Your money, your decisions, your experience. Who knows your audience better than you? Still, when it comes to programmatic advertising, many marketers lack confidence and let the ‘experts’ handle it for them.
NB This is a viewpoint by Glenn Dale, head of product at Admedo.
Deliberate jargon and complex processes have plagued programmatic advertising for years, so it’s natural to feel intimidated. People can’t even agree on one definition of what programmatic is.
I’ll let you in on a secret to dispel any confusion: very simply, programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of online media through technology, where campaigns are managed and optimised using a demand side platform (DSP).
Taking control of this technology and managing your data efficiently will lay the groundwork for a successful programmatic strategy, and both are more attainable than you may think.
When building online advertising campaigns, the data you own and acquire is the fuel that powers your DSP, bringing the whole thing to life. This information tells you who your audience is, how they behave online, and how likely they are to engage with your brand and products.
But it can be difficult to manage and interpret data, and bad data habits have negative ramifications for campaign success.
The more you understand your audience data, the more you actually understand your consumers. Thankfully, machine learning is there to help you build an accurate picture of who your prospects are and how to effectively target them.
Machine learning is a two-way relationship, and your DSP relies on the condition of the data that you feed it. It works to find behavioural patterns in the vast quantities of information you give it, and your role is to tell it which patterns to look for, based on the minute factors that separate customer actions.
To give it this detailed instruction, data categorisation is key. Without categorisation, machines don’t know what to do with the data you give them, and your entire model can become centred around the wrong information.
In a typical sales funnel, there are several identifiable stages to which programmatic can be leveraged, data can be obtained and a value should be allocated.
A good example of this would be running a campaign driving bookings from a landing page. Categorising this as the exclusive aim – the ultimate sale – gives the machine a clear idea of what conversion ‘success’ means, without skewing campaigns with disparate objectives.
In monetary terms, customers arriving on the landing page via your ad could be given a Grade 1 value (awareness). If they spend more than, say, 30 seconds engaging with the content on that page they become a Grade 2 (engagement). When they finally book, they reach Grade 3 (purchase).
Each step illustrates a form of achievement, but a machine that has been taught correctly knows that Grade 3 is the true aim. Those who are most likely to reach this conclusive grade are indicative of a higher value return, and so the machine will learn to target this type of individual.
Deprived of detail, the meaning of success is easily misinterpreted, generating inaccurate acquisition rates. What’s more, as the machine learns, it will drill further and further down into a false intent, accelerating the sequence of failure.
But if you take the time to properly categorise your data, you’ll be well on your way to creating powerful and intelligent online advertising systems with escalating performance.
Control means being more closely involved in your programmatic strategy and calling the shots on your programmatic partnerships.
The pillars of programmatic control are: data (as mentioned), transparency, flexibility and knowledge.
What do these factors mean in practice?
- Data – It’s the business world’s crown jewels, however, you need to understand it to be a part of the data science revolution, otherwise you will be outmatched by your competitors. Keeping your data close to home empowers you to understand what you’ve got and how to use it profitably.
- Transparency – If you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, you lose all authority over where your budget is spent and, crucially, how and what to adjust in your campaigns next time.
- Flexibility – The travel industry is fast-paced and ever-shifting. You need to be able to react and make adjustments to your campaigns whenever and however you want them to be made, without relying on third parties.
- Knowledge – You already know your customers, and really getting to grips with your data and the online advertising systems that it feeds helps you become a true agent of programmatic for your company.
Train your team for the future and respond discerningly to industry changes.
A wave of second generation DSPs are now opening the door to programmatic, through the provision of straightforward but comprehensive interfaces that encourage marketers to take full control of their programmatic strategy. Self-serve programmatic solutions aren’t just cost-effective, they enable you to direct the performance and evolution of your systems.
Moreover, the time and energy you invest directly increases your team’s knowledge, skills and awareness, and enables an informed, data-driven collaboration across the organisation.
Even if you’re not ready to manage your programmatic advertising in-house, there are solutions on the market that will do the leg work without taking you out of the picture. Everyone needs something different, and the best partners will still provide you with control, transparency and flexibility to fit your brand’s unique requirements.
If you’re looking to boost your online advertising activity, don’t feel like you’re being held to ransom by third parties. Full control doesn’t require investing more money, resource and time. The complete opposite is in fact the truth.
By taking your online advertising in-house (whether fully or partially), you invest in your company’s data-driven understanding and decision-making abilities. This enables your team(s) to reap the benefits of the technology, rather than shying away from it. With the power of control, data-savvy employees and programmatic transparency, your brand can independently become a force to be reckoned with.
For more information about programmatic advertising - what it is and what it can do for your travel business - click here to access the recording of a Tnooz/Admedo webinar, "Get up to speed on programmatic advertising."
NB1 This is a viewpoint by Glenn Dale, head of product for Admedo. It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.
NB2Image by Shutterstock