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I spoke at an event last week looking at the role of programmatic in VOD and its suitability for building brands in a digital environment.
There were a number of people speaking about creating more brand based measurement, data consolidation, using client site and CRM data and the rise of programmatic as a fundamental future facing model for all media buying.
While I agree that programmatic is best viewed as opportunity trading and currently somewhat disconnected from the planning and brand strategy teams, I was struck by the lack of discussion about the role of attribution technology in aligning the true value of programmatic media with an agreed end conversion point.
Releasing the value of programmatic media
Attribution will provide programmatic media with a new ally in establishing its impact on other channels.
For example, we have a number of clients using our own proprietary attribution technology for all their media planning. Within their Business Intelligence dashboard we have two perspectives of the channel activity, one as last click data and the other as attributes data.
The last click will typically boost the role of SEO and PPC to indicate that more people selected a last click from these channels before converting on a sale or other conversion page.
The attributed data, on the other hand, will typically increase the role of display by looking at the converting and non-converting paths of users who have been exposed to multiple channels.
Display, in a number of cases, will have a direct role in influencing search later down the funnel which will be indicated by ’re apportioned' clicks from last click to attributed clicks in the client reports.
We can then use this insight to re-weight the channel mix and further optimise performance.
From pull to push marketing
This attribution technology has been widely used in direct performance channels but will be even more prevalent as VOD, brand display and content move into the sphere of programmatic media.
It is always difficult to understand the role of content within earned or non paid channels alongside the more established paid channels. Many paid channels are now effectively acquisition channels and I suspect content and more push based content channels will become the new frontier of digital marketing.
Attribution will also provide a huge value for measuring cross device influence and help define the role of social and CRM data within programmatic planning.
Working closer with data partners
Given Facebook’s announcement of a number of offline data initiatives, looping in loyalty card data to substantiate their effect on high street purchases and even testing offline creatives within their digital platform to create more compelling traditional advertising, I suspect attribution will become a key part of their offering.
Nielsen and tech vendors are also tackling this area which will culminate in a true cost per view, engagement or sale by specific audience type.
Consumers will always win
I suspect the end result will be that creative, content, social endorsement, personalised content and device agnostic delivery will dominate the market.
Users will increasingly pull content, which will re-orientate programmatic technology away from consolidating paid channels to un-converting the effect of the 'other half' of media spend.
Client based trading desks
Nowhere will this be more clearly demonstrated than within the client based trading desks that are starting to appear. This phenomenon has been spearheaded by the large FMCG and high reach advertisers that feel there is more value to managing the agency trading desk facilities within their own marketing team.
Effectively this relationship is a quasi partnership where agency and/or a tech provider support the platform and data consolidation that sits behind the programmatic desks.
The value of this approach is clear where high reach metrics are easy to achieve without constant redesigning by the agency.
However, as content and unpaid channels start to move within programmatic, agencies and their creative teams will be required and the model will flip flop back and forth.
I hope this series has been useful. I appreciate all the comments and emails. Programmatic media is still in its infancy in terms of real application across all paid, owned and earned media channels.
It is a very effective way of valuing inventory against campaign objectives rather than publisher rate cards. As publishers mobilise consumer data into inventory management solutions and clients integrate CRM into marketing channels, there will be increasing parity in the pricing of paid programmatic media.
The real value of programmatic will be when it is underpinned by attribution technology and can deliver across richer and more interactive media formats.
Once this has been reached the industry will effectively have a new marketing platform that integrates both push and pull channels alongside an algorithmic attribution technology that will optimise against the new audience interaction KPIs that are being established; I suspect these will be dominated by the consumer centric measures championed by our friends in the econometric department.