Here are the several things marketers should consider before choosing a programmatic partner:
Multi-platform approach is key
The advantage of trading across multiple demand-side platforms (DSPs) means you can take advantage of every opportunity. The strengths of each DSP can be singled out and capitalised upon to better the performance of your campaign. In the future, it is easy to see that having multiple views of inventory through multiple platforms is not only a distinct advantage but will also promote competition and value. Working with multiple DSPs and exchanges ensures brands reach as many of their customers and prospects as possible.
What is the partner‚Äôs core strength?
You want to find out if they are a generalist which gives you basic access to all media types including desktops, tablets, mobile (smartphones), online video, and/or social media. Or are they a specialist that focuses on just one of the above and you’ll need to cobble together a collection of specialist for a best-in-breed solution.
How does vendor X positions their offering amongst others in the market?
Here you want to find out if the vendor considers themselves a DSP (Demand Side Platform), an Agency Trading Desk, or some hybrid of both. There are pros and cons to both, but it’s key to understand how your vendor views themselves in the marketplace as it will influence the results and capabilities that they can bring.
Understand the technology offering
While it is not necessary to know the deep inner-workings of each technology, it is important to have a basic understanding of how it is working for your brand. Any programmatic partner worth working with should be ready and willing to answer any questions you have about the technology powering your campaigns and what is unique to their specific approach.
Which ad exchanges are partners?
As ad exchanges are the inventory source it is key to know how many and which exchanges the vendor sources their inventory from. More means you’ll have a wider selection of inventory to choose from, fewer means that there could be scale and/or performance issues if something isn’t working although if the vendor is a specialist a smaller number may not be as much of an issue.
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Do you have an integrated DMP (data management platform)?
A DMP is the database where all of your pieces of data are stored to help execute the buys. Some vendors will partner with DMP specialists to make this offering where-as others will have an integrated DMP as part of their offering. One is not necessarily better than the other but it is good to know the relationship here of this key component of executing programmatic buys.
Creative really matters
Effective creative drives engagement with consumers and in many cases a campaign is only as good as its creative. Taking the time to develop a well thought out creative strategy for your online brand identity is key. Clear calls to action are important, along with varied creative that speaks at different times of day, platform and location. It is important to have a programmatic partner that works with you in real time to create the best possible strategy, recommendations and outcomes.
Do you offer managed and/or self-serve offerings?
Many vendors offer fully managed services so as a marketer you don’t have to worry about what to do. But for those who might want to be more involved could be interested in a self-serve offering where the vendor allows you, or a colleague, to be the one in control. Going self-serve also saves some money as you are not paying the vendor to manage the campaign for you.
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Speak the same language when it comes to measurement
Programmatic buying can be an incredibly effective tool for marketers, but you need a clear line of communication with the team advising and executing your campaigns.
There are still limitations in the space that can affect the insights available.
When it comes to data and key performance indicators, such as customer lifetime value, purchase size and cost per acquisition, the more you can share with your programmatic partner, the better equipped they will be when optimizing your campaigns.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution in programmatic and transparency is key
Every brand campaign has unique objectives, whether it is awareness, engagement, action or sales. A proactive programmatic partner will craft a custom-made programmatic solution by understanding the complexity of the market alongside data.
This partner will be looking to deliver improved ROI and meet your marketing goals within the budget invested.
Unlike the black box approach used by many players in the programmatic space, it is important that your partner provides full and transparent campaign performance and learning with insights that can feed directly into a brand’s CRM strategy and future planning.
Quality over quantity
At the dawn of programmatic buying there was a perception that only remnant inventory was available with poor or non-visible placements on sites. In addition, there was fear of fraudulent data and results.
In today’s programmatic marketplace, this could not be further from the truth. RTB platforms, the IAB and third-party services have all helped shape a brand safe environment with clear red flags for fraud. This allows optimisation teams the ability to instantly shift budget if any suspicious activity appears to be occurring. A programmatic partner should provide site lists and regular reports that include impressions, spend, clicks, CPM and any other details and data agreed.
An established and quality-focused programmatic partner should be a constant and reliable resource for you. Once you’ve found a good match for your brand, you can start to reap the benefits that come with proactive programmatic media campaigns.
And finally, the money questions.
Literally ‚Äď the money questions. Are there are minimum spend requirements? Monthly, Quarterly, Annual. How does the vendor make money? Do they add a commission to the media spend? Do they have an access fee (commonly called the technology fee)? In short, just find out what is expected of you and how the vendor makes money. Also, find out about any contractual terms you’ll be required to agree to.