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Do Digital Media Agencies Have a Plan?

Chris-O-HaraData-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Chris O’Hara, co-founder and chief revenue officer at Bionic Advertising Systems.

Digital agencies used to get paid for unpacking an incredibly complicated digital landscape for marketers. Faced with all kinds of new marketing opportunities, advertisers turned to savvy digital agencies to figure out where to spend their money, and how much of it to dedicate to display, mobile and social channels.

The dingy little secret was that the agencies didn’t really plan much of anything. The way it worked was that agency planners would make an Excel template, create an RFP document, instruct the media owners to send back all kinds of creative ideas and fill out the media plan template. RFPs sent publisher teams spinning into action, churning out exciting-looking PowerPoints with screenshots and suggested spending levels.

Not much of this was scientific. Publishers often promised more inventory than could be delivered, knowing they would never get the full budget allocation. Agencies asked for various “budget levels,” knowing they would allocate only $50,000 per publisher – but asking to see $200,000 plans to get a better sense of where CPMs might be negotiated.

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With Display In Decline, Marketers Are Searching Elsewhere

peter-davies"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Peter Davies, chief revenue officer at ROKT.

Digital is constantly changing. The promises of programmatic Internet display advertising are not being fulfilled, according to my conversations with marketers around the world. As a result, marketers are looking to reallocate budget to alternative digital channels where effectiveness and conversion rates are higher and more transparent.

That’s not to say that display is dead. It won’t die any time soon. Internet display advertising will overtake paid search for the first time in 2016, predicts Zenith Optimedia. Programmatic marketing and automation drives this growth as businesses seek the marketing nirvana described as “one-to-one marketing and storytelling at scale” by Dennis Buchheim, Yahoo’s vice president of product management.

Unfortunately, progressive marketers realize programmatic display – at least in its current form – is not the pathway to this nirvana, despite the industry hype and raft of investments in technology and systems over recent years. There are four reasons why, including consumer behavior, bottom-of-the-funnel metrics, a lack of transparency and the cookie issue.

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The Rise Of The Programmatic Media Specialist

paullongoupdated“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Paul Longo, managing director at Accordant Media.

A media agency’s core DNA has traditionally fed a model built around the media planner. In recent years, agencies have received much criticism for conferring too much responsibility of their strategic media efforts on young planners in their 20s.

Certainly, many shops are still mired in that old mindset. And while it seems that agencies acknowledge that the planner’s role must be transformed to realize the potential of always-on marketing, there needs to be a quick shift to action to meet current planning realities and changing client needs.

To fully appreciate, it could be instructive to take a historical view of the evolution of agencies in the past 15 years. Until the aughts, most media planners focused on traditional planning – including target audience preparation, strategies and tactics – just once a year or quarterly. Once that planning was complete and campaigns were set in motion, things would ramp down. Optimization was a maintenance endeavor that took up no more than 30% of agency media folks’ time.

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Who are Programmatic’s True Constituents? It’s Not Just the Brands

daxhamman“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Dax Hamman, chief product officer of Chango.

When we think of programmatic and whom it’s supposed to serve, we tend to focus on the brands. What are their goals? And how can we help clients achieve them?

And as service-oriented businesses, media agencies and RTB platform providers, including DSPs and trading desks, have a knee-jerk reaction to do whatever is asked, even if what the brand manager asks for isn’t quite what he or she really needs in order to find new customers.

For a programmatic advertising campaign to really succeed, which is to say for a campaign to deliver meaningful insights that marketers can use to make strategic decisions, we need a bigger lens.

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Last-Click Attribution Is Not A Hard Habit To Break

jaystocki"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Jay Stocki, vice president of digital services at Experian Marketing Services.

It’s been said that the easier the habit, the harder it is to change. That must be why nearly every day I find myself explaining to marketers why last-click is rarely an effective form of attribution for display advertising yet it’s still being used like a bad habit.

I can understand how the habit forms. Last-click is the easiest form of attribution, it can be quickly explained to senior executives and it does not require cooperation from other parts of the marketing organization. But please just say no. Last-click is a terrible habit.

Case in point: Just 13% of marketers surveyed in an eConsultancy and Google study believed last-click was a very effective method of attribution. Yet 54% said it was their most common form of attribution.

