Attila Jakab, Managing Director at Infectious Media, discusses the questions clients should ask their programmatic agency with Marketing Week.
Transparency should be one of the biggest concerns for any client hiring programmatic support. In 2016, a damning report by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in the US found widespread evidence of media owners paying rebates to agencies based on the amount they spend. This followed warnings by UK trade body ISBA about a lack of transparency in online media buying, particularly regarding ad viewability, brand safety and click fraud.
Charles Cox, head of acquisition marketing at Experian, says transparency was the credit score company’s number one priority when it hired programmatic agency Infectious Media in 2015. The brand was with a different agency prior to this, but felt it did not have a clear enough view of how its investments were being spent.
“At that point we understood enough to know that the level of transparency we were getting just wasn’t sufficient and we didn’t have the control we wanted over it,” says Cox.
“Previously we knew what we were spending – but how that broke down in terms of how much was actually going on media, how much on technology, how much on a management fee to the agency, we didn’t have any visibility over that, so that was really important to us.”
He adds that having a grounding in programmatic gave Experian the confidence to talk about it in more forthright terms during the hiring process. “We wouldn’t have had the knowledge a year before to really know the sorts of questions to ask – to be talking about things like incrementality and granular questions about measurement,” notes Cox.
“In the year and a half since we joined up with Infectious our knowledge has continued to evolve. We still don’t quite have the specialism to run it in-house, but as far as an advertiser is concerned, I think we are reasonably advanced.”
Can you help to train our marketers?
Programmatic is a fast-moving and complex world, so early client-agency discussions should also focus on education. This could include agency staff offering to provide training to client-side marketers on the technicalities of programmatic and ways of optimising the technology.
Attila Jakab, managing director at Infectious Media, notes that levels of knowledge about programmatic will vary greatly across different advertisers. Infectious regularly puts on workshops in which it will seek to offer training and education to its clients.
“It massively depends on how much resource the marketing team has,” says Jakab. “We usually see that marketing teams that only consist of one or two people are massively reliant on their existing agency relationships and so with them you have to spend more time on education.
“But in teams which have people who specialise in display, retargeting or programmatic, you will have at least one or two people who are a lot more into the detail and then you can use them to support further education. Those [client-side] people can help you to educate the rest of the business, which I think is a huge thing.”