Blend people, data and technology for Programmatic success

In May this year, the annual DoubleClick Executive Summit took place in Johannesburg in partnership with Google. Key speakers addressed the gathering of digital agencies and clients to provide insights and learnings around all things programmatic, including consolidated programmatic buying, attribution, measurement and the role of creative in performance media.

The two–part event programme first established how sophisticated online marketing has become, highlighting trends, programmatic deals and creative, and later showcased examples of programmatic success in emerging markets and more specifically, in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).

Wrapping up the program was the ‘Fireside Chat’ interview with Sprout Performance Media Partners and its client, FNB around “shifting into a consolidated digital media mindset”.

Sprout is a leading programmatic display and search marketing agency. Sprout’s CEO, Stijn Smolders was accompanied by Suzanne Myburgh, FNB’s Head of Digital Marketing to share the partnership’s road to programmatic success.

Over the approximate 16–month journey together, Sprout and FNB have been focused on performance and attribution with transparency and innovation on the DoubleClick platform. And, in their Fireside Chat, the duo unpacked learnings and tips from their experience.

The key take–outs are summarised below;

  1. Let go of what you know; performance or display media buying and attribution thinking is a mind– and paradigm shift. Old metrics and KPIs no longer apply and display campaigns are not only about clicks and impressions anymore.

Start to understand the different roles that digital media channels play. Consider whether you are you working with awareness channels or conversion channels. Different channels require different performance assessment tools, so start thinking about unique reach and assisted conversions in the awareness phase, or optimisation towards sales on the conversion phase.

This paradigm shift also applies to campaign strategy and media plans, which no longer exist in their traditional form or shape. Most of the optimisation of a campaign happens on a daily basis and is done based on campaign performance data from previous days. Programmatic optimisation is in real–time, which allows room for flexibility and change in tactics for greater efficacy.

  1. Avoid looking at a channel’s performance in isolation of other channels, i.e. silo thinking. Also, a high number of low cost search conversions might be a result of a well targeted and executed display or video campaign. By connecting these channels and being able to measure the attribution of display and video on the search performance, search conversions can grow by optimising display and video efforts earlier on in the customer journey.
  2. All of the above can only be done if the correct tagging technology is in place. Connect and involve the IT and Development teams to ensure there is a high level of flexibility and availability of tag implementation. Performance buying is a data driven exercise and therefore the right decisions can only be made with access to the right data.

Commenting on how best to integrate programmatic buy–in amongst all key stakeholders within an organisation, Suzanne stressed the importance of involving all relevant individuals from the start, to help them understand how to utilise the various channels in the context of the big picture. She said, “Demonstrate the value that programmatic thinking can bring to the organisation and make the business case for it.”

And in the context of the agency partnership, she shares that it is critical to have robust conversations and challenge each other to co-create a broader technology roadmap strategy.

Stijn added that many of the DoubleClick speaker’s messages resonated with him. He highlighted the growing awareness and necessity to move away from channel silos and focusing purely on metrics. Context is important. He explained, “Rather, understand the customer journey and the phase in which you need to apply the message to.”  He emphasised the value of tracking consumer intent moments and using signals in creative to increase relevance and deliver personalised messaging. “Combined with tagging on a website and using the right data, will result in an effective online marketing campaign,” he concluded.

Overall, it’s clear that programmatic is big and it’s growing. In fact, globally programmatic spend has doubled in three years. Already in the US, display is outdoing search. The benefits of working with a skilled digital marketing agency will ensure that clients can tap into the sweet spot when consolidating technology, data and people, to track and scale performance based marketing campaigns.

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