2017 Predictions & Achieving Goals through Programmatic Advertising

Fine Point Grey James Haagenson, Programmatic Campaign Manager

2017 Predictions & Achieving Goals through Programmatic Advertising

(26-minute podcast)

As 2017 begins, we kick it off with predictions for the future of digital marketing and particularly what benefits marketers could see from programmatic advertising. We look at what it will take to effectively leverage this powerful tool, taming the programmatic wild west with transparency, avoiding click & data fraud, great programmatic partners including Integral Ad Science, Live Intent (programmatic e-mail), and Sanya TV (TV ads), as well as the experiences of Point It’s clients. Our host, Maureen Jann, Director of Marketing is joined by James Haagenson, one of Point It’s programmatic marketing experts. We also dive into the advertising trends, blending online & offline retail, and final holiday numbers.

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Featured Experts:

James Haagenson, Programmatic Campaign Manager, Point It Digital Marketing

Guests and Experts

James Haagenson, Programmatic Campaign Manager, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio:  James Haagenson is a customer-service focused, strategic brand consultant who is focused on the innovative world of programmatic advertising. James started out serving the Seattle software giant in the Microsoft Retail Stores and now he is an Associate Ad Ops Manager on the Programmatic Advertising and Display Team at Point It Digital Marketing.  In his current role, he helps clients get maximum business results by offering digital advertising strategies and executing on them. James has a degree in Music Technology and Composition from Seattle Pacific University and enjoys playing in his band, the Castle Dwellers.


Maureen Jann, Director of Marketing, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: Maureen Jann is a veteran B2B marketer whose career in Digital Media has grown up with the Internet. A self-described jill-of-all-trades, Maureen has elevated creative problem solving to an art form and enjoys the daily challenges of driving business results in unexpected ways. Her skills as an entrepreneur, content marketer, creative director and passionate people manager set her apart from the pack. Maureen has worked in every corner of marketing making her a skilled tactical resource as well as a strategic partner.  Recently, she was the captain of the marketing ship for an award-winning professional services firm and is currently creating a content marketing strategy for Point It, a digital marketing agency.



Maureen Jann: Welcome to Fine Point, a weekly digest of digital marketing updates. Each week we feature industry experts and some interesting guests to talk through what’s happening in digital marketing. I’m Maureen Jann, the director of marketing at Point It, a digital marketing agency here in Seattle, Washington, and I’ll be your hostess. I have a cold, so you’ll have to forgive me. I’m a little crunchy today but happy new year everybody. I know we’re mid month and that probably seems a little late but the fact of the matter is everybody and their very cute dog is coming out with prediction season type articles and webinars, and we’re not immune to the allure, so we’re going to talk about what’s happening in 2017 in programmatic advertising.


Along with headlines, we have James Haagenson, one of our programmatic campaign managers, and he is going to talk about programmatic in 2017, so welcome James.


James Haagenson: Hello. Happy to be here.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, delighted to have you. Let’s talk headlines. My network is talking about agents, actually we’re talking about holiday numbers and visual content and then myths of programmatic delivery, so you know, perfectly timed considering what our topic is today.


James Haagenson: Yes.


Maureen Jann: Yes. One of the interesting things that came out last week was final holiday figures, 92 billion in e-commerce. Omni Channel Retail had a big share and this comes from Marketing Land, which is kind of, they’re an authority for us. We spend a lot of time on that site doing a little research. Are you guys finding that your holiday numbers are starting to shape up?


James Haagenson: Yes, they definitely shaped up quite well.


Maureen Jann: Yeah?


James Haagenson: Yeah, and I’ve seen other articles around saying this was one of the biggest e, at least e-commerce holidays that we’ve seen, so that’s … It was exciting. We were blown away by the numbers that we were seeing coming out of a lot of our campaigns. We were like, “Oh, I think this will go pretty well,” and then we woke up on black Friday and we were like, “Oh my gosh!”


Maureen Jann: That’s so funny. Well, I mean it’s funny because out of 61 shopping days in the period, all but five saw at least one billion in online revenue according to this article, which is like major. I mean, did we do all of that?


James Haagenson: Yeah, I think we did at least one billion.


Maureen Jann: Only one.


James Haagenson: Then maybe they didn’t even see the rest of what we did.


Maureen Jann: Cyber Monday, November 28th, was the largest single holiday of online spending, generating 2.7 billion comScore reported. That is major. That is no joke. Overall retail sales exceeded one trillion, according to various estimates, and e-commerce was just 9% of that total. What’s interesting about this is that it’s both the physical and the online presence and it just goes to show that you can’t discount the end person stores anymore. It’s just not an option.


James Haagenson: No.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


James Haagenson: Yeah, I think the struggle for those retailers now is figuring out ways to connect their online and their offline, or in-store experiences because that tends to be, customers expect that and so when they go into the store and the person’s like, “Oh, I don’t really know how, that’s a good different branch of our company,” or like, “What am I supposed to do? I bought this online.” I think that that’s going to be something that we’ll see as technology moves forward, we’ll start to see a lot more integration that way as well.


