How The Media Planning Landscape Is Changing.

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In 2016 Forbes Magazine’s, Kimberly Whitler spoke with the then CMO of Mediamath, Joanna O’Connell to get her insights into the future of media planning and how smart businesses will need to adapt to a more integrated and data driven approach to their marketing.

It was also really interesting to hear Joanna talk about a hybrid media planning model where the agency would need to use intelligence to help make decisions but also personal intervention with media companies to create bespoke packages that fit the advertisers needs.

At Buymedia they are using this model to help advertisers access advertising that is bespoke to their needs, data driven and removes the manual processes involved to achieve more effective advertising campaigns for SME advertisers.

The future of media planning is now here, thanks to Buymedia.

It’s changing because of two simultaneous forces: first, consumer behaviors and attitudes are changing; and second, the ubiquitous availability of data and the advent of sophisticated technology are changing what’s possible in media planning and, critically, media buying, optimization and measurement. Because of how and where people now consume content and want to engage with, and be engaged by, marketing, brands must look at media management holistically, across not only channels—including paid (like display and video advertising) and owned (like their websites, apps and email programs) —and devices, but also supply sources, data sources and measurement approaches that take into account both online and offline activity.

The traditional way a media plan would be built is that a media buyer from an ad agency (typically) would call, for example, Forbes.com – the supply source in this example – and negotiate pricing and placement over the phone. They would talk back and forth, over the phone and/or email, until a specific contract was finalised, at which point an insertion order would be emailed out to the media supplier. Then, finally, an ad tag would be generated and emailed out, and so on and so forth. As you can see, bringing a media plan to life was extremely manual.

However, the world has evolved. In the past few years, you’ve seen the rise of programmatic, where technology has enabled media buyers to log into a platform and have direct and instant access to purchasable inventory. In the early days of programmatic, advertising inventory existed in a giant pool inside of ad exchanges, which were basically marketplaces. This was a huge process innovation. But it didn’t yet solve for the need for buyers and sellers to interact on a one to one basis, and contract more specific pools of inventory or audiences. Today, that’s changed: the best of programmatic is still in place – the process efficiency along with real time decisioning and optimization, but you are seeing a return to relationships and direct negotiations. That said the negotiations are occurring over non-traditional things, such as pass-back rights, data rights, etc. For example, as a buyer, I might want to negotiate with Forbes.com (the supplier) for rights to get access to use its user data to inform my media program with Forbes.com and potentially even outside the boundaries of the Forbes.com site. That requires a direct interaction. In the future, I think we’ll see more and more “traditional” type buys, where buyers and sellers negotiate on placement, audience, packaging, guarantees and more – being powered programmatically.

It’s been a pendulum swing over the last ten years. Going back in time to the mid-2000s, you saw the rise of third party data providers. These third party data aggregators don’t typically own the data, but rather integrated several data sources into audience segments for companies to purchase, enabling both insight and audience targeting. Agencies and their marketer clients had enormous interest in using these third party aggregators to target audiences in media, as it took them beyond the traditional limits of “content as proxy for audience”, the paradigm used since the advent of advertising. Then, about five years ago, savvy marketers started to recognize that they were already sitting on valuable audience data–their own. 1st party data can come from a range of places including CRM databases, email campaigns, online and offline transactional data, etc. and can power both insights and targeting, and the pendulum swung heavily toward first party data as the best and only answer.

Today, marketers are realizing that the answer likely lies somewhere in the middle–that is, that first party data is a great foundation that can be augmented with second (back to my Forbes.com example above) and third party data to have a richer understanding of their best customers and to build look alike models based on those customers, all for the purpose of targeting them with marketing to drive better business results.

Measurement is the biggest ongoing challenge that marketers face. The traditional measurement framework relies on marketing mix modeling, using a top down approach, that is, regression analysis, to understand how different channels and marketing tactics influence purchase, typically in-store purchase. These analyses are big undertakings; they typically would be run about every six months or a year, with an output that would help a marketer understand optimal channel mix.

Now, in the digital world, everything is both instantaneous and highly trackable, and therefore, measurable. With multi-touch attribution, a bottoms up approach to understanding how individual digital marketing touch-points lead to a user conversion (like an online purchase), you can get near real-time insight into how your marketing is performing and how your tactics are interacting. What display ads did the consumer see? What search links did the consumer click on, etc. and how did those individual ad experiences contribute to that user’s behavior? And even better, we now live in a world where a marketer can directly port the output of a multi-touch attribution system into a programmatic platform like ours to make smarter, real time buying and optimization decisions. What is still underdeveloped is the ability to fully connect all marketing interactions with the consumer to what happens in the store. There is meaningful progress in closing the gap between online and offline journey mapping, but it’s not closed yet.

It has changed on a lot of fronts. For example, I was a media planner and buyer at Razorfish (a large digital agency) in 2007. My job was to put together a media plan to hit a CPA (cost per action) goal. I did that by spending time on the phone negotiating packages with individual publishers. Like I described earlier, we would send excel spreadsheets back and forth and finalize a contract manually. And then when the campaign went live, we’d have to download the performance data, say, weekly to see how things were doing and we might make some manual decisions on how to optimize the buy. At that point, we’d get back on the phone to renegotiate the contract to be able to change the plan. And all that would influence how we planned the next campaign.

Now I can login into a platform and set up a business goal—say, return on advertising investment (ROAS)—set the target audiences I want to reach and then launch a plan, all inside a single platform. The business goal that I set inside the platform will inform real-time decisions and optimisations. With today’s machine learning technology, the platform will only get smarter over time, driving performance up.

I was just on a panel and we were discussing the fact that CMOs largely don’t understand the complexity of these changes. But, CMOs do understand that technology and data are now the levers that will drive significant performance enhancements and so they’re more commonly leaning in to get more involved in the decision making. While it used to be the case that agencies had a lot more discretion to make decisions around data and technology partnerships, marketers are actually taking a more hands-on approach to the decision making. CMOs recognize that a great consumer experience that transcends channels, formats and devices will be powered by data and technology, and that efficient, scaled business performance will be the resulting benefit to their organization.

In aggregate, this means marketers need to steep themselves in data, technology and advanced measurement techniques to not only stay ahead of competitors but to also drive actual, incremental business results for their companies. These changes have the power to move marketing from “cost center,” its traditional home, to “revenue engine,” where it belongs.

For the full article – The Media Planning Landscape

If you want your business to take the next step into the new media planning landscape contact us today to find out what’s the first step – hello@buymedia.ie

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