Programmatic Gets Local For LA Agency Davis Elen

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davis-elenYou walk into a Honda dealership, and a Toyota ad pops up on your cell phone. The future of programmatic is destined to get more mobile and more local as ad exchanges and agencies team up on innovations that will target consumers more specifically, even when they’re on the move.

Christina Lee, a senior digital planner at Los Angeles-based ad agency Davis Elen. Lee has worked with publisher-direct ad network engage:BDR to take advantage of its targeting capabilities for hyperlocal campaigns.

“McDonald's Los Angeles is our client,” Lee explained, “so we used Engage:BDR’s hypergeographic techniques to target consumers on the go within a one-mile radius of a McDonald's... It was a pretty successful breakfast campaign that tried to get to the customers when they were in a state of mind to buy.”

Programmatic is changing the way Lee gets things done. “It’s made targeting a lot better and more streamlined from the brand perspective by letting us go a few layers deeper into the consumers we’re trying to reach. We’re also looking into programmatic’s cross-device capabilities to target the same users on their phone, tablet and home computer," she said.

Putting the right ads in front of the right people at the right time – and in premium positions – is what engage:BDR sets out to do. Engage:BDR says its first-impression DSP offers above-the-fold impression placements on comScore Top 1000 sites through a self-serve RTB platform at competitive CPM rates that, according to CEO Ted Dhanik, no other SSP can provide.

Lee said her agency takes advantage of engage:BDR’s managed services to cut down on waste and make sure impressions are being served to the right people. “I’m impressed with how specific and granular you can go with the technology now. We set the parameters we want, and then it’s all about real-time bidding.”

One place Lee doesn’t spend much time is Facebook.

“A lot of our partners have relationships with Facebook, but we haven’t done a ton with Facebook Exchange or in the News Feed,” she said. “The whole point of Facebook is organic marketing and businesses controlling their own presences. When you outsource that to an agency, it takes the personalization out of it.”

Dhanik agreed, contending that media buyers have been dazzled by Facebook buzz for far too long and that they are missing the opportunity to advertise far more effectively with premium positions at top sites. “Media buyers don’t see that there is a lot of click fraud on Facebook."

What’s next? “Everything will shift to programmatic,” Dhanik said. “It’s just a matter of publisher adoption and moving some of the money out of Facebook.”

Lee agreed but was careful to note that a human touch to watch and optimize campaigns and to make sure advertisers get the click-throughs they want will always be welcome.

“You’ll still want a human overseeing it,” she said.

Lee added she is looking forward to more in-depth rich media executions, more video ads on mobile, more retargeting of search keywords, more rich media, more cross-device marketing and targeting at even more granular levels. “The whole programmatic concept is just so interesting to us,” she said. “Our target audiences keep getting easier and easier to reach.”

Correction: In earlier version, Lee was quoted as saying the half of its media spend goes through programmatic channels. Davis Elen has since said that is not the case. 

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