Why Agencies Need to Join Programmatic in 2019

By: Hannah Pinchbeck

November 7, 2019


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As technologies keep evolving, advertising agencies are starting to realize: in order to stay ahead, they need to weave more innovations to their digital strategies. During the past decade, the number of communication channels has multiplied, and the world has witnessed the rise of omnichannel personalized advertising.

The greatest part of advertising personalization today is done by programmatic platforms that deliver ads across channels and platforms (not only on desktop and mobile but also in audio streaming services and Internet-connected TV).

Fueled by anonymized data and AI and ML algorithms, programmatic has become unique in its ability to adapt to the customer’s life cycle, as well as in practicing the latest ad tech advancements.

Automation, ad personalization and minimum user acquisition cost are three main features that make programmatic especially popular among ad agencies. In 2019, for instance, 55% of agencies purchased 41% of mobile inventory using programmatic – 28% more than they did in 2017.

From 2016 to 2019, agencies invested in various digital formats and mediums, with the greatest emphasis on Smart TV and audio programmatic. A major part of the traditional display and video inventory is also sold through programmatic advertising systems. Only the most expensive and unique ad placements on popular websites are an exception to this trend: these are typically bought by agencies via direct, non-RTB deals.

5 reasons to make DSP a part of your media buying strategy

Demand side platform incorporates a set of automated systems and algorithms that perform decision-making and arrange ad placement on the website in real-time. When the targeted user opens a page with available advertising space, a publisher’s website notifies demand partners about the vacant impression.

Then, demand partners automatically suggest their bids for this particular impression via RTB algorithm. The highest bidder wins and the impression is displayed on the website opened by the user. Since the maximum price that every advertiser is willing to pay is predetermined, automation runs auctions in milliseconds. As a result, the ad is served as fast as the webpage is loaded.

First of all, this process is drastically different from traditional media planning. Without such systems, media agencies have to determine the channels that correspond to their audiences and negotiate and purchase advertising space manually, which is incredibly resource-consuming.

Still, the more quick, flexible and easy process of media buying is not everything that DSPs can offer to agencies:

Save ad budgets. DSP is aimed at individual display, applying narrow targeting so that agencies address only audiences that can be potentially interested in their product or service. This way, it eliminates irrelevant impressions, which means agencies can effectively save ad budget per campaign.

Cross-channel/devices/vertical communication. Since DSP connects to the global pool of supply partners worldwide, it means demand partners can get traffic across various business verticals, channels and platforms (desktop, mobile, applications, connected TV).  Thus, agencies can coordinate campaigns on various devices and provide clients with a clear idea regarding effective ad mediums.

Transparent reporting and measurability. DSP reports give agencies a chance to make their ad spend and campaign performance clear and transparent: impressions, clicks, CPM – everything can be audited in real-time. Analyzing performance, agencies can also act upon changes accordingly and timely modify campaign flow for their clients.

Campaign optimization. Smart AI and ML-based algorithms can automatically optimize ad campaigns in different ways. For instance, when the system collects data about served impressions, it learns how to target even more effectively in the future. Automated bid manager goes even further – it singles out only the most relevant bids featuring the highest likelihood of winning. Thus, CPM decreases and the overall campaign ROI grows. DSP filters in their turn and helps agencies to configure their ad campaign according to the clients’ wishes: limit the daily spend, number of impressions, bid amounts and other important details.

Reduce cost per user acquisition. Programmatic always identifies the right audience for ad delivery: those who have matching parameters to your perfect customers. Plus, it finds viewers who have a good history of clicks when it comes to similar ad units. Such audiences can be converted into customers more easily. Apart from that, if an agency has a sufficient customer database, it can use programmatic as a fairly inexpensive way to discover new audiences for its clients. For this, it will be enough to apply look-alike modeling.

How agencies enter programmatic ecosystem

In case the agency is planning to enter programmatic and use demand side platforms, it’s worth remembering that they can be managed and self-served. The self-served model implies independent campaign management. In simple words, the agency uses DSP to set up, configure and run campaigns on behalf of its clients.

This model is best suited for agencies that accumulated the necessary expertise for further planning and optimization of programmatic campaigns for clients. This way, the agency obtains:

• Clear understanding of campaign settings

• Ability to promptly react to changes

• Ability to deliver transparent, on-demand performance statistics to clients, etc.

Working with just one DSP, however, narrows the pool of inventory available for purchasing. Working with several isn’t the most optimal option: each platform has its own interface for managing campaigns, which increases an agency’s labor costs. The best practice would be choosing a solution connected to the global network of SSPs and Ad Networks, like SmartyAds DSP.

With SmartyAds DSP, agencies access the broadest reach of ads.cert/ads.txt-authorized global inventory. Programmatically or via direct deals, agencies can buy traffic from leading supply sources across channels: in-pp, desktop, mobile, audio and CTV.

The proprietary, fraud-free ecosystem delivers transparency on all campaign levels, from pricing formation to auction dynamics and traffic sources. It is possible to follow each programmatic campaign in real-time, detect possible deviations from plans in custom-generated statistics and react upon changes immediately.

Going into the interface, the agency representative will see all the statistics on the campaign. No need to memorize and match stats manually – reports can be generated the very moment clients request them.

It becomes easy for a specialist to effectively maintain a large number of programmatic campaigns and fulfill the KPIs set by each particular client. Cost optimization on SmartyAds DSP encapsulates complex functions, such as automatic yield management, controls that prevent overspending, budget limitations and tools that configure targeting according to more than 30+ options.

SmartyAds is also a full-stack programmatic company. This means that by registering at DSP, agencies receive access to all tech components of the ecosystem through a single dashboard. Data intelligence solutions will assist agencies that need in-depth marketing segmentation and audience insights. Enterprise white-label solutions, in their turn, will help to take entire programmatic platforms, like DSP in-house, to make media purchasing even more transparent and well-controlled.

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