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Trimming the fat in media buying with the help of technology

SteelHouse want to made media buying more simple

The digital media landscape has moved from a people managed into a technology managed business with the average marketer using five technologies and four different vendors. Managing media spend is a daunting process for marketers that can lead to disappointing media buys and performance.

Some of the toughest challenges facing marketers, according to a SteelHouse/Forrester in depth survey, is the use of multiple ad technologies to purchase media. The tools these marketers tend to gravitate towards range from site analytics to data management platforms (DMPs) and demand side platforms (DSPs) to manage their digital media and the report suggests the average marketing team works with five distinct technologies.

Further, marketers tend to use an average of four vendors, with many reporting that their vendors are poor at sharing information and offer inadequate support.

The report reveals that because 58% of US adults are now multi-device digital users, they increasingly expect brands to deliver relevant interactions at the right place and time and within context. Accordingly, marketers are driven to deliver and spend, with 89% choosing to spend on social advertising, while 77% purchase display banner ads, 65% use video advertising and 60% use email advertising. Ad spend is frequent, according to the study, with 41% spending daily on mobile ad networks and 32% spending on programmatic managed service providers.

The study found that within that average of five types of media marketing tools being used, 37% are currently expanding or upgrading their site analytics tools, with 47% currently using these tools. Additionally, 33% are expanding or upgrading the use of their marketing performance measurement tools and 49% are currently using the tools. Content marketing tools (33%) are being upgraded by marketers, and being used by 47% of marketers while 30% are updating their data management platforms (DMP).

One of the biggest challenges for marketers are inconsistencies with vendors, with the average marketer in this survey using four vendors. Lack of information sharing from vendors (48%) is one of the biggest problems for marketers while 48% say the lack of transparency on the pricing of the media buys is problematic.

Increasingly, the study found that marketers prefer a single platform for purchasing and managing digital buys because it simplifies vendor management. With 60% of marketers preferring one vendor, 86% stated that a single platform would have a high or extremely high impact on their ability to measure marketing's impact on their business as a whole.

'The lynchpin of every effective media buyer's practice are the partner and vendor relationships that allow marketing leaders to create truly valuable customer experiences,' the Forrester survey suggests.

The study suggests that marketers should avoid choosing ad tech tools based on inward-facing metrics like click-through rate and look to a unified business outcome to evaluate success. By aligning the ad technology capabilities with business outcomes, marketers are better positioned to make the right choices and avoid the allure of the next new shiny thing.

'Marketers who focus on the "bells and whistles" risk continually testing a perceived innovation that does not get them closer to improving business outcomes,' the report states.

Further, simplifying the technology and minimizing duplication across ad tech capabilities is also key. 'While there is no silver bullet for advertising technology, marketers must be cautious when piecing together their ad tech stacks. Programmatic media buying is complex, and if marketers over complicate their ad technology stacks they run the risk of wasting time and money,' the report suggests.

Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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