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28 June 2016

Revealing the black box of digital media buying

Advertising has changed tremendously in the past few years, influenced by digital disruption and advertising technology. Did I shock you? I suppose not. For many marketers these days, "programmatic" is becoming part of their day-to-day jargon and "algorithm" is no longer a dirty word that they prefer to avoid. 


More and more, marketers realize that marketing and advertising technology are crucial to move forward. Yet the media landscape has never been more complex and the necessary skills have never been broader. Digital media buying could easily become a black box that marketers don't dare to open and thus outsource fully to their agency.


Running the advertising technology show

According to Google, 10 years from now, more than 80% of all media will be digital and programmatic. In a world where everything is connected, it's only logical that your in-store posters adapt automatically to your newest campaign, that your Facebook ads change when a terrorist attack happens or that your LinkedIn ads show a different message to your top clients. Only then your brand will truly be relevant and create a greater impact. 


Is any of this possible if you aren't running your brand's media buying show yourself? I'm not quite sure. How can you then incorporate the latest opportunities of ad tech in your marketing strategy? How do you know that you're not “wasting” impressions on websites that don't contribute to your conversion rate or that you’re asking the right questions to your agency? And how can you be sure that your own team is sufficiently skilled to challenge your agency on their proposals, if you don't understand (the details of) programmatic buying or real-time bidding?


Taking the leap towards right-time and 1:1 marketing

Slowly but surely, we are moving away from the time where digital media buying was an impervious black box that we would pass immediately and unopened to our media agency. For a while now, ad exchanges such as DoubleClick and OpenX or networks such as the Facebook Audience Network have enabled brands to take back control by centralizing media buying. More recently, we also see that the rise of marketing technology facilitates digital media buying by absorbing advertising technology and incorporating it in user-friendly marketing automation platforms.


Yes, you will need to have the necessary skills to deal with data analytics, real-time optimization and marketing attribution, but it makes sense to take the leap and build the knowledge:


  • Right-time marketing enable brands to be truly relevant and have a conversation with its customers at the right time, with the right message and through the right channel. This right-time aspect requires very quick decision-making and immediate reaction based on data-driven insights.


  • One-to-one marketing requires in-depth personalization and thorough strategic planning. Opportunities can be lost if brands don't feel comfortable or are simply not allowed to share their data and single customer view.


  • Ad tech collects huge volumes of data and it doesn't suffice anymore to wait for a monthly report and improve things based on that. More and more, marketers realize that besides being creative, they must also be data-oriented and able to communicate about media spend and KPIs at any time of the day.


As you can see, digital disruption and technology have created enormous opportunities within marketing and advertising. Instead of being afraid of these opportunities and hiding the “technical stuff” away at your agency, I believe that marketers should take up arms and work together with their agency to win the battle of a future-proof strategy. Each with their own strengths, but also each with the same understanding of marketing, the same jargon and the same objectives in mind: moving forward in the digital transformation era.



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