Programmatic is creating more capabilities than merely a fast way of buying inventory. Dataxu’s Mike Shaw looks at the brands taking the technique to new heights.

The launchpad for programmatic: advanced data modelling

It’s been said before that programmatic can help marketers meet objectives further up the growth funnel. Considering new customer acquisition, advanced modelling techniques – such as lookalikes – are helping brands identify new audiences and grow the pool of potential buyers to target.

For example, Sky went above and beyond to effectively enhance the value of their own data, by harnessing the power of advanced data modelling, driving a full funnel approach for advertisers via brand engagement, awareness and completion rates across hundreds of Sky Advance campaigns. Sky was able to generate cost savings of £160,000 for a major telco company seeking to improve their online spend and prove incremental reach.

Expanding audiences through advanced modelling is a huge first step. But in the new cross-device reality, brands now need to take a second step and use the technology available out there to connect the dots between devices, giving appropriate credit to each ad exposure, and attributing sales and growth to the correct device. As such, attribution modelling should be part of your programmatic payload.

Conquering your space: programmatic makes you go faster

Programmatic’s greatest asset is that it allows for precision measurement, in a way that traditional advertising never managed. But this technology often leads marketers to focus too much on daily and weekly metrics, on a campaign-by-campaign basis. What is needed is a clear vision for longer-term growth: think quarterly or yearly sales. This is where a strong attribution model becomes a vital tool.

Attribution is not without its own challenges. How can you be sure which channel drove campaign uplift, or footfall? How can you tell where your potential customers are along the path to purchase? These are very much a priority for brands, as only 7% of marketers surveyed recently felt they had a robust multi-touch attribution model.

Ascott successfully rose to this challenge, making connections between people and their devices, through real-time cross-device identity management. With this innovative approach, they were able to identify desktop as the preferred channel for conversions, and recognise mobile’s strength in driving user engagement with their website. Cross-device identity management helped build the retargeting pool, with prospecting tactics driving 90% of clicks. They managed to boost brand awareness by serving over 53 million impressions across their target markets.

Setting the right course: attribution metrics

Programmatic and attribution go hand in hand, as illustrated by the case of Advanced TV. As programmatic continues to develop, it is breaking into connected TV and OTT, with estimates that the five largest European markets could be worth €825 million (£720 million) by 2020 – a combined annual growth rate of 33% over 4 years.

What does TV offer in terms of attribution data? Advanced TV allows marketers to capture additional metrics that can help close the loop between advertising and sales. The key is in understanding consumers’ path to purchase and influencing their route, helping them land safely where they should be.

American Signature Inc. was looking to uncover new insights about their customers’ path to purchase by incorporating connected TV data. They were able to link TV impressions to their customers’ online shopping behaviours, taking into account user activity across desktop, tablet and mobile. Purchasing behaviour insights revealed that 90% of online purchases were completed within 20 days of the TV ad exposure. Sales directly attributed to connected TV achieved a five times ROI.

TV once proved a challenge for measurement. But through Advanced TV, targeted TV ads can be served programmatically and measured effectively. This opens TV up as another channel, strengthening attribution models. As TV illustrates, it is all about getting the right metrics.

Building your own star clusters

It can be tricky, but with expert tech partners, brands can strike the right balance between knowing which channels are working for the campaign, and how to make the most of them to help drive profitability in the long term. Ultimately, focusing on the metrics that matter most is the only way for marketers to break out of near-earth orbit, and conquer new heights.