How to Maintain Transparency & Communication with Your Programmatic Vendor


ADOTAS (Last of 5 parts) — Have you ever been in a situation in life where you were faced with data, information, a graph – you name it – and you felt utterly and overwhelmingly confused?

This brings us to Pain Point 5 in our series, which involves a lack of transparency in data and communication. When a brand or agency enlists a programmatic partner to execute an ad campaign, the information delivered to the advertiser needs to be clear, concise and digestible.

Programmatic systems operate at a level of detail that are complex and can be hard to understand. A programmatic vendor should therefore provide separate mechanisms that break down what is happening and what it means for each campaign, and at various intervals throughout. This applies to both self-service and full-service systems. Whether you are logging into a system to pull your own data, or a programmatic partner presents you with insights, there must be a method in place that prepares campaign data before it reaches marketers and advertisers. This ensures that the information is useful to the brand marketer.

Ask yourself this: if you were, for example, an online travel booking brand, which type of campaign reporting below would you prefer?

Rather than simply regurgitating a list of websites that an ad was served on, the targeted segments and their performance, and/or what times of day and week drove the most conversions, brands should receive a comprehensive story. This should address questions such as What are the personae of the highest performing consumers for the campaign? and Are there insights that an optimization engineer discovered on the back end that lay outside of targeting guidance?

For example, a durable water bottle brand might guide its initial targeting to serve ads to consumers interested in nature, hiking and green living. Let’s say the campaign performance reveals that other segments like video games and music tend to perform well. The programmatic partner’s machine learning system may have discovered the actual segments that perform in combination, but only a profile presented as such and interpreted by a person will identify these consumers as Millennials. When a programmatic partner can show the engagement by profile, and expose a brand to the performance of significant groups, the brand can begin to adjust its messaging to then target those groups. It is in instances like this where audience insight becomes invaluable.

When it comes to programmatic, brands and agencies should seek out a descriptive and intelligible reporting structure – one that not only shows you results but also provides you with actionable targeting and messaging insight for future marketing. Vendors are eager to provide this insight in full; it means, after all, that they are doing their job by helping you to discover new audiences and bring appropriate ads to the eyes of interested consumers.

In order for insight transparency and thoughtful communication to exist, a programmatic partner must have a separate purpose-built technology stack in place, different from the one used to drive the machine learning to optimize campaign performance. It begins with a specialized data warehouse, includes different analysis tools, and consists of a completely different set of outputs that are intended and designed for human consumption. For an agency or brand to find this in a vendor, it is best to question a potential partner at the beginning of the relationship about how campaign communication will work, and about the manner in which insights and feedback will be delivered. It might also be advantageous to ask a potential partner for a sample of insights or reports.

This concludes the fifth pain point in my five-part series. If you find yourself managing a programmatic campaign – the performance of which you are dissatisfied with – it is best to take an objective view of the situation, and address each pain point individually for best results.

Part 1: Curing 5 Pain Points for Better Programmatic Results: The General Pain Point
art 2: How to Correct Inconsistent Results from Your Programmatic Media Buying
Part 3: How to Extend Your Reach and Avoid Oversaturated Audiences
Part 4: How to Reach Your Programmatic Media-Buying Goals Across All Channels


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