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Programmatic can be improved

News, 24 March 2017
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LONDON: Programmatic buying is under the spotlight as never before following news of the placement of ads on inappropriate sites, but a senior executive at Kantar Millward Brown has said there are steps marketers can take to improve the channel.

Jane Ostler is the global research agency's Managing Director of Media & Digital and in an article for The Drum she argued that the risks with programmatic can go well beyond ad placement.

Invalid traffic and viewability on programmatic, for example, have been rated worse than on both display and video, according to research Kantar Millward Brown conducted with comScore.

Based on comScore vCE data for Q3 2016, the joint research found invalid traffic accounted for 5.3% of programmatic indirect buys compared to 3.6% of direct display.

And the gap widened on video, where invalid traffic accounted for 10.7% of programmatic compared with just 4.6% of direct buys.

Viewability over the same period was also better on both display and video for direct buys, Ostler reported, adding that video in-view hit just 53.7% for programmatic, but 72.6% for direct buys.

"Invalid traffic and viewability should really be standard hygiene factors for any marketer investing in digital," she said. "These are all red flags that should be encouraging marketers, the parents of this unruly child … to take more of an interest in what programmatic is doing for their brand."

On a more positive note, Ostler urged marketers to start to apply some solid measurement techniques to understand programmatic's true effectiveness and return on investment, and she listed three recommendations.

"Firstly, marketers need to be aware of the impact that programmatic has on their brand," she said. "Buys tend to include less premium content, and we know that placements in high-value publications result in stronger brand impact."

Marketers should also use more strategic metrics to truly understand the effectiveness of programmatic on business results. Thirdly, she said campaign briefs must have clear objectives.

"Once they get wise to programmatic, marketers will be in a position to reduce the risk to their brands and get the most out of their investment," Ostler concluded. "Programmatic will then be able to reach a new level of maturity."

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff

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