Q Thoughts

ownerIQ's staff (aka – "The Q") shares our insights and opinions on how marketers can more effectively impact today's shopper along the digital path to purchase. "The Q and A" provides honest and practical answers to the questions and challenges facing digital advertisers in the areas of second-party data, programmatic buying, shopper marketing, co-operative marketing, attribution, and emerging media.

Give in to Programmatic Advertising to Become Even More Powerful


What’s the difference between feeling powerless and powerful? Personal variations aside, I’m guessing that one of the biggest differentiators is the element of control. When we believe we’re in full control of a situation, our confidence in our abilities to act, to influence a particular course of action or outcome, naturally improves.

We associate a lack of power (or control) with failure, and power with success. So when it comes to our advertising and marketing campaigns, in order to successfully achieve our goals, we must stay in control. We must do it all. It’s the only way. Or so we think…True, powerful actions can lead to successful initiatives; it’s just that you alone cannot possibly control all of the moving pieces involved in what it takes to take a campaign from start to the triumphant finish.

Applying this logic to the age of programmatic advertising and marketing – and assuming that you’re already engaged in programmatic initiatives or are seriously thinking of going the automatic route – here’s my advice: trust in the power of programmatic to do its thing. After all, letting go is really very freeing. Try giving up control of dayparting, demo targeting, frequency capping…you’ll see how great it feels, and you’ll get that much more time back in your day.

Programmatic advertising casts a wide net, finding your in-market shoppers on their ideal path to purchase. The technology assigns a unique score to millions of users for every campaign based on past browsing behavior – all while factoring in attributes like geo, time and day of the week, ad size, channel, and so forth. So while dictating arbitrary targeting constraints, for example, or providing specific domain lists, or narrowing in on specific demographics, is human nature (we all love the feeling of power), it also works to limit the power of programmatic, granting it less control to perform at optimum.

Put simply, constraining programmatic leads to a one size fits all approach for evaluating users.  The technology is at its best and most powerful when it relies on its own mechanism of intelligent automation to decide on media buys, evaluating each user different. That’s really the crux of programmatic’s job.

Years ago, media buyers had but a handful of campaign variables from which to choose and make optimization decisions on during a standard campaign. With the advent of Big Data, however, the amount of information that could be considered and acted on is now simply impossible to process by a human. Let’s take last year’s Cyber Monday, on this day alone ownerIQ’s programmatic technology was serving 11,000 impressions per second on behalf of our advertisers, all while evaluating millions of opportunities per every one of those seconds!

Thinking of scaling this to number to human processing? Take on millions of delivery managers to approach each micro decision across each impression for each campaign. That should do the trick.

In a nutshell, automation was, and still is, the only way to make sense of today’s ever-expanding data. Essentially, placing restrictions on automation is like hitting the pause button on all the progress.

What’s more, at ownerIQ, we’ll often hear from clients requesting a list of performed campaign optimizations. Thing is, our teams are deliberately choosing to nix manual optimizations, instead allowing the power of programmatic to transparently evaluate opportunities against millions of users. The machine is far more efficient at acting on the best data signals and performing calculations and assessments, so why limit its super-human capabilities?

The engines of programmatic are evolving at a faster pace than we humans can even begin to image, so it’s smart to use our power for the betterment of the machine. Not to mention the fact that what’s working today isn’t necessarily what’s going to work tomorrow, and it’s the technology – not the human – that will recognize this fastest.

But not to worry, we humans are still, and will always be, crucial to the performance of a marketing campaign. You see, the ultimate success of a campaign is often dictated before a single impression is ever served – and it’s our responsibility to structure the particulars of a campaign in a way that utilizes the power of programmatic correctly and optimally.

The upshot: ownerIQ puts its best foot forward by working with clients pre-launch, ensuring that all automatic initiatives run smoothly from the beginning. With the power of programmatic (combined with the secret sauce of second-party data) on our side, the possibilities are endless. Just as long as we don’t get in the way of ourselves and continue to use our human power wisely.

Categories:Posts from 2016


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