Programmatic: Using Data and Analytics To Drive Media Decisions

Initially synonymous with RTB, DSPs, and direct-response marketing, the definition of programmatic advertising is evolving. Omnicom Media Group’s programmatic agency Accuen recently rebranded to refresh its identity and more sharply define its role in the programmatic business.

Ming Wu, Accuen’s general manager, explained that programmatic has become a powerful tool for brand advertisers as well. Most brands that Accuen works with have defined target personas and contextual pillars as part of their media strategy and are using programmatic to extend conversations from TV into their online experience. For them, the difference between buying sites as a proxy for audience and programmatic is that they can reach their segments precisely and with less waste.

Combined with programmatic contextual capabilities that became mainstream in 2012, he says Accuen is “delivering a marketer’s target personas and contextual pillars at a much more efficient rate than traditionally available. Add to that mobile, video, social – all linked back to TV and print – and you’re delivering tremendous value to marketers. And just to be clear, we are an extension to, not a replacement for, endemic site buys and takeovers. We make the overall strategy more effective.”



At the center of Accuen’s approach to programmatic is data. “Our idea of programmatic is using data and analytics to make marketing decisions,” says Wu. “Some of the most valuable work we have done for our clients has nothing to do with media.”

Wu says that data can change a brand’s decisions even mid-campaign. For example, when a client was redefining its brand around a new product launch, the initial strategy was geared toward single men and women with active lifestyles making $60-$80k a year. The client reached this demographic by targeting outdoor and sporting lifestyle content across all channels. After 30 days, the company learned from Accuen that families making more than $100k a year with two children were just as engaged by the ads and product as the active singles.

“Think of how powerful that is, for marketers and agencies to be able to adjust to an insight like that in real time. That’s what programmatic means at Omnicom and to our clients,” explains Wu.

Accuen is also using data and analytics to dig deeper into reach and frequency – bedrock metrics for brands – for their clients. Most digital campaigns achieve broad reach, but a closer look at reach and frequency metrics might tell a different story. “If you look at frequency reports carefully, you’ll most likely find that publishers reach a lot of people once, and then show hundreds of impressions to a small group that makes up a large chunk of the campaign impressions. That is simply not efficient,” says Wu.

Wu suggests the industry adopt more sophisticated caps so that advertisers’ dollars aren’t wasted on a subset of consumers, who see an ad over and over, while reaching other desired users only once. “The problem is most major publishers don’t allow sophisticated frequency control such as three per day, no more than 15 per week, with a 30 per month maximum. On top of that, frequency capping across multiple publisher buys doesn’t exist in a scalable form today. But it’s coming. It has to be done.”

He points out some users will see the same ad a hundred times. Accuen is proposing that advertisers reallocate their funds and reallocate money from consumers that have seen an ad too many times and instead “top up” the frequency count on users who’ve only seen the ad once to help balance things out.

“Everyone I talk to says absolutely, we want to do that, how can we do that,” says Wu. “In order to do that, we have to be able to tie together the overall branding buy and the performance buy. It’s a big vision but we believe it’s possible and it’s what we’re working on for our clients.”

7 comments about "Programmatic: Using Data and Analytics To Drive Media Decisions".
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  1. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, October 29, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.

    Data Shmata - this crap takes the art out of advertising...

  2. Tyler Loechner from MediaPost, October 29, 2013 at 12:11 p.m.

    Hey Bob, Tyler Loechner here from MediaPost. I'd love to pick your brain a little on why you feel it takes all the art out of advertising. Would you mind sending me an email?

  3. Carol Lewis from Riverton Media LLC, October 29, 2013 at 2:17 p.m.

    THANK YOU!!!! This is so true -such a huge amount of money is being wasted as a result. It is a big vision but it is possible - and needs to be done sooner rather than later.

  4. Tim Sullivan from Cendyn, October 29, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.

    @Bob Gordon. Bob, In today's interconnected world advertising is an art _and_ a science. You can't have one without the other. If you leverage data to find a very targeted audience and serve them creative that does not resonate you have just wasted your client's money. Conversely, if you have an amazing creative execution that never reaches your target audience you have failed. It's the combination of art, copy, code and data that is driving the best results and efficacy in today's digital marketplace. The industry has changed. Ignore these changes at your own peril as there is no turn back now.

  5. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, October 29, 2013 at 11:42 p.m.

    @Tim. Spoken like a true believer. But what happens when all the data and analytics tell us that no one wants the ads, no matter how amazingly creative and well targeted the 40% of non-fraudulent ones are? Time to kick this programmatic silliness to the curb and get back to selling things.

  6. JD Ambati from Martini Media, October 31, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.

    What Accuen and other trading desks are doing is to bring efficiency, transparency and better results for the media brought on behalf of clients. At the end of the day, it is the consumer who benefits more as the advertiser will use the learnings to reach their end user better.

    Let's not get caught up in verbiage and lose focus on the end goal.

  7. heather doherty from martini media, October 31, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.

    Trading Desks, such as Accuen, are allowing advertisers to make decisions based on real time data, rather than historical data. The beauty is the efficiency in dollars spent - not only less waste, but the ability to leverage insights across various channels– online, OOH, and traditional. Of course, as Wu mentions, there is still a need for endemic buys, but the advent and evolution of programmatic platforms has allowed for more precision and efficiency in the advertising space.

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