Direct or DSP?

By October 20, 2020Uncategorized

Most marketers are familiar with the concept of programmatic advertising. As TV viewing habits change by the day, it’s become increasingly important for marketers to gain an in-depth understanding of user behavior. Staying competitive in this new era requires companies to pinpoint exactly what content consumers are watching—and on which devices.

Marketers must also adapt to an ever-changing media ecosystem, as buying CTV (Connected TV) ads is also changing by the minute. Programmatic CTV advertising allows brands to track ad effectiveness in real-time. Boasting increased control, efficiency, and performance insight, this type of advertising provides incremental reach from cross-channel media exposure.

Let’s break down this marketing jargon. Basically, programmatic provides a holistic view of the consumer journey. Consolidating the buying process into one platform allows advertisers to benefit from the insight and measurement that have become characteristic of digital.

So, what does this mean to you? It means you need to fully understand how CTV is purchased and the pro’s and cons of buying directly with publishers versus buying programmatically.

Breaking down the walled garden

Data-driven content is truly exciting stuff. Providers offer a slew of services that tie together through anonymous IDs, which are activated to create personalized recommendations and targeted ads across services. For consumers, this means customized viewing options that span devices and formats. It’s now possible to binge watch trending shows on subscription video on demand (think Netflix or Amazon Prime Video), catch sports via live TV, and stream movies via video on demand (think DIRECTV).

But it’s a little more complex for advertisers. While this plethora of data opens the floodgates, it’s also introduced fierce competition. Due to commoditization, it’s challenging for advertisers to reach audiences. Data is the gold standard for service providers, content publishers, and tech platforms. And this has resulted in companies creating silos in hopes of controlling and consolidating data.

Buying direct creates a one-way stream between your brand and a publisher or provider—and sets up what’s called a walled garden. Basically, walled garden advertising establishes a closed ecosystem operated entirely by people within that bubble. Because companies house all their tech and data internally, inclusivity is the foundation of walled garden advertising. While many big names provide access to large networks, putting your eggs in one basket severely limits your reach.

Increased Reach, Improved Inventory

So, why would a brand still buy direct? For starters, brands assume they’re playing it safe by staying within these ecosystems. While it’s understandable that marketers want to understand where they’re investing, this method of thinking actually limits a brand’s exposure. By relying on a single provider, brands restrict themselves to a single company’s inventory and audience.

Working with household names can be a strong brand play—and the big players come in handy when companies are looking to make a big splash. While there’s nothing inherently wrong about driving brand awareness, it’s important to consider your long-term goals. Programmatic provides so much more than a brand play. Thanks to its digital measurement capabilities, it pinpoints ads based on not only demographics, but browsing history, user intent, and IP as well.

That’s where a Programmatic steps in

Unlike the walled garden model, programmatic provides virtually endless exposure and improved access to inventory. Instead of humans, machines analyze what’s played on which devices—and how it’s performing in real-time. This helps brands increase the reach of their ads, all while ensuring consumers aren’t receiving the same ad twice. For example, companies may ask for an ad on ESPN+. Or, they’ll want to run a spot on Hulu. But what happens when you have a sports lover who’s also a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale (like in the model above)? Why shill out extra money to buy directly with the big guys when you know your audience is spending time elsewhere?

Attribution Modeling & Reporting

Despite the tech at our fingertips, programmatic still requires a human touch. In addition to limited reach, the walled garden approach suffers from limited reporting capabilities. Generally, publishers only provide high-level insights like impressions and clicks. And while many publishers may throw a few buzzwords at you (think: data-driven performance marketing) and call it a day, they often fall short with attribution, measurement, and overall incremental lift. We’ve seen big players rely on vague attribution models that do not account for the full buyers’ journey.

At SmartMedia Technologies, we treat CTV like any other direct response channel. We provide a full picture of a conversion. You’ll receive the same metrics you would for your digital marketing investments, including attribution and live performance dashboards. This means tracking customer touchpoints across numerous devices. But rather than post-mortem optimization, changes can be made during a campaign. This provides robust, granular tracking and introduces a more efficient way to buy ads at scale.

Leading the programmatic charge

Media buying isn’t dead. We’d argue it’s constantly evolving. Like other forms of advertising, the process has been automated. And programmatic is king these days. So, why rely on outdated direct buying tactics when you can benefit from the future of TV adtech?

At SmartMedia Technologies, we’re updating an outdated buying and selling model. We’re applying the efficiency of digital advertising with the reach of TV. We provide timely, actionable insights based on real data. We consolidate those insights into accessible dashboards that allows for easy reporting and extensive filtering. And we’re all about testing. Ultimately, your results dictate your strategy—and we harness this data to make bids in real-time.

Looking for a team of media professionals to comb through your analytics and make recommendations that scale campaigns and maintain a profitable ROAS?

The future of CTV advertising is here.

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