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WFA outlines 4 steps for brands to leverage programmatic

The programmatic landscape answers pertinent questions for brands when it comes to concerns around ensuring relevant messaging to the right person, at the right time, with the right context and the correct cost. However, it raises many questions as well as marketers still get used to the dynamics of the programmatic sphere. The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has published new guidance detailing how brands can get the most from the new programmatic landscape.

The guidance highlights key steps that brands can take to improve the return they get from investment in digital advertising via programmatic platforms. These range from basic steps such as asking the right questions through to the more complex process of negotiating individual contract terms right through the technology stack they chose to use.

The WFA argues that even small changes to an existing system can deliver significant improvements in terms of data ownership and marketing performance.

Brands can ensure their exposure to programmatic is both efficient and effective by taking four clear steps:
#First, they need to ask their Trading Desk partner (Agency or Independent) the right questions to clarify their position in the market and help establish a programme of next steps.
#Second, they need to gain ownership of media investment data and its by products such as audience data and key insights about Return on Investment.
The survey found this was a major issue with large advertisers with half of the respondents unhappy with the way data is captured, stored and utilized although ownership of data generated programmatically has been secured by nearly 60% of respondents, a major improvement on the 33% figure from 2013.
#Third, they need to take greater contractual control of the technology stack they chose to use, and should consider direct contracts at every step of the chain in order to limit arbitrage and wasted commissions. The survey found that 36 per cent of respondents are now using a Data Management Platform compared to 20 per cent in 2013, for example.
# Fourth, they need to approach programmatic media with a financial investor philosophy; creating a media investment strategy based on understanding of the media asset and the psychology of the other investors.

The guidance has been accompanied by a survey of some of the world’s largest advertisers highlighting the steps they have taken to maximise value from the new trading technology this year. Based on responses from 43 of the world’s biggest spending marketers, responsible for annual spend of USD 35 billion, the survey found that approximately 10 per cent of total digital media investment is now going through programmatic channels, with 44 per cent of that targeted at online display. This is double the scale of investment via programmatic platforms recorded by the WFA’s 2013 member survey.

The survey found WFA members also expect programmatic’s share of their digital budget to continue to grow significantly in the next 12 months with 83 per cent expecting video to grow and 77 per cent predicting rises in mobile activity.

Much of the exposure to programmatic has been via open exchanges and real time bidding, where 69 per cent of respondents have been active, however 42 per cent have also used private exchanges with fixed prices and 31 per cent have participated in invite only auctions on private exchanges.

Other findings in the survey included:
• A significant number of respondents are now using verification tools to ensure that programmatic media investment is both viewable and placed in appropriate content. Sixty-three percent use ad viewability tools and 50% are seeking to verify that placement is in a brand friendly context
• Use of Agency Trading Desks (ATDs) had declined by 15% year on year, while usage of Independent Trading Desks (ITDs) has risen had more than tripled (up from 8% to 30%).
• ATDs remain the dominant players however with 69% of respondents using them (down from 81%) and 29% now dealing direct with an independent trading desk or DSP (up from 8%). Just 2% of respondents have tried or tested an in-house solution, the same figure as in 2013.
• Respondents who were completely satisfied with their ITD fell to 4 per cent down from 20 per cent last year. No respondents were completely satisfied with their ATD in either 2013 or 2014.

“Advertisers are taking concrete actions to manage the switch to programmatic and understand this new form of trading. This guidance is designed to continue that process and ensure that WFA members learn from best practice and are able to develop the transparent solutions that digital media buying requires,” said Stephan Loerke, Managing Director of the WFA.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.