Why Moving Programmatic In-House Should be Out of the Question
The U.S. is the largest programmatic market and has been at the forefront of implementation, so you would think that the market’s comfort with the function manifests itself by appointing control to buying partners.
The rise of the fastest-growing segment of media-buying—programmatic advertising, increase in data privacy regulations, and impending removal of cookies has caused a growing demand for transparency and control over data among brands and agencies. As a result, the idea of taking programmatic operations “in-house” has been circulating. However, a DIY approach does not always work best. There are myths driving the notion that taking programmatic in-house is the best option for brands and agencies, and we will discuss these in this article.
Myth #1: My First-Party Data is Enough for a Successful Strategy
No one understands your customers, products, and services better than you do. Fueled by a rise in data leakage, misuse, and the legal restrictions of GDPR, many brands are justifiably seeking to keep and control their own data. Keeping data in-house, ensuring it is “protected and safe” has become a top priority for many organizations. Data-activated programmatic cuts through the noise, helping brands build one-to-one relationships with consumers at scale. However, by only using first-party data, brands are limiting their capabilities and insights.
As an established industry partner, MNIx has access to a larger pool of data, including owned, borrowed, and rented data. This larger pool allows us to combine your first-party data with the third-party data we access to create a 360-degree view of your consumers. We ensure that data is protected, there is full transparency when using first-party data, and legal data licenses are established with our clients. Limiting your campaigns exclusively to first-party data means you are missing out on potential opportunities.
Myth #2: Going In-House Will Save Time & Resources
Programmatic advertising is a combination of talent, strategy, trading, operations, technology, and data. The process of moving programmatic in-house is complex, difficult, and requires a significant amount of planning. Unfortunately, many brands and agencies underestimate the investment of time, support, and resources they will need to effectively implement and maintain an in-house programmatic stack.
Programmatic in-housing has a significant impact on internal company structures. Building an in-house programmatic team will require more bandwidth—more staff with a specific skill set and in-depth knowledge of the programmatic space. A programmatic team is usually comprised of several different roles, including:
Programmatic planning and strategy team to determine best practice media types, data partners, budget size, and execution strategy for campaigns
Activations teams to properly set up each piece of a campaign to the proper platform
Trading teams to buy, optimize, and troubleshoot within buying platforms
Account management teams to be client facing, explaining what the trading teams are doing and also managing client expectations
Reporting teams to take data from disparate sources and combine it into a single view with a set cadence
Organizations will likely need to beef up their “toolbox”, which could end up costing way more time and effort. By using a programmatic partner like MNIx, agencies and other entities looking into the programmatic space have more time to focus on their core strengths and selling points.
Myth #3: Building a Trade Deck In-House is More Cost Effective
The cost of new staff, new technologies, additional fees for demand-side platforms, brand safety tools, and the use of additional data offset any “savings” regarding external media buying. There has been a noticeable amount of concern focused on revenue leakage in recent years. Many smaller agencies and advertisers believe that by buying themselves, they can cut out the middleman and significantly save on programmatic ad buys. The reality is, a programmatic partner like MNIx has true buying power, as it buys in volume for many clients, which results in discounts. These discounted rates also come with the guarantee that the client has the best access points, with the buying partner taking all the risk if the campaign fails to deliver, not you.
Many companies do not take into account the other hidden costs that agencies absorb. When you partner with a buying entity like MNIx, you have access to their vendor relationships without the expense, time, effort, licensing, subscriptions, and legal fees required to maintain those relationships. When a buying partner handles programmatic, you only pay as you go, leveraging pre-existing economies of scale to bring down fees and meet platform minimums. All the upfront costs of hiring, training, onboarding, and scaling are absorbed by the partner.
Fact: Working With an Outside Programmatic Buying Partner is the Smarter Investment
While bringing functions in-house may seem like it would increase control and save money, it is not the most practical way to succeed in the programmatic space. Brands and agencies face numerous challenges in their move towards in-housing. Ultimately, the support of an outside programmatic buying partner remains crucial. When asked about top objectives for current and past programmatic in-house initiatives, U.S. brand marketers listed1:
ROI attribution (48%)
Cost efficiency (43%)
Campaign effectiveness (42%)
Better audience targeting (40%)
Data management and data ownership (36%)
Real-time optimization (34%)
Extended audience reach (27%)
Cross-channel planning and execution (16%)
MNIx addresses each of these initiatives—providing full coverage, data and performance transparency, and brand safety. MNIx has the industry experience, expertise, resources, and unmatched inventory access needed to fully maximize media investments in an increasingly complex programmatic space. Our trusted partnerships give us access to valuable, high-quality inventory and tactics, and the ability to customize plans to fit every clients’ needs. Our knowledgeable team of experts and competitive solutions empower brands and agencies while eliminating blind spots and ensuring compliance.
By moving programmatic operations fully in-house, agencies and advertisers risk missing out on potential growth opportunities, limiting inventory options, and losing access to valuable placements. Are you really willing to take that risk?
Brooke Willcox is Director of Digital Business Development at MNI Targeted Media and its two business units, MNI and Harpoon Digital. With more than ten years’ experience in the digital media industry, Brooke excels at evaluating the digital landscape and emerging trends, to identify prospective partners across media solutions, data partners, technology platforms, pricing models, custom campaign tracking and analytics, audience insights, verification tools, creative, and programmatic platforms.