Programmatic is one of those “new” ad technologies that scares the bejesus out of many people into not participating in it. Truth is that many of the basics of programmatic video buying and selling follow the old rules of buying and selling media. It’s just that some tactics that are different. The traditional media buyer is “replaced” by a Demand Side Platform (DSP) and the traditional media seller is “replaced” by a Supply Side Platform (SPP). While programmatic is executed by machines of DSPs talking to machines of SPPs, don’t worry, as the rules and analysis are done by humans. Hence, my Top 3 Recommendations look like they could have come from newspaper media buying in the 1920s, radio in the 1930s, or TV in the 1960s.
Make a solid media plan
In traditional media buying, you always start with a media plan that is looking for the right balance of where to invest your client’s money, looking for optimal reach at a fair price. And for the seller, you are determining if you are willing to except more volume at a less expensive price, or if you are holding your price.
The buyers’ choices of where to invest are predicated on how many meetings you schedule, sit through, and follow up on. There has always been a limited supply of quality video destinations, not necessarily because they do not exist, but because the process of collaborating with them was time consuming. The joy of programmatic for the buyer is that now your consideration set can be wider.
While you still need to make sure what you are buying is of quality, the investigation process is simpler. You can now see what choices are available in your DSP, check out their media kit online, sample programming on their app, and electronically send out a proposal. All in the time it would have taken you just to schedule the initial meeting.
Now, this may scare the seller because his buyer has more options, but the seller can now be exposed to many more buyers. And this does not mean it is a race to the floor bottom like what happened to Internet banner advertising years ago. While programmatic does open up more options for buyers and sellers, quality video is still an extremely hard business, and there will always be supply and demand in quality video that will not allow for a race to the bottom.
Utilise smart technology
If you are a buyer looking for a DSP, or a seller looking for a SSP, there are many choices. However, quality choices for programmatic video are limited. Many claim that they are the biggest ‘this’ in mobile, or the biggest ‘that’ in banners, but that doesn’t mean they have a robust video platform. Proper video technology needs tools that can: set pricing thresholds, control frequency capping, minimise double-spotting, and apply category separation, to name a few. DSPs from The Trade Desk and Octillion Media have the tools that understand how video ads are bought cross-platform on a national and local basis. And SSPs such as Freewheel’s AudienceXpress and the Beachfront Marketplace have a solid grasp for the sellers.
Act on timely reporting
For traditional media, there has always been the concept of the affidavit, or a proof-of-performance. That requires a report that confirms that I got what I planned for and bought. The problem is that reporting could be based on a sample of the audience, and/or take a day or so for you to get your hands on it. With programmatic, because the machines are talking to each other in near real-time, you can see your reporting quickly and act on it right away.
This benefits the buyer because, for instance, if you see a certain channel is under-delivering on target impressions halfway through the flight, you can adjust and allocate more impressions somewhere else while still in flight. For the seller in this situation, you will not have liability to worry about from the “makegood” you would have to give the buyer in this instance.
Make a plan, utilise good technology to execute, and act on timely reporting. These have been the hallmarks of good media buying and planning for a long time, and they are still the Top 3 even in a programmatic world. But, like most things, boiling them down to three points can be over simplistic. There are certainly other issues in programmatic, like whether the cost of a DSP or SSP is worth it for your organisation at this time. And if covering those costs come at the expense of personnel such as salespeople. But to sit programmatic out because of fear – that is not recommended.
Think if you were a stockbroker who did not learn what a Bloomberg platform could do, or a travel agent who ignored what power Expedia has. Electronic trading has come to video advertising, so don’t miss the opportunity to learn now.