It’s time to start a revolution!

A fresh look at programmatic marketing, hard evidence and new insights

Nick Reynolds
Nick ReynoldsChief Marketing Officer Asia Pacific
As Chief Marketing Officer for Asia-Pacific at Lenovo, I am responsible for marketing PCs, tablets, smartphones, enterprise servers and storage, in a diverse and fast growing region. I’m an energetic and highly driven marketing leader who embraces innovation and has a deep understanding of the customer-led, digital transformation happening in the current market. I joined Lenovo in 2007, bringing with me a wealth of expertise from both sales and marketing roles built at several FORTUNE 500 companies including Dell, Apple, Gateway and SABRE.

Follow me on Twitter @nickonthemove

Originally published on LinkedIn

Programmatic marketing and automated display advertising is not a ridiculously hard sell. In fact, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

In a perfect world, who wouldn’t want their well-crafted online advertising to materialise in front of the right eyeballs, in the right context, at the right time? Who wouldn’t want to boost conversions and improve campaign spend efficiency via automated ad buying and placement? I’m guessing, nobody!

Of course it’s not an entirely perfect world, and some of the programmatic creases are still being ironed out. But when it comes to how we’re able to better optimise digital marketing today, I’d say we’re well on the way toward an ever-improving model.

Certain trends and wow-factor benefits are emerging, so I wanted to take a look at a few different examples and approaches from different industries to understand what’s working.

Categories, clicks and conversions

The Economist ran an award-winning campaign in 2015 targeting curious readers who’d previously been reluctant to take out subscriptions. Page context and viewer profiles were assessed in real time, which meant the right kind of ad and message was served up. The results were super encouraging. (650,000 new prospects, more than 3.5 million people taking action, and a campaign ROI of 10:1).

At AirAsia, the marketing team used programmatic marketing and CRM data in an interesting way following a tough reputational year for the airline. Display and video ads were used via a Facebook campaign based on segmented customer groups, using differing creative for each audience. I was impressed with their results – a 30x return on ad spend, and 20% of their video views coming from the airline’s most highly valued audience.

Finally, while enjoying my breakfast cereal the other day, I came across some inspiring results achieved by Kellogg’s (Apologies for the Dad joke!). The business used a programmatic buying and measurement approach, specifically via Google’s DoubleClick platform. Its aim was to move beyond traditional marketing channels, and drive better awareness and engagement. And it did just that, boosting viewability rates online to over 70% while improving customer targeting by two-three times.

To in-house or not to in-house

There’s been a shift around bringing the management of programmatic marketing spend back in-house, and I can talk about our own experience with that in a moment. According to Ad Age and ad-tech company Index Exchange, the fastest-growing category of programmatic spending is from in-house teams.

In Australia, Foxtel made the decision to move more of its programmatic activities in-house, and data ownership issues were only part of the story. The larger your business, and the more that programmatic marketing is core to your business, the more likely there may be greater benefits for moving it in-house. But there are degrees to how much of the function you choose to absorb, so it’s best to consider everything and work with your partner agencies on the issues at play. The team at Foxtel are happy with their decision a few years ago to manage it internally, citing up to 100% uplift in effectiveness in some instances.

Our experience with in-house programmatic

As for what we’ve done at Lenovo, well, we’re obviously focused on innovation (maybe even obsessed) which makes sense considering we’re a global consumer tech brand. To that end, moving programmatic marketing in-house made sense – so that’s what we did in November 2015 using the DoubleClick platform. In Australia and New Zealand, we then ran a programmatic campaign negotiating direct deals across a number of media networks, which gave us guaranteed access to some of the market’s most valuable online real estate.

I can’t help but mention the metrics, as I was stoked with the outcome. Video had more than 35 million impressions with a 35% completion rate; CPM was $3.36 ($2.54 below target); and Cost Per Click was $1.38 ($1.21 below target).

Overall our in-house programmatic approach model, led to better real-time decisions and positive results, saving Lenovo 30% in operational costs this past year.

It’s through this collaboration and support that we were able to achieve these results.

Sure, these figures look pretty good, but I’m sharing this to help you consider your own programmatic decisions and the savings derived in-house. Being such an exciting and emerging area, there’s still plenty of room for experimentation.

I often say ‘data is a weapon’ – so use it!

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