Problematic Programmatic

‘British Gas, O2 and M&S ads appear on ‘paedo and incest’ websites, according to The Sun’ – CLICK AND READ

This is a must read. There is no more important time than now as we all in the digital industry move to programmatic buying to instil in clients why digital media is not 100% accurate and that with ever cheaper media buying comes the possibility that ads may appear on salacious websites or next to such content.

Now the first thing is that this is not new, over a decade ago ad sales companies offered blind buy inventory and agencies pressurised into finding ever cheaper audiences for their clients bought it and once in a while a headline was reported in the main stream media as something somewhere went wrong occasionally. The brands were aghast, some agencies got fired, others equipped themselves with better third-party ad verification services and asked the simple question of their clients, do you want this and a lot said ‘Yes’, but not all, for some the barrier to entry was cost.

Prices fell further, the technology of media buying grew ever more nebulous and marketplaces and automated buys came to make up most of the digital media buying landscape we see today, but the threats of appearing in the wrong place grew too.

Programmatic media buying is where the industry is going, there’s no stopping it, it will happen across all media and not just digital. It means that agencies and clients need frank discussions; agencies with clients and advertisers on how best to plan, buy, monitor, insure that everything that can be done is done. To some advertisers they might not like the extra costs, but considering most digital media in my 15 years of digital media buying has moved from £30 CPMs to £0.30p CPMs, CPCs of £10 to £0.20p or less at the large buying end then adding a few percent to costs in order to buy cleaner, with more security, and wiser is surely a small price worth paying? In fact it’s not a question, it’s a fact.

Programmatic can make the operation quicker, faster, cheaper, targeting better, but it is ever changing and evolving. It can make media planner buyers lazy, it can make advertisers greater profits, but a more professional service needs to be adopted, more questions need to be asked of; the sellers, the tech companies offering monitoring and the education of those in agencies and advertisers.

No marketer wants to be involved in that Sun headline above, so start to talk, don’t throw blame, it’s not 100% policeable and never will be, but make sure you understand the risks and get as much insurance as possible. Digital media gets ever more complicated and agencies need the support of their clients to understand, to navigate these complexities, new solutions and expertise are required and paid for.

The awful headlines are one thing, but countless brands are appearing 3 ads or more to a page, on sites they shouldn’t be, next to questionable content, served but not seen, ad-called but not delivered, campaign delivery not being monitored enough, and both agencies and advertisers need to address this better. Costs will rise a little in the short term, but bring far better results in the long run, so start today, check out the costs involved and ask your agency/marketers to work together.

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