Creating display transparency: is your provider being honest?

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How transparent are your digital marketing relationships?

Transparency is a hotly debated topic in the world of media and digital marketing right now. There's plenty of buzz around the subject, but very little when it comes to practical advice.

It’s easy to get lost in the many different options doing the rounds, but how do you decide what’s right for you and your business?

The current landscape

Brands can run programmatic display campaigns in many ways, but there are often challenges when it comes to transparency. Working with third-party media delivery partners, for example, may bring undisclosed fees and margins, or less transparent payment models like Cost per Acquisition (CPA).

Working with agency teams that fully disclose all costs, placements and data use will be your best option. Data transparency should be a priority for brands, so they can understand the true cost for their use of third party data or CPM mark-ups. This way, brands can have reassurance that their data is their own, and not being used for the benefit of other advertisers, or even sold on.

How can you achieve clarity on your campaigns?

Take more control of your campaigns, with Epiphany’s simple three-step action plan.

1. Check your contract

Marketing activity is one of the biggest investments you'll make as a company, and anything you spend needs to be justifiable.

With campaigns of this kind, multiple stakeholders may be involved in its delivery. They might be partners recognised for adding value, or necessary to produce a successful campaign - e.g. brand safety tools. Others, however, may add no value at all.

Any media owner, supplier or agency should be able to give you a breakdown of how much of your budget is being used as the final media spend, and where all the involved parties’ fees come from. You might find that there are few parties actually willing to include this in your contract.

Key actions:

  • Find out how much of your budget gets signed off as ‘media spend’.
  • Check reported costs - is there a ‘gross’ and a ‘net’ figure that you’ve previously not seen?
  • Find out what the true CPM that’s traded in the DSP is, and the media cost once all parties have been paid.
  • Check the number of parties involved, and how they’re paid. Do they add value?
  • Find out the real cost of your data. How does that look compared to performance?

2. Use your data

Quality of digital campaigns lie in their measurability. Data from this can be used to enhance wider marketing activity, aiding strategy and solving business challenges.

To make the most of your data, it should flow both ways. Use audience data to understand your customers, and your own data to do things like re-engage with lapsed customers.

Creative and device data can also be used to build a picture of what your audience responds to, or how they consume media. This should be fed into your wider marketing strategy.

Data from campaigns should be fully exportable so you can use it for analysis and feed it into existing measurement tools.

Key actions:

  • Analyse audience insights. How do you use this to improve campaigns?
  • Can you export raw data/log file data to enhance measurement and attribution?
  • Can you ingest your own data to re-engage with customers?
  • Do you have clarity on where your data is held, and what it’s used for?

3. Get campaign visibility

If you’re unclear on how programmatic works, a good agency will educate your team. This should include placement targeting, buying methods and brand safety controls that are in place for current campaigns.

Your programmatic campaign should be made simple - as long as safety measures and integrations are in place, valuable input and time should be spent on factors such as:

  • Keeping a view on what’s new;
  • Strategy;
  • Performance;
  • Understanding competitor landscape;
  • Solving wider business challenges.

Are you happy that your campaigns are reaching your KPIs in the best way possible? While it’s important to see immediate performance, you need to help your business to grow. Ongoing customer retention and relationships are key, such as lifetime value or renewal rates.

Key actions:

  • Do you know how many unique users were exposed to your campaign?
  • How much of the campaign is automated vs manual?
  • What is being done to improve media performance and test new areas?

Transparency, not only for costs but for data and performance too, should be high on the agenda for brands that use programmatic media. Take a look at our guide in more detail here and start taking control of your campaigns.

Emma Ashby is head of programmatic display at Epiphany

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