The digital advertising universe can feel overwhelming. People’s consumption habits have evolved at lightning speed, which has left brands to manage an incredibly complex web of interactions across a near-infinite number of channels.
To make life even harder, most companies are trying to do this with technologies and processes that were never designed for the task.
For years, marketers have turned to third-party solutions and specialists to help them grapple with the complexity of ad tech. This approach works in the short term but we have reached a point where many businesses are relying on a chaotic mess of third-party attribution models, supply sources, and data solutions.
What’s more, they have to trust that all these external parties are working in their best interests.
To gain greater transparency into their processes and data, brands also need more control and ownership of their data, systems and measurement. This reliance on third parties may give them some semblance of control, but if we’re honest with ourselves the real power in digital advertising still lies outside their walls.
A reliance on point solutions makes transparency into what your partners are doing nearly impossible, so how can a company see where its advertising spend is really going? How can it know that its investment is contributing to any real uplift in engagement or sales?
Speaking at Adobe Summit 2018 in London, Duracell’s Head of Digital, Jon Ones, raised another valid point – a fully outsourced digital advertising ecosystem also makes it difficult to avoid overlaps in reach or wasted KPIs because external parties tend to define their own success criteria.
This way of working is clearly flawed. Transparency is critical for brands that want to ensure their digital advertising systems and spend are delivering results and contributing to a better overall experience for their customers. In addition to a gaining more transparency into how much they are spending across the board – from ad serving to inventory to verification – marketers also need a better way to tackle fraud, which is rampant and threatens to eat up their already tight budgets.
Turning back to Duracell, the company invested in Adobe Ad Cloud to move away from a fully outsourced programmatic advertising model towards a hybrid approach. Recognising that it needed to gain more control over its data and build a more transparent digital supply chain, the company brought its demand-side platform (DSP) and measurement in house.
Today, its partners and agencies all work towards the same relevant KPIs and are accountable for success in a consistent way, all based on Duracell’s ambitions rather than their own.
The other point on transparency is around data and the growing importance it plays in shaping the customer experience. Brands understandably rely on third-party platforms like Google and Facebook to target their audience, but while this approach helps with reach it once again takes control out of their hands. The data companies hand over to these ecosystems is no longer theirs to control any way or anywhere they want.
After all, large advertising platforms thrive by keeping their data opaque to the outside world, which they can afford to do given they control such large volumes of information.
Here too, things are changing. Advertisers understand that customer-centricity and engagement are the keys to driving sales and loyalty, and that superficial metrics will not communicate the real value of their investment. That is why they are moving away from the idea that an impression means everything and rethinking their KPIs, instead moving to metrics that matter and will move the needle for their business.
They also understand that this requires them to develop accurate, in-depth customer profiles of their own rather than relying on the walled gardens of data held by external partners.
This ability to develop and act on a single, unified view of each customers has become the ultimate differentiator. That’s why brands are now investing in a single complete technology system that can provide this unified view, allow them to manage the customer experience across platforms, and ultimately enhance their digital advertising.
Today’s Ad Cloud systems are omnichannel, helping brands to manage data from all the touchpoints and platforms their customers use. at scale. Crucially, they also offer simple integrations with a company’s audience management and analytics systems, which means marketers can combine all these elements together to uncover the insights they need quickly.
There is a power shift happening in digital advertising, as brands look to regain control over their data and their customer relationships. There is still great value in third-party data and platforms to reach the right people, but marketers must take a stand and define what success looks like if they want to ensure their investment is paying dividends and resonating with their audience.
At Adobe, we are committed to helping shape a new digital advertising ecosystem, which is why transparency lies at the heart of all our advertising solutions. Click here to learn more about how Adobe Ad Cloud helps brands achieve this.
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