Clients want more insight into the complicated process of programmatic buying.
So French holding company Havas on Tuesday launched the Client Trading Solution (CTS), a customizable dashboard that allows advertisers to track their programmatic campaigns and fees across different demand-side platforms (DSPs) and exchanges in real time.
So far, Spanish telco Telefónica is using the product, and Havas is installing it for another client.
“Advertisers have become suspicious about what’s happening with programmatic,” said Raphael Mirat, product manager at MFG Labs, a technology and data specialist unit within Havas. “They’re not necessarily confident in what their agency trading desks are doing.”
CTS aims to take the mystery out of programmatic by allowing clients to watch as their agency traders negotiate rates with vendors, create targeting strategies and optimize campaigns in real time. Clients can see the cost of media and data and, depending on vendor contracts, control fee negotiations to optimize costs.
“The client can say, ‘This DSP for this volume of billing is going to be a 20% fee, let’s choose another provider that’s a 10% or 12% fee,’” Mirat said. “[Clients] have the control and knowledge of the cost.”
CTS isn’t a bidder, but it allows clients and agencies to manage campaign strategy, audience targeting, pacing and bid recommendations. It connects via API to integrated DSPs including MediaMath, DoubleClick Bid Manager, Criteo, AppNexus, AOL One and Havas' Affiperf trading desk to execute those buys. Clients aren’t required to use Affiperf; all agency teams have access to CTS.
While clients can’t trade on CTS, they can arm themselves with the knowledge to make more insightful suggestions. For example, a marketer may tell an agency buyer to stop buying media with a certain vendor or focus spend on a different geographic area if their buys aren’t performing well, Mirat said.
“If the trader doesn’t do the right optimization, [the client] can send a message,” he said. “It enables them to go beyond transparency to have more power and control over what the agency is doing.”
When Telefónica used CTS on two lead-generation campaigns, it was able to compare DSP performance on both prospecting and retargeting. CTS delivered reduced cost-per-lead across all chosen DSPs and outperformed individual solutions.
“It is very useful having the visibility in real time on the strategies and optimization process implemented in each campaign,” said Cesar Alonso, head of digital at Telefónica Spain in a statement.
Beyond campaign transparency, CTS offers a data repository where clients can store information about past campaigns and use them as best practices in the future. (Havas hasn’t figured out exactly what will happen if a client using CTS leaves the agency, but they will likely get to take that data with them, Mirat said.)
“If you activate media with different partners and trading desks, you’re going to lose this information over time,” Mirat said. “Here, it’s stored in a secure platform at Havas.”
CTS is available to Havas clients for an additional fee that depends on how much the client spends and what capabilities they need.
By giving clients full insight into how a programmatic campaign is managed and run, CTS sets a knowledge base for clients who may eventually want to take programmatic in-house.
“They need to understand what’s done in programmatic to see that it’s complex,” Mirat said. “The issue is not that they don’t trust us. It’s that they don’t understand what’s really going on.”
As CTS develops, it will become more automated by using artificial intelligence capabilities currently built into the platform for bid optimization, budget allocation and inventory scoring. It will also integrate with more DSP partners as well as brand safety and verification vendors.
“Every feature that we build should have more to gain in terms of ability to scale the activity and to improve on performance,” Mirat said.