Programmatic marketing, which uses automated, real-time bidding to place ads across a variety of channels to relevant and targeted audiences, has been booming across APAC in recent years.
In partnership with Programmatic Pioneers Summit, Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Liting Spalding, Head of Audience Planning and Programmatic, Havas Media Group.
RiA: The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. Would you say it also accelerated the shift to programmatic advertising?
Liting: Programmatic is ever so integrated with different formats and channels, effectively anything that is not search or social could be programmatic. It also brings full funnel implementation and presents great opportunities to leverage the power of data and insights to maximise performance outcomes.
“Programmatic” here includes both open and curated marketplaces, and inevitably we will see an increase of automated media buying. That will also push programmatic and wider digital approaches to be more future proof and innovative, as multi-channel activation and multi dimension audience insights will become more and more important for digital advertising strategies.
It is equally important for the industry to recognise the shift towards digital including programmatic in the context of talent management and development. Skill sets for existing talents would need to be transformed and updated according to the technology changes and market behaviours. All digital teams should have a much more sophisticated talent management and development framework in order to stay competitive. We have been providing training specifically for cross-channel talents, i.e. programmatic specialist to learn paid social, digital performance team to be trained up for paid search for cross-channel implementation, data scientist to be learning how to use DSPs etc. Talent transformation drives digital transformation.
RiA: What are the latest statistics, trends and advanced media buying technologies that marketers are turning to to keep pace with consumers?
Liting: In the context of Cookieless, Apple privacy changes, China privacy law launch, more brands have re-focused on audience strategies as their priorities. It is becoming more and more important to bring more trust in digital advertising, ensuring brands are appearing in suitable – not just safe – content and the environment is audience oriented.
In terms of technologies, brands should take advantage of tools that can bring them operational efficiencies and make informed business decisions. It includes visualisation, analytics, cloud-based tools, effectiveness measurement tools and market intelligence & research tools. Brands and agencies could work together to establish audience management and analytics capabilities.
RiA: What are the challenges of programmatic in 2021?
Liting: The first one is talent growth and retention. In order to bring stability to the industry and adapt to fast-changing technology, a more sophisticated talent management and development framework is needed.
Then, the second is full funnel implementation & measurement. Proving the effectiveness of programmatic in the upper funnel remains challenging. Brands need to be clear about how programmatic adds value into their overall media strategies to deliver business outcomes.
The third challenge is integration with content & creative approaches. Creative design needs to align with the media planning and implementation. There should be a performance mindset during the process of creative and content production.
RiA: How to pioneer a data-driven programmatic approach to media buying to achieve a greater ROI from all your campaigns while keeping costs in check?
Liting: It is proven that if a brand does not stay ahead of the “data game”, the disadvantages will be much more apparent from 2022 onwards. Coming out from a global pandemic, the absolute focus is to maximise ROI, and it is ever so important to do things “smart”, not just “big”. Therefore, brands should have an effective data management approach, suitable technology architecture and expertise. Review your current data structure, have a proper technology infrastructure that is future proof, communicate, align internally and externally to ensure all media implementation is playing a role towards the same vision.
It cannot go without an appropriate measurement framework and insights feedback loop. Business objectives need to be cascaded into media objectives. Establishing a meaningful connection with existing and prospective audiences is key. Understanding the consumer cycles and cross-sell and up-sell strategies have to be aligned accordingly.
RiA: What are the best practices in digital advertising to target audiences with messages that resonate with them at the exact moment they are ready to act?
Liting: First, ensure creatives appear in relevant and quality environments; then ensure suitable measurement framework, adapt appropriate technologies and drive effective communication with all stakeholders. In short, advertisers should look for a sustainable and transparent supply path for media activation, as well as leveraging tools to achieve operational efficiencies and have a clear and appropriate measurement approach (KPIs and benchmarks) throughout strategies, planning, activation and media measurement.
Media strategies have to be aligned with marketing strategies (i.e. loyalty programme), and implementing meaningful content and messages according to the different media strategies is key. Review the message and creative according to different audience behaviour signals. Performance specialists need to understand the process of the creative production team to proactively discuss implementation and targeting within programmatic platforms. This way, they can decide optimal design to maximise the creative performance.
It is important to have a data management framework and technology architecture for business Intelligence to get consumer insights at the planning stage. This requires advertisers to have a dedicated data management architecture, to consider the full cycle of data and evaluate existing audience and performance data quality.
RiA: Tell us a bit about the Programmatic Pioneers Summit?
Liting: I will join the panel discussion about Driving incremental revenue and boosting your bottom-line. The preparation building up towards the Programmatic Pioneers Summit was very thorough and the team has put in so much time and effort on the whole process from doing research on topics, sourcing panelists to recording. With all the work that has gone into it, there is great wealth of knowledge and industry expertise that will surface through this platform and I am very much looking forward to the event.
Join Liting’s Keynote Panel: Driving incremental revenue and boosting your bottom-line – How can you build campaigns that will deliver the ROI to make you look like the rock star you are?