A friend of mine once told me about a job his mother had back in the late 70s showing microwave ovens to unsuspecting housewives in a suburban department store. While it wasn’t the most glamorous of jobs, it did come with its perks— including the use of a microwave in his family home for a summer. He actually recalled his sisters putting food in the oven and turning the dials just so they could watch it cook. Sadly, the job didn’t last too long since—despite the time savings and efficiency offered by this new-fangled piece of equipment—the people of his community simply didn’t trust cooking with radiation, preferring the tried-and-true oven.
You might laugh now, but programmatic advertising is just like that microwave oven. Mistrusted for now but soon to be found in every home regardless of the (poorly- perceived risks.
Programmatic advertising allows allowing advertisers to execute campaigns using real-time metrics and content to provide more relevant experiences to targeted customers. But many businesses struggle with their programmatic journey— the period of transition from traditional marketing channels to this automated, test-driven advertising, which allows software to determine the customer segments they will target with specific content. Businesses realise that programmatic software drives personalised strategies and increases ROI, but understanding this new technology—and how to implement it—can be confusing. Software providers can assist their clients by educating them on how to implement a programmatic strategy that best fits their specific needs.
Here are five things every business should consider when beginning their programmatic journey:
1. Secure internal commitment .
It’s important to ensure that the business and its internal stakeholders are aligned in understanding programmatic and their commitment to investing in it. Be clear that this is an investment not only in technology and in software, but also in a strategy that can be aligned around your technology stack. Commitment to the overall ideas behind this technology is an essential first step in the journey. Ensure everyone in house understands that the business is investing in technology and software. It’s necessary to make sure the business and internal stakeholders are aligned to invest in programmatic, but for it to be seen as a media channel that uses software. How do you do this using proof points and customer references? Adobe Advertising Cloud has numerous examples of how other businesses have made the switch. Contacting an Adobe account manager will give you access to heaps of references showing you how other companies in your sector have managed the process.
2. Understand your current tech stack. Understand how your advertising campaigns are executed, and what pieces line up to make that happen. What technology tools enable you to carry out your marketing strategies across all channels? Assess where your creative comes from, and who decides where it goes. Figure out who your potential external partners may be, and what they will provide—for example, data or analytics. Your tech stack should be uniquely structured to meet your needs.
3. Do your homework. Look at all the software solutions available to evaluate the specific changes you need to make. Ask questions about how you’ll execute the work, including which elements you’ll handle in house, and which you’ll assign to an outside partner Clarify what each vendor does, and whether or not that fits in with your specific requirements.
4. Keep your goals and objectives transparent. Identify realistic measures of success that will evolve along with your goals. Clearly identify your approach and expectations, which metrics you’ll measure, and how that will help clients report back to your business in a way that adds value.
5. Streamline your creative. Have the right content management system in place to support a transition to programmatic advertising. When examining your current tech stack (see item 2, above), pay special attention to how content is created, managed, and distributed throughout your organisation. Streamlining your process is extremely useful as you begin to plug it in to your programmatic strategy. Remember that programmatic ad buying allows you to make near-instant decisions during your ad campaign. No longer do you have to wait until the ad buy is complete before you receive reporting. By having the right content management system in place, you can make alterations to the creative when you receive information that certain units are performing better than others. The right creative on the right device at the right time = the right campaign.
More and more businesses are taking control over their data and spend by moving to a programmatic management model, and these five steps are an invaluable preparation for that journey. Programmatic has emerged as a truly rigorous, data-driven approach to media channel and tactical investment that can increase speed to market and reduce creative production costs associated with multiple campaigns. The transition is not as challenging as you might think—and with a partner like Adobe, we can make the change piping hot—just like the microwave meal that once was the star of my mate’s kitchen.