Harmelin Media Takes Programmatic In-House

Philadelphia-based Harmelin Media has introduced DeskOne, an internal programmatic buying team within its digital media department, fundamentally bringing programmatic media buying in-house. 

DeskOne runs across all of the major inventory exchanges, via leading industry buying and bid-management platforms. DeskOne says it’s purchased over 6 billion impressions through auction and private deals, on behalf of over 40 Harmelin Media clients, with targeting strategies powered by over 30 distinct first- and third-party data providers.

Brad Bernard, Harmelin's vice president, digital strategy and innovation, spoke via email about the move within the context of efficiencies: “Programmatic media buying has always had efficiency as a cornerstone of its value proposition. Cost efficiencies from the RTB platforms and time efficiency from the automation of complex processes continue to be a major driver of Harmelin’s expansion into programmatic media.”

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But, he said, the creation of DeskOne and its approach is less about efficiency and more about bringing long-term value to clients: "By creating DeskOne as an integrated team of specialists within the agency, we are elevating our programmatic offering from a tactical executional service to a strategic resource."

Driving the move is the need to keep clients ahead the curve and on track as the programmatic landscape shifts: “We’ve moved from an environment of targeting large audiences to aggregating micro-audiences. Even the way we optimize campaigns is fundamentally shifting. Instead of waiting days or weeks for data... we are now leveraging real-time algorithmic base systems that analyze more data points for decisioning in milliseconds,” Bernard said.

Bernard also noted that the creation of DeskOne expands the company's programmatic capabilities beyond standard display and video campaigns: “We’re leveraging these technologies to integrate with clients’ CRM systems, deploying native advertising at scale and developing programmatic TV strategies for our clients.” 

What differentiates DeskOne is that it’s not a stand-alone business unit like many agency trading desks. It bills itself as a team of specialists who are integrated within Harmelin's digital activation team. Programmatic strategies are developed in collaboration with digital planners and client account teams to ensure strategic integration with other digital and non-digital channels, creating a holistic media plan custom-tailored to clients. This trend is beginning to take hold across the industry.

TubeMogul is one of several programmatic platforms that DeskOne uses for the purchase of programmatic digital video. "As an early adopter of programmatic video buying, DeskOne is a power user of the TubeMogul platform and it's consistently at the forefront of delivering sophisticated and strategic programmatic solutions for their clients,” Lee Freund, TubeMogul's vice president, stated in a release.

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