For marketers considering bringing programmatic advertising in-house, Jounce Media founder Chris Kane has a word of advice: Break the process into steps.
"There are a lot of ad tech companies that are selling the dream to marketers that you're going to follow the Netflix playbook," he says. "You're going to hire a team, you're going to run what feels like a trading floor."
But it's not that easy.
In the 20th episode of AdExchanger Talks, Kane offers suggestions for how to pull off an incremental in-housing process. And he doesn't endorse firing your agency entirely.
Kane often encounters marketers who want to bring programmatic buying in-house in one fell swoop. But there are other things to do first, he cautions.
"What I've seen work best for most marketers is, start with data management," he says. "Media buying is harder than it's made out to be. It takes a lot of effort to do the constant blocking and tackling of campaign execution. Data management is potentially more strategically valuable for a marketer and much easier to execute."
Kane asks his most eager clients whether they’ve organized their first-party data around a data management platform, whether they’re sourcing exclusive third-party data, whether they’ve brought their measurement in-house and whether they’ve built custom attribution models.
"Do all of these things first, before you think about actually executing media in-house."
Why is media execution so difficult, exactly? Part of the issue is the ad tech space is still not mature. DSPs commit errors frequently, and you end up on the phone trying to sort out why it went offline or why you overspent on budget. Additionally, the high-octane M&A environment in ad tech means your partner may be acquired and thus imperil your considerable investment in managing it.
"This is a volatile industry," Kane says. "If I'm a marketer who is going to put my reputation on the line to basically fire my agency and bring all of this media-buying functionality in house, I have got to feel a high level of confidence that anything that can be controlled is going to work properly."
But for those willing to weather that volatility, it's a pretty great time to be an ad tech customer.
In addition to heavy price competition, "There is such a sense of urgency on the part of these platforms to create differentiators… as the buyer of this tech there is a remarkable amount of opportunity to shape the product. I'm shocked by their ability to go to ad tech companies with crazy product demands. Everybody says yes. It's unbelievable, and I think it creates a real opportunity for the buyers of technology."
Also in this episode: Financial pressures on today's CMOs, the measurement games publishers play, new sources of innovation in ad tech and the impact of header bidding on the buy side.
This episode is supported by Acxiom.