LONDON: Despite recent controversies around programmatic – surfacing ads next to inappropriate content, for example – best-practice examples show how it can be used effectively, according to a new WARC report.

The 2018 Media Strategy Report is based on an analysis of the shortlisted entries to the 2017 WARC Media Awards. This found programmatic de rigueur in many of the entries – a point of difference from the inaugural 2016 WARC Media Awards where it was still regarded as an exception rather than the rule.

A campaign such as Rogue One’s Everything but Rogue with Data, promoting Disney’s second film in the Lucasfilms Star Wars franchise, showed just how sophisticated programmatic has become.

This gold-winning Best Use of Data campaign saw 80% of investment delivered to addressable audiences, generating a personalised communication strategy at scale.

The campaign reached more than 35 million people across digital platforms and delivered an ROI of 5.79:1 for online bookings alone. Total awareness shifted from 36%, before paid comms launched, to 55% the week before release.

Disney worked in partnership with cinemas, enabling it to unlock valuable first-party data and add it to the mix. This prompted the studio to change the emphasis of much of its marketing away from the short term and into a larger-scale, brand-led strategy.

This is but one example of how programmatic has rapidly evolved from a simple efficiency buy into a more sophisticated method of delivering either personalised or highly relevant marketing – and it needn’t always entail the building of elaborate new systems.

Marketers need to think in terms of resourcefulness, not resources, according to Luke Brown, CEO at Affinity, the Australian agency that has won the Best Use of Data Grand Prix for two consecutive years at the WARC Media Awards.

Establish what data you have access to and then find out what data you need access to within a typically siloed organisation, he advises. Then move on to freely available third-party data.

“There’s no need to fish with dynamite,” he observes. “Accuracy through critical thinking wins the day over big spending.”

Sourced from WARC