Bringing Down the House: Is In-House Programmatic the Best Decision for Every Brand?

In-House ProgrammaticColossal brands like Netflix, Allstate and Kellogg have touted doing away with the agency middle man in favor of in-house programmatic. This sounds enticing, but for most brands, building an in-house programmatic suite sounds much easier than it actually is. There’s only a handful of companies with the necessary expertise, resources, scale and data to make in-house programmatic actually work.

Going All-In With Data

Doing programmatic right requires stockpiles of data that inform the decisioning behind automated ad-buying transactions. In order to drive the campaign scale that makes in-house programmatic a worthy investment, a brand must be a data powerhouse. That title is reserved for only a handful of brands—i.e., the aforementioned Netflix, Allstate, Kellogg.

Even for those powerhouses, data collection, organization and management can still pose enormous challenges. The first-party data that brands collect today is valuable: it’s ideal for targeting existing customers you know something about. Brands use this data to run lapsed lead, customer loyalty and site retargeting campaigns. However, first-party data is limited in depth and breadth.There’s much more to those customers than what you see them doing on your website, and there are plenty of consumers out there that are not in your CRM file. In addition, there are the complexities of connecting offline store purchases with online data and profiles. Brands who bring programmatic in house need both first- and third-party data to execute full-funnel marketing.

To gain access to third-party data for in-house programmatic, a brand would need to establish relationships with hundreds of different data sources and then manage the organization of the different data sets. While working with data aggregators may reduce the number of necessary partnerships, a brand would still face significant associated cost and complexity in order to organize and access the depth and breadth of data necessary to make programmatic work.


Learn why brands shouldn’t sleep on third-party data. 

Partner Up

Beyond data, trusted technology partners are needed to make first- and third-party data actionable for programmatic. In order to serve ads to people who might actually engage or buy, programmatic technology must ingest and analyze data and make accurate decisions about which impressions to buy and how much to pay.

Agencies, DSPs, DMPs and advertising technologies have spent decades developing and optimizing proprietary algorithms that evaluate first- and third-party data, weigh the importance of individual data points, and even build predictive models, audiences and bid pricing from them. For brands that desire an accurate and efficient data-driven solution that targets valuable consumers at scale, in real-time, advertising and marketing technology is critical to maintain a desirable competitiveness.

Moreover, these proprietary algorithms and their programmatic application are still changing and evolving. Brands who want to bring programmatic in-house need to consider if they have the time, expertise and resources to continually innovate any proprietary technology that’s developed. The ability to keep pace with the industry and devote the resources not only to develop, but continually optimize, are critical pieces to in-house programmatic as a long-term strategy.

A Peak Behind the Curtain

Many marketers believe that proprietary technology and secretive algorithms hedged by DSPs and DMPs are black boxes that arbitrage and over-charge for what they do. This has caused a shift from total third-party managed campaigns to self-serve technologies that provide more autonomy and transparency.

For brands appealing for more control, DMPs, DSPs and ad tech platforms increasingly offer interfaces that allow more control and insight into what data is used in campaigns and how it’s applied. These platforms can deliver a quasi-in-house solution. For example, a brand could leverage MediaMath as a platform to execute campaigns, and opt to manage the campaign itself.

If you want to bring programmatic closer to home, there are a lot of options for partnerships, ad tech structures and strategies that will compliment your programmatic vision. And for enterprises that still think an all-in, in-house strategy is the key, the truth is that trusted data providers will always have to be the foundation.

To learn more about a self-serve platform that enables marketers and advertisers to access hundreds of offline, third-party data insights and build and activate custom, people-based audiences across every digital channel and device, check out the TruAudience® Platform.

Pete LaFond

About Pete LaFond

As chief marketing officer, Pete leads TruSignal’s marketing group, including marketing strategy, brand and acquisition advertising, product and vertical marketing, events and conferences, social media and public relations.
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