You wouldn’t hire a car service unless you trusted the drivers and the vehicles they used. Most media buyers new to programmatic would agree. But the way many of them are choosing vendors and data partners contradicts that policy. These buyers focus on the “drivers” (the vendors and data partners themselves) without checking to see if the “vehicles” (the optimization algorithms being used) are a good fit for their business goals.
This is understandable. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it seems like every potential partner you meet is talking about their “proprietary optimization algorithms” or “proprietary piece of optimization technology.”
But understanding the implications – and making the right choice – are crucial for your success. How can you screen out inferior technology and find the best fit? Keep reading.
A Problem of Too Many Choices and Not Enough Questions
As media trading technologies evolve, more data partners and agencies are developing unique optimization technologies to help advertisers connect with audiences programmatically.
These proprietary technologies are often positioned as key selling points. Data partners claim their unique technology – and the optimization algorithms it’s based on – will help clients maximize the ROI on their ad spend and offer capabilities they can’t find anywhere else.
This has left media buyers looking to embrace programmatic in an unfortunate position: overwhelmed by choices and information. They’re left wondering:
“Whose algorithm is the best for my target audience?”
“Which piece of technology will help me maximize my ad spend?”
The “algorithmic fatigue” problem is real, and most buyers aren’t asking the right questions to fix it.
Methodology Drives Programmatic Success (or Failure)
Finding a competent, trustworthy vendor or data partner is necessary, but not sufficient, for programmatic success.
Clients who invest in relationships without delving deeper into the partner’s methodology often end up disappointed. The technology each partner uses – their proprietary optimization algorithms – affects how they plan, execute, and optimize every programmatic campaign they run. Ultimately, it informs how much return you’ll see on your investment and how well you connect with your target audience.
In a lot of ways it’s like hiring a trader on the stock market. Some stick to fundamental trading: a classic buy-and-hold strategy. Others are momentum traders, searching for stocks based on significant price changes to make quick profits. There are countless different styles. Traders fall into different camps based on their methodologies.
Methodology drives performance. The expert you hire is only as good as the framework they’re using to allocate your investment – whether it’s in the stock market or in programmatic campaigns.
Digging into Your Partner’s Proprietary Optimization Technology
As a media buyer, it’s crucial to invest some time digging into not just your programmatic partners’ experience and track records – but their unique methodologies. Spending a little time up front will maximize your chances of delivering profitable, real-time messaging to the right audience at the right time.
The difference between strong proprietary optimization technology and weak technology can make or break you. One of programmatic’s unique capabilities is being able to use automated systems to make decisions and optimize buys mid-campaign. That can be a huge advantage… or a disaster waiting to happen. It all comes down to the frameworks used to guide those systems.
Digging into a potential partner’s programmatic methodology might sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with this checklist of key questions:
- What data sources do you use in order to drive optimization?
- What is the frequency of optimization?
- What data is being optimized against?
- What is the methodology of optimization being used?
- What is the intersection between human-based and machine-based optimization?
- What is the speed of optimization?
Make the Best Choice
Programmatic is only as powerful as the optimization algorithms driving it.
Vendors and data partners are eager to present their proprietary technology as the solution to all of your problems. But don’t invest in any relationship until you’ve done your due diligence – both on the partners themselves and the methodology they use to guide their programmatic campaigns.
Your target audience and limited ad dollars are worth it. With the simple checklist above, you can screen out mediocre options and assemble the team you need to make the most of them.