Commentary

Programmatic Measurement Key To Maintaining Campaign Quality

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, December 22, 2015
Before the programmatic media boom, a planner’s time was spent meeting with sites and publishers and negotiating a plan that delivered the most impressions possible on the most appropriate sites.  Ad networks brought efficiency to the campaigns, and the payoff was more scale, capturing audiences on mid- and long-tail sites. 

But today the risk of buying in all scenarios has been compounded by fraudulent traffic and low-quality and out-of-view inventory. Agencies are the trusted agents of their clients’ advertising budgets and responsibility cannot be handed off to a third party without oversight. When navigating the infinite “lumascape” of potential partners, agencies must implement measurement and verification technology.

Measuring the right things to manage fraud
Across the board, all involved — agency teams, publishers and data partners — must acknowledge that low-cost inventory is riddled with bots and unqualified inventory. Viewability measurement and tools to eliminate fraud are important lines of defense for managing buys on DSPs.

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The implementation of a whitelist can be crucial for targeting key URLs.  There are a variety of ways to build these lists, and regular refreshes help to increase scale on campaigns.  Increasing the bid priority on sites where performance is occurring helps.

Analytics can provide a ton of data, but the tools must be in place to identify where a campaign is successfully converting audiences and driving KPIs.  For programmatic buys, trafficking is key to differentiate each tactic within the tags so that these indicators can be acted on.  This, above all, will provide guidance and push campaign managers to test and learn proactively month over month.

Strategies need modification
Platforms have integrated third-party tools pre-bid (or developed their own) to negatively target pages with fraudulent traffic and pixels/cookies associated with bots.  With this approach, rather than a pure viewability benchmark rating, reach is going to be determined by scale on impressions of significance. 

This methodology may drive prices up somewhat, but will not remove a bid just because a page does not have a viewability rating or cannot be measured.  Applying this strategy should be done across all tags outside the DSP to help eliminate the need for make-goods. Monitoring the volume of these instances is going to shed light on the problem for planners and provide proof to clients that the solution’s costs outweigh the negative impact on quality when measurement is not applied.

It comes down to diligence and measurement
The digital media marketplace’s problems are increasing as more inventory and fraud is being generated relentlessly. The onus of solving these issues, consumer experience included, falls on all sides of the transaction and with the publishers who create content and design sites.  Educating clients and not shying away from demanding quality and safety will help.  Buyer diligence and precise measurement plans may result in higher CPMs — but will reassure advertisers why they have selected their trusted partners.

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