The programmatic buying of brand marketing requires close cooperation between advertisers and agencies.
Programmatic buying, i.e. purchasing digital advertising with the help of automation, has usually been seen as a tactical activity where creativity plays quite a tiny role. However, according to Timo Petänen, Technology and Digital Director at Dentsu Aegis Network, this is a myth.
“Programmatic buying provides excellent support for brand activities as well,” says Petänen.
Research conducted by EffWorks, a UK-based nonprofit initiative aimed to promote the effectiveness of marketing, shows that building a brand increases sales over long term more than short-term sales activities. The development of new digital advertising formats and increased digital skills mean that programmatic buying does not rule out creative and imaginative brand marketing.
But how to build effective brand campaigns in programmatic buying? According to Petänen, the recipe is quite clear. Effective brand campaigns require cooperation. Cooperation, in turn, requires new types of thinking from advertisers and agencies.
“When people first started to engage in programmatic buying, they focused on how to measure the campaign. This leads to first setting up KPIs, in other words indicators, and then building a campaign around them to support the realisation of the key indicators. However, brand activities are measured quite differently, and any changes usually take a long time to produce visible results,” says Petänen.
According to Petänen, the programmatic buying of brand marketing starts with people and cooperation, not the placement of indicators. The advertiser, advertising agency and media agency must come together early on to discuss what they want to do and how to do it.
“When the creative expertise of the advertising agency is combined with the consumer technology skills of the media agency and the advertiser in an early stage, each party can start their work in the best manner possible. This enables them to, for example, initiate the discussion of how and where in the campaign to utilise data quite early in the process,” says Petänen.
Consumer service at the focus
Petänen admits that close cooperation may not always be easy. The planning stage is always laborious, especially when there are many parties to the negotiations. Nevertheless, Petänen warmly recommends engaging in cooperation from early on as advertising activities are very difficult to personalise properly without it.
As an example, Petänen mentions the brand campaign designed for Arla which included 20 different online videos. The videos were tailored for different platforms and targeting needs. The project required a great deal of coordination, but it was successful due to the fact that the cooperation had started early, enabling the advertiser, advertising agency and media agency to have a shared vision of the objectives and implementation.
“It is important to focus on working together to serve the consumer and, above all else, to aim to benefit the consumer. The best outcome for a brand campaign is that the consumer does not even realise it has been personalised. This means that the personalisation is effective but also so generic that the consumer finds it imaginative rather than invasive,” says Petänen.
When to programmatically buy brand marketing? According to Petänen, programmatic buying is efficient when looking for scalability and wanting to utilise several types of media. Petänen does not consider actual budget limitations for programmatic buying. He even encourages startups to try out programmatic buying.
“Great partners are vitally important. For now at least, undertaking programmatic buying on your own does not make sense. However, great partners also enable the development of effective brand campaigns in a programmatic manner.”