Marketers have a dizzying array of digital media strategies and tactics to choose from -- each promising more than the last, leaving CMOs asking themselves which ones can actually deliver targeted, transparent, efficient and scalable results. With every dollar needing to be more accountable than the last, it is more crucial than ever for CMOs to make informed decisions and adopt the right strategies to be successful.
Three areas in digital media where marketers often struggle to understand their best path forward include Programmatic buying, Converged Video buying and Pay-for-Performance buying.
The Programmatic buying space -- while growing meteorically and expanding beyond digital display and into video, mobile and social -- is something many marketers have a hard time gaining visibility into. The promise of Programmatic is that the platform will do the work to get the most targeted inventory at the most efficient price possible. That may be true in many cases, but the path to getting the right inventory is fraught with waste and price mark-ups, so it is critical for marketers to take steps to see where value is lost along the way. Marketers hoping for success in Programmatic should consider the following guidelines:
- Use more than one Programmatic platform so full costs and results can be compared
- Rely heavily on first- rather than third-party data to locate targets and segments
- Contract directly with an independent ad verification provider, not relying solely on media agency or publisher partners to determine whether ads ran as contracted and in a way that could be seen by potential customers
- Actively monitor the cost chain from the inventory source to the platform, media agency, and ultimately what the media agency invoices the marketer
Marketers have flocked to the online video marketplace in recent years as a way to replicate the television advertising experience online. Because truly premium online video inventory is scarce, many marketers buy digital video as a package with broadcast buys -- often in a one-price model, where the impression is given equal value whether it runs online or in broadcast. While this model is convenient from a buying perspective, it’s only efficient if the specifics of the delivery are the same in broadcast and digital. Industry leading practices for converged video buying include:
- Ensure that buy and targeting parameters are the same on both screens -- same demo, same show level, same unit length
- Ensure that makegoods and/or Audience Deficiency Units are run against the same parameters as the original buy, so they are not dumped against less premium inventory either online or in broadcast
- Evaluate the relative cost per thousand and quality of video placements received as part of converged buys against what could be bought via online-only video inventory sources
Pay-for-Performance buying takes on many shapes and sizes, depending on how “performance” is defined for a given marketer. Sometimes, the performance metric purchased (click, view, engagement, etc.) is a proxy for a deeper business metric, while other performance metrics purchased are the actual business metric (leads, sales, sign-ups, etc.). No matter which way a marketer uses performance media, there are specific measurements to implement with Pay-for-Performance so its actual value can be determined:
- Create a framework to calculate business results generated from the metric purchased
- Establish a process to convert engagements, leads and sign-ups into customers
- Evaluate the relative value of customers acquired from digital media channels versus other channels
- Consider the cumulative effect of all channels on acquiring customers in the digital media channel
In each of these areas, taking some simple steps can reveal significant efficiency gains, and even help marketers re-imagine how they value their digital media efforts. It’s no longer enough to just spend money in digital -- now the game is about having the right analytics, metrics and KPIs to gauge true effectiveness and value. Those who master this will reap the greatest benefits from their digital investments.