Inventory aggregators such as exchanges and Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) are tied to networks, Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and Agency Trading Desks (ATDs). They all leverage 3rd party data providers and dynamic creative solutions which are tracked by ad verification systems and third party ad servers to aggregate information for Data Management Providers (DMPs) and analytics engines. Simple right?
The speed of innovation has clearly outpaced the ability of most to decipher the connectivity and value of new solutions providers and as such, many marketers who once felt they had a grasp of market dynamics are left scratching their heads wondering where to begin. Given the disruptive state of the market, it begs the question, who is ultimately responsible for interpreting a cohesive and logical plan to meet campaign objectives?
Depending on how the question is answered could likely dictate the method by which a client purchases media for years to come. There certainly are options. Agencies are trying to build a knowledge center around programmatic buying, either within the AOR themselves or through a second layer of the agency trading desk. Independent media planning/buying shops will offer support. And other clients are deciding to take advantage of the self-service functionality programmatic buying affords and are working directly with the technology provider themselves.
Here are a few important questions that marketers should be able to answer: Are you testing technology, data, tactics, or a combination of all and how do you measure success? Does an individual platform have the ability to deliver against a client’s objectives, or do you need to layer in multiple technologies to produce incremental benefits above your current baseline metrics? If you are layering technologies, are they designed to work together seamlessly or are there duplicative features from each platform that reduce effectiveness when combined? Does the technology you are testing provide a unique service, or is it a specialized product that others provide for no cost, and if so, is the incremental benefit of the new technology worth the cost? Does the technology offer a self-service option and are you able to achieve the same results as if the program were run as a managed service?
For all the advancements in new technology, they can (and have) produced as much confusion and consternation amongst their intended target customers as the solutions they intended to provide. Some technologies have shown promise and will continue to iterate, while others have been exposed as clever marketing on top of generally ineffective results.
We live in a dynamic and complex industry so it’s imperative to stay educated. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the industry, the functionality of service providers and your ad campaigns, the better decisions you can make for your brand.