How Hispanic Digital Agency Media 8 Got Started With Biddable Display Ads

Miami-based Media 8 is one of a growing number of indie digital shops to dabble in programmatic ad buying. Since mid-2011 the Hispanic and travel-focused agency has brought exchange-traded display media to clients including General Mills and Dish Latino.

It has done so courtesy of a relationship with trading desk partner Accordant Media, which provides a hybrid tech/services external trading desk offering for agencies and marketers. Accordant’s agency customers include both freestanding and holding company agencies that want their own audience buying practice.

Media 8’s media director, Hamza Rouissi, tells AdExchanger, “When we started testing biddable media, we approached it from the Hispanic angle. We work with General Mills and have seen some very good results for their direct response campaigns. Those are lately oriented toward growing e-mail databases.”

After an initial assessment by the media team on whether to use biddable media for a given campaign, Media 8 works with Accordant to lay out tactics for the buy, including budget, optimization parameters, and goals, whether direct response or branding.

As of now Accordant executes the buy and handles bidding on a daily basis, but Media 8 plans to take over those functions after getting certified and trained on the platform. Media 8 does stay involved in optimizing within the tactical framework of a campaign, shifting budgets from one campaign line item to another based on performance.

And speaking of performance, Rouissi says, “We’ve seen lift from specific campaigns where cost per acquisition is up to two-fold more efficient.”

For Dish Network’s Hispanic division, Dish Latino, programmatic buying is still not the best performer within ongoing campaigns. “There’s a good trend and a chance it could be a top performer soon – especially within display.” In other words, search has the leg up, but clients are ever more receptive to exchange trading.

Viewable Impressions

No surprise: Rouissi said content quality remains a significant concern for clients buying on exchanges. He argues the movement toward a viewable impression standard could help accelerate their acceptance of biddable media.

“We should embrace it. I know there’s still some debate, but specifically in biddable media I think it would do a tremendous job at unlocking more dollars from a client perspective,” he said.

In terms of its in-house capability, Media 8’s long-term goal is to have a dedicated team for biddable display. These people would have a similar mindset to search managers, but the skills of display media planners.

Media 8 has no firm plans to build or buy technology; it’s happy with a licensing/partnership arrangement with its trading desk. In addition to Accordant, companies with a range of related (but different) offerings include The Trade Desk, Netherlands-based BannerConnect, London-based Infectious Media, and Run DSP.

“We have to be careful making decisions in terms of investment. There’s value in an independent agency partnering with an independent trading desk to offer solutions that make us more competitive with the bigger agencies,” Rouissi said.

By Zach Rodgers

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