The Programmatic Divide: Products vs Ads vs CRM vs Technology

As the programmatic era races ahead and the jaw dropping growth continues —eMarketer anticipates double-digit increases in RTB spending each year through 2017 — it’s easy enough to overlook the problems. But just because we’ve come a long way, doesn’t mean we can’t do better. And when it comes to weaving all the different components of a programmatic campaign together, we can still do a whole lot better. Let’s take a look at three issues where the programmatic divides are too wide.

Ads Vs. Products:

Programmatic is designed to show the exact right ad to the exact right person. And yet when that exact right person clicks on an ad, he or she often arrives at a generic landing page intended for all visitors. Personalized ads driving users to your site should follow through with personalized site and communication experiences. After all, the same technology that makes it possible to target an ad also makes it possible to create a far more dynamic and personalized site visit.

Take the example of a CPG product, such as Tide. If Tide knows that I’m a loyal user, why should I arrive at a landing page that’s making the hard sell to a new prospect? Tide should be sending me to a page — such as a sign-up page for a loyalty program — that reflects my ongoing relationship with the brand.

CRM/Offline/Third-Party Vs. Online

The failure to make our sites more dynamic isn’t the only thing we can fix about programmatic. We also need to overcome our fear of using CRM and third-party data (both online and off). Let’s be clear: We never want to jeopardize the privacy of Internet users and would never advocate doing so. But when it’s possible to use valuable data in a non-personally identifiable manner, it only makes sense to do so.

Why is CRM data so important for targeting? Think, for example, of an AMEX cardholder who, because he or she visited a particular AMEX site, now regularly sees AMEX ads aimed at first-time subscribers. Every time that happens, it’s tiny bit of money down the drain. Multiply that tiny bit of money by billions of impressions, and it adds up pretty quickly. This isn’t to say AMEX should never target subscribers, but rather that AMEX should only target them with ads aimed specifically at subscribers, such as calls to renew an annual subscription.

Let’s remember also that the data used in your online campaigns can come from third parties that have online behavioral data and even from third parties that have offline data from brick and mortar stores. Facebook, in fact, has helped lead the way in this area by partnering with third-party data providers, such as Datalogix and BlueKai. The key to the program? The data can’t be used to identify someone. Facebook has used encryption technology to create what amounts to a virtual condom, if you will, for the safe transfer of data from one side to the other.

Technology Vs. Technology

One of the great advantages of programmatic is that it serves as a glue, of sorts, holding together data from lots of different places for a single campaign. And yet sometimes the technology we use — ranging from e-commerce platforms, to CMSs, to DMPs and DSPs — fails to converge at the cookie or user ID level. Stitching all of the data together will deliver a better user experience and value for marketers.

This isn’t to say it’s easy to solve this problem. To make the experience truly seamless, a DMP would need to integrate with a CMS, attribution would need to work with online and offline data, etc. But if we’re not quite there yet, we should at least have a vision of how to get there. After all, CMOs, CIOs, CFOs understand that a more seamless marketing process will also lead to better and more relevant ads for the true stakeholders — that is, the consumers.