Programmatic: A Brand Marketer’s Guide

By - CTL
May 13, 2016
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Soon, all brands will be confident in their ability to use programmatic buying to engage and move audiences when it matters most.
This guide shows readers how.

Brand Love. Delivered.

We live in a remarkable time for digital marketing. Today, brands can generate interest in their products, win new customers and earn outright fandom by engaging and moving audiences when it matters most. Aspirationally, brands want to be responsive to their audience in real-time, with highly relevant messaging and great creativity. Today, brands can reach this aspiration through programmatic buying, which helps them make the most of the plethora of options available in connecting with their audience.

“We’ve never been closer to the ultimate promise of brand advertising in the digital age.”

Programmatic buying allows brands to use audience insights and technology to tailor messages to the right person, at the right moment, in the right context. It helps brands respond to real-time signals on an impression-by-impression basis across screens and across channels. For example, if a mom’s online shopping gets interrupted with errands, programmatic buying can help the retailer she was visiting reach the mom on her smartphone as she shifts to shopping on-the-go. That’s just one of an unlimited number of scenarios brands can use to engage audiences with programmatic buying.

Programmatic buying may have achieved its early success with direct response campaigns, but enormous progress has been made towards advancing programmatic technology to meet the needs of brand campaigns. It’s taken advancements in areas such as brand measurement, inventory quality, and creative flexibility to pave the way for programmatic brand campaigns. Where we are today, the challenges in these areas are mere speed bumps on the path to the widespread adoption of programmatic buying by brands.

In all my years with DoubleClick and Google, we’ve never been closer to the ultimate promise of brand advertising in the digital age: to efficiently and effectively run highly relevant, creative, responsive and measurable brand campaigns, at scale.

To provide context and ideas for how brand marketers and their agencies can successfully embrace programmatic buying, I’m pleased to share our five-step guide: “Programmatic: A Brand Marketer’s Guide.” It covers the essentials that you need to know in order to:

Organize audience insights

Consumers reward brands that are relevant to them when it matters most with their purchases, loyalty and brand advocacy. Audience insights are at the crux of resonating with consumers because they hold the information brands need to be relevant. Brands who organize their audience insights and own their customer data will more readily appeal to their audience and improve the impact of their advertising.
Comprehensive data is best 
Data is powerful, but it often comes in silos. Each digital channel and kind of device may have its own set of data. The most powerful audience insights bring all the silos together to represent consumer interactions across channels and screens.
Real-time data is imperative 
When audience insights flow into a system in real-time, insights immediately translate into actionable decisions. In just an instant, an in-market buyer can make a purchase and cease to be in-market. In another instant, a cold prospect can become a paying customer. Keeping abreast of these kinds of changes lets brands optimize their relevance to the current moment.

When an ad is delivered in real-time to an individual, they are twice as likely to interact with it. 
-

“Media Economy Report,” Magna Global, 2014.

Relevance comes easy when audiences are precisely defined With a strong data foundation in place, brands can precisely define the audience they want to reach, making it easier for them to be relevant.

Design compelling creative

Bringing a brand to life in digital means bridging the power of technology with the impact of creative. At the heart of brand advertising is a great story told with compelling creative. Audience insights fuel creative development, and technology ensures it works across screens. By harnessing the power of technology to develop relevant, engaging experiences, brands elevate their appeal and, ultimately, get rewarded with brand love.

Audience insights make ads personal and real-time 
Brands can use audience insights to inform ads in the moment they are served, bringing a relevant creative experience to every viewer. Insights on audiences, including the content they enjoy, the channels they spend time with and the devices they use, can help creative teams build ads that resonate.
Cross-channel, cross-device ads put audiences first 
Audiences divide their time across channels and devices, so it’s important that brands’ creative executions aren’t confined to channels or screens in silos. Signals about the device and environment (web or app) on which an ad will show can inform the creative so it’s relevant to the user. The best cross-channel, cross-device creative executions meet audiences wherever they are, in a format that is most engaging for that context.

Scale engagement across your campaigns 
Creative agencies spend a lot of time designing and hand-coding custom creative executions, such as homepage takeovers, for digital campaigns. Brands can bring that same high-quality creative to all of the ad placements in their display campaign. Creative agencies have powerful tools at their disposal today to accomplish this at scale.

Execute with integrated technology

When programmatic buying is done on an integrated technology platform, it can deliver brand messaging even more efficiently and effectively to audiences across channels and devices. Integrated technology considerably enhances the value of audience insights and creative ads by helping brands evaluate, purchase, activate and measure media on a global scale, in real time.

75% of marketers and agencies believe that an integrated platform can meet all their marketing needs.

“Unraveling the Digital Display Industry: Understanding the Tools and Benefits of Digital Marketing,”
Illuminas and DoubleClick, December 2013

Reach audiences across screens

Programmatic buying helps brands engage audiences, wherever they may be at any given moment. The most fitting impression for a brand campaign could be on any screen, such as a smartphone, tablet, or desktop screen, or in any channel, such as display, mobile web, in-app or video. With the reach programmatic has across screens, channels and formats, it can make a real-time decision to show a mobile video ad to one person, while showing a display ad on a tablet device to another — based on what will drive the greatest impact.

Not only does programmatic enable reach across devices and channels, but the emergence of premium inventory available through programmatic buying ensures brands connect with their audiences in brand-safe environments. And as newer inventory – like linear TV – becomes available programmatically, brands will enhance their campaigns with this high-impact form of premium inventory. In the not-so-distant future, brands will use programmatic buying to evaluate inventory such as this on a level playing field with all other media channels, and have even greater flexibility to reach the right person, at the right moment, in the right context.

Measure the impact

With the abundance of audience and campaign insights that programmatic buying affords, brands can get better answers to their questions and make better decisions than ever before. In the area of brand measurement, brands can finally understand if their ads were seen and if they reached the right audience. They can learn what audiences thought about their ads and if they changed perception. Also, they can review what audiences did as a result of seeing their ads. In the area of attribution, it’s now possible to analyze the purchase path and understand which of the many audience touchpoints influences action the most. In addition, brands now have access to measurement and attribution solutions that are user-first, open and actionable.

User-first 
Measurement solutions have to be rooted in audiences insights.

Open 
The industry must collaborate on accessible, universal and meaningful metrics.

Actionable 
Solutions must include real-time metrics that let brands optimize campaigns immediately, not in weeks or months.
84% of marketing and advertising professionals say better measurement would increase digital spending by 25% or more.
– “Brand Measurement,” Sterling Research commissioned by Google, November 2013

Here’s to a future where all brands are confident in their
ability to engage and move audiences in all the moments that matter.

Sean Downey
Managing Director, Americas Platform Solutions & Innovation, DoubleClick

 

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