The Golden Path To Programmatic Premium

Looking for premium programmatic success? Columnist Melody Gambino outlines the steps brands and publishers need to take to create an engaging premium programmatic environment.

Chat with MarTechBot


Much has been written over the past several years about the battle that traditional publishers have fought to adapt their business models to the dawning era of programmatic media buying. Quite frankly, those publishers are exhausted. Their print businesses in many instances have been completely destroyed.

But then there are those who have fiercely committed to the new data-driven marketing marketplace and have acknowledged the opportunities in this brave new world.

What many companies have realized is that investing in a premium content environment can be the way they can refashion and advance their businesses. In that respect, publishers are looking at a time of great opportunity.

And as the entire industry wrings their hands over the recent reports of the rising consumer adoption of ad-blocking software in their browsers, it is a matter of survival for publishers to do everything possible to create an engaging, authenticated premium programmatic environment where ads are actually welcome.

The core of this effort is the creation and refinement of finely sculpted audience segments based on behavior, interests and context.

As brands demand more consistent and engaging premium publisher environments, they will benefit from a significant increase in consumer affinity. If publishers are serious about this new paradigm, they will ensure that the following foundational elements are in place:

Help Planners Go Premium Programmatic

The programmatic supply chain actually needs to extend more deeply into demand-side organizations. Thus far, programmatic has been restricted to just media buyers and their publisher counterparts.

It is high time that the strategy and planning teams hop on the premium bandwagon and become versed in the nuances and mechanics of programmatic trading. It’s really hard to believe that they’ve been excluded from the program so far.

Until planners and buyers lock efforts, the fulfillment of the most coherent, strategic and effective programmatic strategies will be pipe dreams for clients.

Publishers should take the initiative and coax agencies and clients to work in tandem.

Beyond Viewability: Engagement, Engagement, Engagement

With all of the sniping from both the demand and supply sides regarding the proper application of viewability metrics as currency for digital ad pricing, it’s important to remind ourselves not to miss the forest for the trees.

First of all, the viewability challenge will ultimately be resolved to the point where there will be a common standard that all premium players will apply in measurement of brand campaigns.

We need to understand that viewability is meaningless if engagement doesn’t ensue. Was the message received and absorbed as intended?

Such engagement metrics as length of time viewed, awareness and consideration all need to emerge with greater emphasis as part of a broad industry-wide move toward authenticated impressions.

Companies like Kantar, Nielsen and ComScore have huge roles to play in the creation of a premium programmatic marketplace. They are the ones to lead us toward the marriage of performance and branding metrics, which are attributed to actual sales and true ROI.

The closer cooperation and integration by both the demand and supply sides with these companies will accelerate maturation.

Brand Safety

Premium publishers are also dealing with the challenge of ad fraud, which has the entire ecosystem scrambling. Both the demand and supply sides need to collectively take ownership of cleaning up the marketplace to ensure impressions are real.

Buyers need to deploy third-party software to ensure viewability and legitimate user traffic. Publishers must regulate the release of inventory into an open auction environment and police the trading methodologies to minimize the impact of bots and other non-human traffic (NHT).

Publishers must also ensure that beyond minimizing NHT, they stay vigilant about protecting contextual brand safety. A car ad served next to news content announcing a pile-up on the interstate would clearly be disastrous.

If the ecosystem can deliver on these three measures, then the transition to a premium, private marketplace-driven industry will occur as buyers gain the confidence that comes with purchasing engaged, safe impressions in valuable contexts that will drive up CPMs.

All of this would be supported by fuller measurement of campaign impact well beyond insufficient last-click conversion attribution.

It is clear that premium programmatic success is well within our grasp; we just need to don our swim suits and take the plunge!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Melody Gambino
Melody Gambino is the Director of Marketing at Grapeshot (@GrapeshotRTB), helping the Advanced Keyword Technology provider raise the bar in their US marketing efforts. She has worked for some of the largest and smallest companies in the US, and helped develop and execute cohesive digital marketing programs. Melody currently sits on leadership teams for the NY chapter of Women in Wireless and 212 Interactive Media. She is a Johnson & Wales University alumna and currently resides in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Get the must-read newsletter for marketers.