Programmatic advertising – and getting better targeting at lower costs – is a great idea. That’s the theory, anyway. The reality? Well, things get a little … sticky.
Things Have Gone South
Marketers go into programmatic campaigns with many expectations that are disabused pretty quickly.
“It’s the cost that catches people by surprise,” Christopher Whalen, VP of integrated marketing at Kimberly-Clark, told AdAge. He said that marketers expect costs to be a tenth of what they turn out to be.
If the costs catch the first wave of surprise, other things continue them. Inaccurate results, poor placement, ad fraud, proximity to unsafe content, and a lack of transparency have dogged projects. Some top brands even wonder if the tech is worth the bother.
Bad Measurements and Unreasonable Expectations
That’s the tip of the pushback iceberg. Programmatic agency Infectious Media surveyed more than 200 marketers and found that about 73% said agencies don’t correctly measure programmatic buying and that more than half have problems reducing ad fraud. In fact, P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard has estimated 20–30% waste in lack of ad viewability and transparency.
The brands themselves don’t make things any easier. They want to keep a tight fist on the dollar but still reach big audience numbers. Talk to agencies and, when candid, they’ll practically laugh and tell you the combination means you can’t afford all premium sites. It’s like the old maxim that you can have two out of three from cheap, fast, and good. The agencies have to go with some top end and plenty of cheaper and riskier sites to hit the numbers.
So, What’s the Solution?
Some advertisers are taking control back, either with a pure do-it-yourself or hybrid approach. But, unsurprisingly, the problems don’t disappear. Programmatic advertising depends on data, and knowing who is looking is one of the tougher aspects of digital marketing.
People use tablets, smartphone, and home and work computers. And they may share devices or computers. Behavior changes with context, too: You don’t do the same things online at work as you do sitting in the bleachers at your kid’s soccer game.
There’s no silver bullet, of course, but using identity graphs that are not fooled by different devices or behaviors is an important step. Identity graphs power People-based Marketing. When you identify individuals, you can start to know the difference between bots and people. This helps you to reduce fraud and know when multiple impressions are really from the same person for more accurate metrics. Whether the advertiser directly uses identity graphs or through an agency or a platform, there’s no other way to know who’s watching you and to get a handle on your marketing campaign.