Programmatic Video: Going From Tactical to Strategic

Dina-Zelikson“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 Dina Zelikson, senior marketing manager at Intuit.

Programmatically traded media continues its impressive growth, with 2013 spending projected to hit $7.5 billion in the US and $12 billion worldwide, according to Magna Global. Display accounts for the lion’s share of that spending, followed by mobile and then video.

The fact that programmatic video spending trails mobile, given the latter’s challenges with tracking and fragmentation, reveals that the strategic value of programmatic video remains to be unlocked.

Display Set The Course For Programmatic

As it matured, display advertising transitioned from generic, broad audience buying to more targeted, strategic media executions. The transition was largely enabled by the arrival of data management technology and the fact that display is addressable at the cookie level.

Having set the course for programmatic buying, display can serve as sort of a playbook for other channels.

Programmatic display gives marketers the ability to effectively reach data-driven, strategic audience segments wherever they are on the web. Targeting precision is fueled by accessible first and third party data, where prior brand touchpoints and consumer level data enable a level of marketing relevancy that a segment — such as women aged 25 to 54 — could not achieve. To translate this into more tangible terms, you can strategically re-engage an inactive subset of your customer base to prevent churn.

The ability to programmatically buy media against a consistently defined audience is another critical element to bringing strategic value. To get someone’s attention, it is necessary to be able to reach them across the digital ecosystem. Audience syndication functionality in programmatic solves for what is otherwise an existing challenge in media buying.

Bringing Out Unique Value With Video

Video has the unique value to engage through storytelling that a more static medium, like the banner, does not. As such, it’s long been seen as a premium venue for engaging with consumers.

A programmatic approach to video should strive beyond delivering the tactical merits of efficiency and simpler execution. Sure, programmatic can help eliminate waste by reducing off-target buys, but stopping there would be like using a guitar to only ever play three chords.  Only the late Lou Reed could do that and still reach the apex of sophistication.

The programmatic approach provides precision at scale, addressability and agility in a dynamic market.

To unlock the strategic value of programmatic video and move beyond the tactical stage, the industry should discuss how to leverage the unique and inherent advantage of the video medium while harnessing the true power of programmatic. Media buyers should look beyond the gross rating points and one-dimensional demo segments to take on the challenge of connecting a strategically defined audience with a tailored and relevant message.

Follow Dina Zelikson (@DZelikson), Intuit (@Intuit) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. Dina – excellent points about moving beyond the efficiency value proposition of programmatic video and tapping into the unique advantages of the format. In fact, your point is relevant for all media types: display, video, social, audio, and mobile. Assuming that we can now target the same, “right” audience consistently across different media formats (we can!), there is huge opportunity for creating an audience-centric strategic plan that spans many different touch points.

    As you said, the key is tailored creative and messaging that takes advantage of each platforms strengths. I would also add the need to have a performance metric that is aligned with the specific objectives and strengths of a given tactic. Naturally, not every campaign is meant to drive a 5-day view through sale.

    For example, a targeted, programmatic video campaign can be used to educate high value prospects about the product/service. The video can show the product in action, drives home the key value, and creates new demand. An appropriate KPI may be getting new prospects to start researching the product now that the need has been highlighted. At the same time, a targeted Facebook campaign is posting news feed articles to the same prospect audience with success stories of how consumers are delighted with the product. A targeted mobile campaign invites the same group of targeted prospects to download a free App that allows for a 30 day trial. Finally, a series of display banners that focus on one, unique value proposition per banner with a promotional offer is a regular reminder that keeps your product top of mind to the right audience. This coordinated, cross-channel strategy is entirely possible with today’s technology.

    No single tactic on its own is sufficient, but tapping into the unique capabilities of each media type to tell different facets of your product story to the same “right” audience is much closer to the vision and promise of programmatic.

    Brava to Dina for moving the video discussion beyond the basic premise of programmatic (efficiency). Viewing programmatic video through the narrow lens of GRP’s and basic demo targeting is wasting a huge opportunity to tell our compelling story.