved ad performance, and enhanced ROI
- Increased accountability with a clear focus on long-term goals
- Better control and management of ad data
- Enhanced real-time optimization capability
- Better cost efficiency and increased transparency across processes
- Increasing focus on data privacy regulations and data ownership concerns
This is the way
Inhouse programmatic advertising can help organizations become far nimble to changes in the business landscape. Here are some tips brands taking programmatic in-house must factor into their strategy:
- Develop a strong business case: Programmatic advertising, although extremely beneficial, requires massive investments in technology and talent. Achieving success with inhouse programmatic requires organizations to build a robust feasibility plan to justify the in-housing time and resource requirements and receive the necessary support from the management. Therefore, developing a strong business case is one of the first steps to bring the plan to action.
- Conduct a cost-benefit analysis: Although it is tempting to move programmatic advertising in-house, the project is hugely time and cost-intensive. A cost-benefit study is a great way to determine how in-housing would impact ongoing costs and short- and long-term revenues. A comparison of inhouse programmatic versus using an external party can produce a sea of rich insights that would make the inhouse decision easier.
- Be cognizant of the challenges: In-house programmatic advertising can result in several benefits, but the journey is not comfortable. Selecting the right technology, building the right team, coordinating with media agencies, and choosing the right platform all come with their limitations and can potentially derail the entire project. Remember the dynamism in the environment. Strategies are liable to change regularly, and this increases the complexity. For instance, consider how much more complex the process would become when it becomes inevitably necessary to combine your programmatic strategy with modes like retargeting to improve outcomes? Are you ready to address such complexity? Such cognizance will help get an accurate idea of what the process entails while allowing organizations to have the right processes to gain quicker results in ad performance.
- Hire the right talent: Successfully developing programmatic ads in-house requires organizations to have a qualified team. Depending on the depth and breadth of internal capabilities, organizations should plan to hire programmatic media specialists who can help develop (and execute) an overall strategy. Once the right people have been hired, building the right team, and continuously optimizing them is critical to ensure the intended results and ROI.
- Assess the operational impact: In addition to recruiting the right talent, organizations should also take time to assess the operational implications of programmatic on existing functions. Having a plan in place to synthesize and integrate new processes with current ad transaction systems and procedures is essential to enabling resources to become familiar with programmatic operations and ensure effective management and execution of existing and upcoming digital campaigns.
- Evaluate different platforms: Choosing the right platform for programmatic advertising means organizations have to take out time in evaluating different platforms (and partners), comparing their capabilities, and choosing one that best fits their specific business needs. Investing time and effort in the evaluation process can help choose a platform with the technical ability that best matches the organization’s long-term advertising strategies.
- Consolidate and integrate: The success of inhouse programmatic advertising depends considerably on the level of data centricity within the organization. Since marketing teams need real-time access to relevant and updated data, constant efforts in consolidating and integrating concerned systems and processes are essential to bring people, platforms, partners, and processes together and allow the resulting data to be used as actionable insight – whenever and wherever required.
- Plan for scalability: One of the last steps in ensuring in-house programmatic success is to have a robust plan for enabling (and ensuring) scalability. Although in-house programmatic might take a while to achieve full operational readiness, planning for scalability will help layout critical timelines and milestones while keeping the operation on track.
As brands set to become increasingly digital, the move to in-house programmatic is probably an intelligent business move. However, given the challenges that can come in the way of successful in-house programmatic advertising, brands need to develop a strong business case, conduct a cost-benefit analysis, be aware of challenges, hire the right talent, evaluate different platforms, consolidate and integrate data and plan for scalability.