Clarity and transparency in programmatic advertising are issues being faced by the majority of brand advertisers, as discovered by eMarketer; and there is now a much greater demand for visibility of what’s happening behind the scenes.

Transparency is becoming something that is more and more widely discussed, and the lack of it is fast becoming something those in the industry are being pulled up on.

Data and fee transparency in particular are a priority for many brands who want to understand the true cost of third-party data, or CPM mark-ups; and have the reassurance that their data is their own and not being sold on.

As a brand, how do you begin to start taking more control of your campaigns?

Take a look at our guide here, and get started now with our three steps below:

1. Check your contract

As one of the biggest investments for a company, any marketing spend needs to be justified in terms of ROI, so as a brand, you need to know exactly how this budget is being spent by your agency and what results it’s driving.

With programmatic display campaigns, there can often be a number of third-parties involved in delivering these campaigns, sat behind the scenes. It might be that these third-parties are there to provide certain necessary technology or perhaps brand safety tools; whilst others might be admin, but not actually adding any value.

You should receive a breakdown of exactly how your budget is being used, including fees for all involved parties - any media owner, supplier or agency should be able to give you this.

Key actions:

  • Talk to your agency or supplier today to find out exactly how much of your budget gets signed off as “media spend”.
  • Take a look at what costs are being reported on, there might be a ‘gross’ or ‘net’ figure you’ve not seen before.
  • Identify what the true CPM that’s traded in the DSP is, and the full cost once all parties have been paid.
  • Find out the true number of parties involved and find out how they’re being paid. And then work out whether they actually add value.
  • Work out the real cost of your data, and how this looks compared to the performance being driven.

2. Use your data

The ROI of your digital media campaigns comes down to their measurability. The data that you receive from your campaigns can be fed back into your wider marketing strategy, optimising your marketing activity and solving business challenges.

To be able to really make the most of this data, it needs to flow both ways. The audience data you can receive from digital media campaigns can help you to really understand your customers, such as their lifestyle, behaviours and consumption. Your own data can be used to help you find more of your best customers in a more efficient way, or enable you to re-engage with lapsed customers.

Even device data can be used to help you build a picture of what your audiences are responding to and how they consume media - which can shape some of your other marketing activity.

The data from your digital media campaigns should be fully exportable so that you’re able to use it for analysis and reporting.

Key actions:

  • Are you clear on where your digital media campaign data is held and how it’s being used?
  • How often are you receiving insights into your audience and their behaviour online - and is this being used to feed into your other marketing campaigns?
  • Is this audience insight being passed back to your business to improve your customer understanding?
  • Are you able to export the raw customer insight data to feed into your attribution and measurement methods or tools?

3. Get campaign visibility

A good agency will take the time to educate your team on exactly how programmatic works, and the details of the campaign. This should include taking you through the placement targeting, the brand safety controls in place and their buying methods.

As long as the right safety measures and integrations are in place, then time should be spent on valuable input such as:

  • Keeping up-to-date on what’s new
  • Optimising the strategy
  • Measuring performance
  • Taking time to understand the competitor landscape
  • Solving wider business challenges

It is important to see immediate performance, but you also need help your business grow - for example, ongoing customer retention and strengthening relationships are key, such as the lifetime value or renewal rates.

Key actions:

  • Do you know how much of the campaign is automated vs manual?
  • What actions are being taken to improve performance and test new areas?
  • Are you being told how many unique users were exposed to your campaign?

More than just costs

As you can see, gaining transparency on your display campaigns applies to more than just clarity of fees and how your budget is being spent, it relates to your data as well and how this is used.

You shouldn’t be in the dark about any element of your campaign - and your media owner, supplier or agency should make campaign visibility as easy as possible for you, and allow you to feed any data back into the rest of your marketing activity, as well as your attribution methods.

Take a look at our guide on display transparency here to learn more about how we give our clients complete clarity and understanding of the activity we run for them, and how you can spark the same conversation with your media supplier or agency.