Reaching Affluent Audiences With Programmatic Premium: Talking With RUN's Hittman And Schwartz

Programmatic may not be top of mind with most luxury advertisers, but it probably should be. As digital adoption grows across devices, the top 20% of earners are shopping and spending more online than average consumers. Programmatic premium should be a consideration for all these brands to reach those audiences at scale.

That said, when it comes to premium programmatic, there seem to be only a few of us who believe the word “premium” requires substantiation. Seth Hittman and Dan Schwartz from RUN are among them. “We appreciate the contextual differences between properties,” they tell me.  “And premium publishers absolutely deserve to be differentiated [in] the value chain of programmatic.”

Hittman and Schwartz believe that the greatest obstacle to broader adoption of programmatic is philosophical, regarding our perception of what premium is, and how it’s differentiated. “I think their challenge becomes, in a programmatic landscape, how do you differentiate the benefit to going premium direct, premium programmatic versus RTB? There is as much responsibility on the publisher’s side as there is on the demand side for us to educate advertisers on the difference.”



Premium audiences are a key factor in the premium equation, but one that isn’t considered often enough, in my opinion. RUN makes it a priority, and has become something of an expert in targeting premium, affluent audiences. “We do a lot of cross-screen, cross-device, and with granular geo-targeting, we can zero in on the most affluent neighborhoods inside of every market,” Schwartz says.

Hittman and Schwartz both agree that the IAB’s launch of higher impact units is advantageous, and they’re seeing greater pickup of these, as well as of HTML5 units.

Recognizing that audiences are using different devices for different reasons at different points during the day is also important for targeting. Hittman tells me, “We used to assume ‘tablets equal affluence’ because of price point. The new way is to truly understand the actual devices, the use cases, and the coinciding mindset of the consumers as they’re seeking information.”

With mobile, in particular, companies like RUN have to solve for challenges in targeting and analytics, particularly since cookies aren’t an option. Following consumers across screens and through a purchase isn’t easily achieved – but it’s something for which technology companies and agencies will see increasing demand.

Additionally, brands are often looking at different metrics than standard analytics packages offer. Hittman and Schwartz see ROI as the most important metric to track against – despite industry chatter about the importance of less tangible metrics like brand lift. “You might find that different conversions have different value, and we can report against an actual dollar spent within the same conversion,” Hittman explains. “So you have one conversion where a consumer purchased two watches totaling $500 but another conversion where a consumer bought one watch for $5,000. That’s important information to be able to report back to a brand like Rolex.”

With the right metrics and targeting in place, along with truly premium publishers and high-impact ad units, programmatic is becoming a smart place for luxury brands to be. As affluent consumers spend more and more time playing, shopping and buying online, advertisers should be jumping on the opportunity to get in front of them. It’ll be worthwhile. You’ll have the analytics to prove it.

1 comment about "Reaching Affluent Audiences With Programmatic Premium: Talking With RUN's Hittman And Schwartz".
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  1. Meliah Cranmer from MMGY Global, July 30, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.

    Do you think exchange inventory on premium sites that cater to affluents is available at scale?

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