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Apple’s New Push To Randomize MAC Addresses: What’s The Impact On Ad Tech?

devinguan“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Devin Guan, vice president of engineering at Drawbridge.

In the weeks since Apple previewed iOS 8 in June, there has been a lot of talk in the digital advertising industry regarding one ostensibly small change that Apple announced. Beginning with iOS 8, slated for release this fall, Apple will randomize MAC addresses when scanning for Wi-Fi networks. Naturally, there are a lot of questions about what a MAC address is, and what this means for our industry.

MAC addresses are used as reliable ways to identify devices by many ad tech vendors. Some even leverage MAC addresses to match devices and establish cross-device identity. The initial concern was that without reliable MAC address information, can there be reliable cross-device information?

Though some ad tech vendors may face growing pains as they react to this shift, overall Apple’s decision will be a good change for the industry, as it gives users more control by removing a deterministic feature that some ad tech vendors rely on to establish cross-device identity.

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Is Digital Marketing The Next Candidate For ‘Friction Disruption’?

Jeff-Lunsford“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Jeff Lunsford, CEO at Tealium.

“Who are you disrupting?” entrepreneurs are almost inevitably asked in conversations with press and venture capitalists. “Whose margins are you feeding off of? What industry sector will suffer from your success?”

The questions are warranted, for within disruption lies value creation. New technologies combined with new social and economic realities allow smaller, more nimble companies to build high-growth, profitable companies while larger incumbents struggle with Clayton Christensen’s “innovator’s dilemma.”

There is, however, a class of disruption where nobody loses and all incumbent industry players benefit. I call this “friction disruption."

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Location Precision: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

jonathanlenaghan"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Jonathan Lenaghan, head of data science at PlaceIQ.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “precision” and “accuracy” in the world of mobile marketing. But it’s becoming clear that the pressure to pinpoint high-quality mobile location data is blurring the line between what is good and bad, and realistic and unrealistic.

Here is a little context to help set the record straight.

While it’s true that the degree of precision determines the speed and relevance of mobile ad delivery, in some cases, bigger is not necessarily better. And when it comes to hyperlocal, smaller is not necessarily better, either. This means that some location points, which may sound hyperlocal in theory, can actually mislead or confuse mobile marketing clients.

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Fútbol, Football And A Move Past Last-Touch Attribution

jeffgreen“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Jeff Green, founder and CEO at The Trade Desk.

While I joined my fellow Americans in catching World Cup fever, I couldn’t help but lose some steam after the US fell to Belgium. Germany’s victory was a well-fought, well-played win, which I was happy to celebrate with my German colleagues.

Throughout the tournament, though, I was struck by how often goals, and the goal-scorer, were the only plays and players featured in highlights. It made me think of the challenges we face as marketers in RTB in dealing with the old-school method of last-touch attribution. How can we, as data-driven marketers, continue to assign credit for campaign conversions in such a myopic way?

The problem is that last-touch and last-click attribution have been a pretty consistent standard. Collectively evolving to something better is one of the hardest changes to make in advertising. It is also one of the most important next milestones for our industry. As many others look back on lessons from the World Cup, I find myself looking ahead to a different kind of football – the upcoming NFL season – for a model of how we can improve in RTB.

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Who’s Afraid Of The Open Exchanges?

jimcaruso"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Jim Caruso, vice president of product strategy at Varick Media Management.

Programmatic buying has always been dogged by the reputation that it accesses remnant inventory from less desirable publishers – cheap long-tail inventory that is a poor fit for established brands. There’s still a lot of confusion and misperception floating through the industry. This reputation short-changes data-driven targeting.

Agencies and brands can currently buy on the exchanges with highly targeted, crystal clear white lists that take into account the placements, sizes, sections and sites where they want their ads to run. Blind bidding on opaque inventory is indeed an option, but it is a circumstance that is completely guided by the user making that choice when building a campaign, which, in many cases, is the agency.

The idea that brands can be tarnished because auctions are free-for-alls open to any advertiser with a seat on a DSP is an equally laughable idea. It’s irrelevant who else is participating in an auction. If a publisher is willing to white list an advertiser – including those that are of lesser “quality” (an unclear term if there ever was one) – and that advertiser wins the bid, then their ad appears. The thing to keep in mind is that almost every reputable publisher employs dozens of measures to prevent undesirable ads from appearing on their site, through the use of category, advertiser and creative-level blocks.

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