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Julian Mossanen Regional VP, Buyer Cloud Rubicon Project

How can brands take their first step in programmatic?

Programmatic -- drawn from the pillars of marketing, technology and data -- is the use of real-time, software-based systems, rules and algorithms to automate and optimize the purchase and delivery of data-driven, targeted and relevant ads to consumers.  So to simplify:  it’s a new way to buy ads using automation and big data at scale.  With programmatic advertising rapidly becoming the de facto standard to purchase across all digital media channels, marketers are seeing the benefits of improved performance, better data and insights about target markets, better cross-device targeting, cost efficiencies and effective measurement.  As the world becomes more digital, ad exchange-based and programmatic advertising will continue to evolve, and brands must ensure they have effective data strategies in place to reap the rewards.

All too often brands still focus on clicks and impressions, when more substantive metrics, like engagement, brand lift and sales, should be the key performance indicators.

Julian Mossanen, Regional VP Buyer Cloud, Rubicon Project

The four objectives for ‘programmatic branding’:

1.     Build brand awareness.  How? Use the upper funnel content and formats to raise awareness of your brand.  Show videos to consumers that you know have an interest in your category.

2.     Change brand perception.  How? Use retargeting based on brand affinity signals to change perception.

3.     Build brand affinity.  How? Use CRM retargeting to strengthen the brand relationship between the consumer and the brand.

4.     Build brand engagement.  How?  Use lookalike targeting to find consumers who are going to engage similarly to your best consumers.

Measuring Success

How can programmatic, still considered a direct response medium by many, perform as a branding tool?  It can change a customer’s perception of a brand or increase its affinity with its consumer’s relationship by pairing it with another complementary brand, and offer companion-ad opportunities.  While programmatic is seen as a perfect partner for direct response, the trick for brands is to have carefully defined goals.  All too often brands still focus on clicks and impressions, when more substantive metrics, like engagement, brand lift and sales, should be the key performance indicators. The value of the branding side is optimized when these exact outcomes are well defined and creatively executed. 

How to Leverage Data

The more actionable data a brand has, the more precisely targeted and successful a brand’s campaign will be.  Whether utilizing first party or third party solutions from vendors who collect data on users, brands should choose an agency or work directly with a vendor who offers data management platforms (DMPs) that skillfully gather insights to run an effective programmatic campaign. Using these services will help brands gather the data they need to determine the three essential factors for effective marketing: what users want, how they’re behaving and the best way to reach them. These critical factors are found through analyzing user data and applying it to your programmatic campaign.

Methodologies to Use and Engage

Lastly, use a technology platform that allows brands to “bid” on premium inventory across channels (i.e. video, Facebook, web, mobile) and serve ads to users via Real-Time Bidding (RTB) on ad exchanges to help brands achieve the scale they need, in brand-safe environments.

The Next Steps: Overcome Challenges, Reap Rewards

While programmatic is an exciting new technology, it presents challenges, including the control and aggregation of data. Brands should follow the consumer who is flexible with the devices they use, and be flexible too. Use a multi-platform approach to reach the widest audience possible and ensure the creative speaks to users individually to connect the brand with consumers.

Programmatic marketing can no longer be ignored.  By making the process more efficient, it has proven itself as an effective tool offering brands safety, increased ROI, and key insights into the behaviour of the digital consumer. It empowers brands to tailor messages and is the best mechanism to drive global scale. Brands must embrace it, implement it and become comfortable with it; if a brand is looking for a good place to start, it never hurts to hire people with the right technical skills. And that’s just the start of what a brand can do to begin to utilize the power of programmatic.