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Nestle on programmatic: ‘If you brief correctly the transparency is in the actual results’

The oft debated transparency issues that have hampered the online ad world don’t appear to be troubling FMCG giant Nestle, which cites a clear brief and a true collaboration with agencies as the remedy.

It’s a strategy which seems to bearing fruit; three weeks ago Nestle spotted a story on the Daily Mail that featured Amanda Holden speaking about her us of its face cream brand Cetaphil. Nestle called the publisher, said it wanted the programmatic inventory around the article and was willing to buy it nine times above the click through rate. The results speak for themselves – Nestle was unable to fulfil orders of Cetaphil which went through the roof.

Speaking to The Drum at Jellyfish’s Digital Journeys conference, Nestle’s digital lead Gawain Owen said when it comes to transparency the top things to focus on as a client are being clear about the expected KPIs from a programmatic campaign and working in partnership with your agency.

“Ask your agency for log-ins, have an understanding of what good looks likes internally, and then it comes down to briefing – if you brief your agency correctly on what your KPIs are and have log-ins to the platforms and you have a collaborative working relationship with your agency you are going to see performance,” he said.

Owen also reinforced his stance around paying more for inventory, and said that Nestle is willing to pay “more than anyone in the market, fact” to get good inventory with data behind it, which means the FMCG business is essentially buying less but paying more to reach its target audience.

For example, when looking to buy inventory for its Purina dog food brand, Nestle looked at data that revealed only 20 per cent of households own a dog, meaning that for 80 per cent of people seeing the ad it would hold no relevance. To combat this, Nestle went to a publisher and paid five times the price for the ad inventory to have a “one on one” conversation with a dog owner.

“Traditionally media has been traded on a cost per 1000 model without any data behind it,” explained Owen. “If I’m trading on a cost per completed view model but I’m buying it in a CPM model and viewability is only 30 per cent, I know if I can pay ever so slightly more to get 70 per cent viewability my cost per view actually becomes lower.

“By paying slightly more in the waterfall of programmatic – the publishers know when someone goes onto the website from the historical cookie data the likelihood of that person staying on the website – you can actually work with the publishers and the agency in a collaborative manner to get better inventory and naturally you have to reward the publisher a slightly higher cost but it backs out to be more efficient and I don’t think many people understand that.”

Speaking earlier this year at the IAB’s RTA: Lessons Learned conference Owen revealed that moving forward Nestle will be ramping up its focus on programmatic video, an area which he said is still fairly new, but really exciting.

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