Brands Voice Lingering Concerns About Programmatic

roundWhile some brands migrate ad spend to programmatic practices, others are stymied by a lack of understanding.

For instance, some marketers continue to think that programmatic only refers to transacting on inventory in an open exchange, unaware that automation can be applied to certain aspects of direct deals as well.

In fact, programmatic direct deals have helped ease former holdouts into automation. And some powerhouse advertisers have embraced the practice. Procter & Gamble, American Express, AllState, Kraft, Kellogg, and other major brands have committed large fractions of spend to the programmatic channel.

Still, there are some lingering questions as some brands continue to be concerned about fraud, quality of inventory and potentially damaging direct relationships with sellers.

AdExchanger asked handful of brand marketers, “What’s the biggest hurdle to understanding programmatic marketing today?”

Click below to read their responses:

Vic Walia, senior director Of brand marketing, Expedia

“With respect to programmatic, the biggest hurdle impacting its potential future success is lack of transparency as it relates to both content and costs. While it has opened up a new way to buy and potentially removed inefficiencies in the process, programmatic comes with a veil of secrecy, which has the potential to lead to fraudulent behaviors. I think programmatic has the potential to play a role within the digital marketing mix, but can not and should not replace targeted relevant ad placement designed to truly engage and connect with users on a deeper level.”

Cezanne Huq, senior director of digital marketing, LifeLock

“At a high level there are three dimensions that present an interesting opportunity for marketers in this era of connected services and digital everywhere: a) aligning the organization on what it means from a business perspective b) how to make programmatic relevant to the existing organization and c) how to operationalize it. The subtext to all of this is there is a trade-off; it’s imperative for marketing leaders to show the value [of] programmatic marketing through a data-centric approach so that it is less of a ‘nice to have’ and becomes a ‘need to have.’ The last thing you want is a strategy without clear outcomes and programmatic marketing done right can deliver in droves.”

Chris McCann, president,

“When shifting toward programmatic marketing, it can be a challenge to understand the entire publisher and inventory landscape. Many publishers don’t want to advertise that they have programmatic offerings so as to not jeopardize the relationships they’ve built through their direct sales team while many others are not set up to sell this way. The DSPs and SSPs have made progress in showcasing the direct publisher opportunities that are available, however there is still significant progress that can be made here. In addition, buying inventory through the exchanges can become opaque and the right controls are needed to ensure that you’re getting the transparency that is needed. Similarly, agencies can add another layer of complexity and further reduce transparency. These issues up and down the supply chain impose a significant burden on the programmatic advertiser.”

Keary Phillips, digital marketing leader, Allstate

“Simply understanding how programmatic works technologically can be challenging – particularly understanding how to access RTB inventory. It’s hard to get your head around the fact that you’re using an automated platform to buy inventory in 200-millisecond increments based on hundreds if not thousands of attributes. I think there is also not consistent understanding on what inventory is available for programmatic purchase. This can range from public exchanges and RTB, to private marketplaces and programmatic guaranteed.”


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