It’s not easy being the king of the internet. Last year, Google lost millions when advertisers saw their ads displayed alongside extremist and hateful content on YouTube. Verizon, for example, jumped ship after its ads appeared with videos from Wagdi Ghoneim, a preacher banned from the United States and United Kingdom for inciting violence and hatred.
That said, programmatic advertising can still be a powerful tool, which is why marketers continue to invest. According to eMarketer, programmatic ad spending will jump from $33 billion annually today to $46 billion by 2019.
When complexities such as hateful content and ad fraud pop up, some advertisers shy away from programmatic for fear they’ll get burned. So what’s the solution?
Because programmatic advertising is so powerful, it faces several challenges on the new internet. Privacy concerns, for example, come with the territory.
When marketers gather information on consumers’ behaviors and preferences, they can create highly targeted ads — but when it appears companies know too much, consumers consider it an invasion of privacy. Apple is working to solve this problem by limiting Safari’s cookie-tracking ability to just 24 hours. Marketers lament the change, saying it will limit their ability to personalize ads, but consumers like the idea that their information will be stored for only one day.
Brand safety presents another issue. Just as Verizon didn’t want to align itself with hate speech, other brands are wary of accidentally sponsoring the wrong type of content. Companies also want to avoid spending ad dollars on fake websites and videos, which automate the appearance of activity without putting ads in front of any real viewers.
This worry leads to the final challenge programmatic will face over the next few years: measurement. Right now, measurement still relies on last-click attribution. It’s tough for this model to attribute value in programmatic campaigns, leaving marketers confused about where their dollars have the most impact.
Now, those challenges are nothing to sneeze at. But don’t give up hope: To solve these next-gen challenges, companies just need to adopt next-gen programmatic strategies.
Maximize Impact; Minimize Risk
Follow these tips to get more from your advertising spend while avoiding the common pitfalls of programmatic advertising:
- Use third-party verification.
Third-party verification providers help to ensure that your programmatic ads end up in front of real audiences. They also help brands monitor where their ads fall so you can respond quickly to bad associations. Employ a third-party verification provider to ensure your company avoids any touchy subjects, such as politics or gambling, and maintains a spotless image.
After Google’s debacle with ads on hateful YouTube channels, the tech giant partnered with companies such as Integral Ad Science to monitor content and provide solutions. These partners help discover “walled gardens,” where fake sites generate ghost clicks, and direct advertising dollars to more useful ventures.
- Leverage new platforms and tech.
In a world where ad blockers and cookie limitations across devices are becoming the norm, marketers must be smarter about the tech they’re using to target and personalize ads. They will need to invest in technology and platforms that are transitioning to not being reliant solely on cookies. These platforms are focused more on identity graphing that applies across all devices and leverages other indicators, such as deterministic data, first-party data, and IP addresses to create audiences.
This data allows marketers to essentially make personal IDs for consumers, profiling their individual internet activity across devices to create advanced targeting solutions that can extend beyond cookies. When executing a programmatic marketing campaign, investigate and leverage platforms that are building this type of technology.
- Leave last-click attribution behind.
Marketers tend to measure digital campaigns on the basis of last-click attribution because it’s readily accessible and more cost-effective than investing in an attribution platform. With moves such as Apple’s decision to limit cookie storage, now is the time to move to more sustainable programmatic practices.
In an ideal world, marketers would have access to platforms that manage and measure multiple digital channels effectively. But today, the tools remain fragmented. Managing search, display, and social ads requires separate platforms. The measurement piece, such as Google Analytics, also remains separate and weighs heavily on last-click. Google 360, Google’s paid product, can begin to help with some attribution challenges at a lower entry cost than some of the larger attribution platforms.
Challenges with programmatic are definitely relevant, but they’re manageable. Marketers must rethink their programmatic practices if they want to thrive. By keeping these challenges and tips in mind, marketers can develop stronger programmatic strategies that will continue to drive revenue in 2018 and beyond.