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Getting the most out of programmatic advertising

As programmatic advertising fast becomes a core feature in the digital marketing landscape, Jane Ormsby, founder and MD of Scroll Media, discusses its impact.


What are the key benefits of using programmatic advertising and what are the pitfalls?

Programmatic advertising is ultimately the most effective and quickest way to reach an audience online because of the efficiencies of scale and ability to change out creative quickly. Programmatic puts the control in the hands of the media agency or buyer who can overlay brand safety metrics and data. Having said that, programmatic can be a scatter gun approach blasting cheap inventory at mass audiences who don’t necessarily want your product. Contextually suited publisher environments where users are in the relevant mindset will give better results. High impact or high viewability formats are often not available via programmatic so its key to work with publishers directly too for the most impactful results.

As cookies are phased out, what impact will this have on digital media buying?

Digital buyers won’t be able to rely on cookies as much in the future and this is an issue the whole industry is grappling with globally. I think a more hybrid approach will emerge with publishers using unified ids and hashed data to help marketers reach targeted audiences. We will see a return to premium publishers with category specific audiences being in high demand. It sounds cliché however the basic advertising principals that have existed for decades will continue to reign and the digital teams will adapt and stay a step ahead as they always have.

As MD of Scroll Media how much of your revenue is programmatic and what do you suggest brands do to ensure they get the most out of their media buys?

Surprisingly only a third or our revenue comes via programmatic currently, but we predict this will grow to 50 percent over the next few years. Programmatic will continue to grow, and we are investing in our programmatic offering to keep up with demand across the 30 or so publishers that we represent. With first party data partners like ADARA Travel data becoming smarter, we see great results for clients in programmatic. Brands need to take a holistic approach using both programmatic and direct buys to get cut through in a cluttered market. 

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Jane Ormsby.

A campaigns success can be measured in many ways. What are some key metrics marketers should evaluate success by?

Everyone is talking about attention being the metric of importance now, and I concur. Its about getting the right audiences seeing your advertising so they are aware of your offering. Vanity metrics like CTR are of less importance for brand advertisers who mainly want attention. There are some visually exciting formats now that give high attention rates on mobile and desktop and our Scroll publisher partners have great examples of these such as mini-games on Gameloft or Branded Content Hubs on Healthline.com. For performance campaigns, clicks and conversions are key and attribution models have improved to track conversions better. It’s about being clear at the start of a campaign on what you are trying to achieve and communicating that. 

Programmatic Guaranteed, Private Marketplace (PMP) or Open Market – what’s the right way to buy? Are there pros and cons for each?

Open Market will give you the cheapest rate per impression, but invariably the ads will be low performing because they are untargeted and often below the fold on random sites.  Attention rates on open market are low. Private Marketplace or Reserved fix price deals (UFR) are excellent in achieving brand safety and priority over others and is an effective method to test and learn. Programmatic Guaranteed where a buyer confirms the media with the publisher is the sweet spot for both the buyer and the seller, and I believe Programmatic Guaranteed will grow as budgets move from TV to digital. 

What challenges might some marketers face when using programmatic marketing? What advice might you give to someone just starting out?

The biggest challenge this industry is facing is a shortage of people with excellent programmatic capability. New Zealand is a small market, and skilled programmatic people are few and far between, so this limits all of us. For brands I suggest using media agencies with well-resourced teams of programmatic buyers and strategic thinkers who care about your business. Scale is the issue in New Zealand, as we have such small audiences here. Test and learn and don’t be afraid to try new things. 

To learn more about the Scroll Media network or just to have a chat about digital advertising contact [email protected]

About Author

Ayla Miller is a Feature Writer/Sub-editor for SCG Media Business titles, NZ Marketing, StopPress, Idealog and The Register.