Loss of control is a major worry among organizations looking to launch into the programmatic space. A recent survey found that over 40% of participants said that there was significant loss of control when using programmatic media buying.
Yet according to the same study, placement transparency is a key ingredient in marketers’ decisions to move more ad-spend to the programmatic space. While justified, many programmatic partners are not providing the desired level of transparency that most of their clients expect. Before turning over complete trust to a programmatic and digital partner, marketers and agencies should take steps to protect themselves.
Vet Partners Before Doing Business with Them
Because programmatic is still a mystery to many marketers, vetting potential programmatic partners before signing on with them is necessary to avoid fraud. Verify that vendors are working with legitimate publishers and have success stories. Review inventory to ensure that it’s quality and that prices are not unreasonable. Ensure that the company is reputable with a physical address and means of contacting them.
Demand Transparency In Everything
As a client, you should have an expectation of transparency, and this transparency should be evident in everything involved in the process: price, supply chain and where ads are being served. For example, if ads are being served where they’ll never been seen by the intended audience or on sites with objectionable content, marketers should be able to either accept or deny this bid. Publishers also need to share details on where the ads are showing up and offer information on how data points were obtained.
Another issue is price. Marketers should have insights into not only the price of the media buy, but also how much the technology costs or whether or not the vendor is adding additional fees on top of the buy itself, i.e. a commission fee. If partners are not providing this level of detail, then marketers need to push back and insist on more data.
Determine the Level of Information That Can Be Shared
The ecosystem where the partner sits is also important. Depending on what part of the programmatic network, a vendor may only be able to provide a certain amount of data to you. Find out this information up-front before signing on. If it’s not enough data, then marketers may need to look for a different partner.
Marketers should try to understand what they’re getting into and what they should expect to get out of the relationship – not only in terms of strict data, but also insights, margins, what they are buying, etc. Challenge digital partners that don’t provide the level of education needed to fully understand how a campaign is performing, or abandon them for more cooperative ones.
Taking steps to ensure transparency can help marketers avoid wasting precious ad budgets. It also improves the chances of campaign success by avoiding fraudulent or non-viewable or non-targeted impressions.