Maureen Jann: Yeah and it really comes down to customer experience, right? I mean, it doesn’t matter if you’re a marketer or you’re a customer service person, it’s all about in the end how your customer perceived your brand and that is the seamless experience or it should be.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


James Haagenson: It should be. That’s the …


Maureen Jann: Yeah, right? It’s one of the big challenges and it’s funny because like 70% of the total retail spending was with both a physical and an online presence, stores with both of them. It just goes to show that despite the layoffs we’re hearing about, like in Macy’s and stuff, it’s not, that in-store space is not going away and so this problem is just going to grow for people.


James Haagenson: Yeah, and actually I heard on NPR this morning, they were talking about Wal-Mart is increasing their jobs by X number of whenever it was, and they were talking about how last year they were talking about decreasing their jobs, and there’s a, mostly they’re just moving people around because there’s such a bigger increase in that need for e-commerce, especially in places like Wal-Mart that’s so store focused, that they’re having to try and figure out where their resources are best used. That was in interesting tidbit.


Maureen Jann: That is a good tidbit. Thank you for sharing. Let’s move on to our next topic. It’s nine new visual content marketing trends for 2017, and I know content marketing seems a little disconnected if you’re not thinking about it but as an avid content marketer I often have to make that connection between our digital channels and the content marketing. If often provides the call to action for so much of the channel content, or the channel ads that we do, so one of the things I read over at Search Engine Journal was in 2016 53% of marketers said that they published content containing visuals between 91 and 100% of the time. Half the marketers do it most of the time.


James Haagenson: 60% of the time it works every time.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. Well, I mean it’s interesting because like what’s performing are the charts and digital, data visualizations. I blame this all on the cold, my stumbling. Performed decently as did videos and presentations, while gifts and meems performed the best, because of course. Kittens clapping their hands. Who doesn’t love that?


James Haagenson: I know.


Maureen Jann: That’s just a winner. Like we talked about, the whole idea of the call to actions being content marketing so much of the time. How are you seeing visual content impacting programmatic?


James Haagenson: Well I mean, that’s … We do most of our buys or most of our buying with banners or videos and so being able to have something that’s really engaging and really well thought out, I think allows or is what’s going to catch the eye of a consumer, whether that’s a banner on a website or at the beginning of a YouTube video. There are absolutely videos I mostly skip ads on YouTube. I want to get to my content but there are times when there’s such an engaging thing, I’m like, “I got to see what this is,” and I waited and I watch it, and I’m like, “Hey this is working. They’re doing it. They did it.” You know that can be a number of different things. The latest one, it was, there was actors that I was interested in and I was like, “What are they marketing for,” but it could be, sometimes it’s the fact that the product is just so cool, but you know there is absolutely, if you can get a pulse on what people are interested in, that I think starts to really resonate.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. I think that they should make a commercial for the new snuggie. Do you remember the old snuggie?


James Haagenson: Oh yeah.


Maureen Jann: Okay, so the new snuggie.


James Haagenson: Is there a new snuggie?


Maureen Jann: The new snuggie, it was all the rage this year. It was a mermaid tail, so you put it on. It was for kids, and there’s one that looks like a shark, like it’s [inaudible 00:07:19].


James Haagenson: Oh yeah, that’s awesome.


Maureen Jann: I really want one of those.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: They don’t make them in adult sizes, I don’t think. Well, maybe they do. Maybe I just need to go look for it.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, but seriously.


James Haagenson: Well, they didn’t do good enough marketing if you don’t know.


Maureen Jann: Well, I see I think there could be a wicked, awesome video advertisement.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, so anyway, and they should have kitten gifts in it, clearly.


James Haagenson: Clearly or some sort of meem.


Maureen Jann: I think best practice for all clients going forward is more meems.


James Haagenson: More meems and more kitten gifts.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. I think that we’ve just nailed digital marketing right there. Yeah.


James Haagenson: That’s the secret.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, there it is. Okay, so our next one is debunking the myth of programmatic delivery. This is an Ad Age article and we’ve actually done a webinar on this topic, so we’re well versed in this conversation but there was a couple of interesting points that I found a little confusing, almost misnomers. That’s probably not, that was a misnomer about misnomers, that just happened.


James Haagenson: So meta.


Maureen Jann: I frequently describe my job that way.


James Haagenson: It’s true.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. In-house marketers claim that, I think that it sounds like from this article that in-house marketers think that, see programmatic as a silver bullet that’s so efficient that they can cut down on the sales team, which I think is a little confusing, at least in this article, it was a surprise to me.


James Haagenson: That doesn’t really make sense to me either. I think you can do a lot with programmatic. It’s an amazing branding tool. It’s an amazing way to get out information on your value or sales or things like that but there’s absolutely nothing that’s going to replace that one on one, talking with a sales person because you can’t, and maybe at some point they will be able to do this, but there’s no way to tailor the messaging so, so specifically that you’re basically acting like a sales person through programmatic.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, and I think maybe this is more of an e-commerce conversation, like you can just check out on the website and you know …


James Haagenson: Yeah, I guess that makes sense.


Maureen Jann: I don’t know. It was just, it was a little surprising but I mean the idea that programmatics is a silver bullet is, it’s a challenge because we do like to talk very highly about programmatic and we think, I mean it really can, it can achieve a lot of goals. It’s not just top of funnel anymore, which is really exciting for people, and I think that’s a shift in mindset but I don’t know if we can take it so far as to call it a silver bullet right now.


James Haagenson: It can’t answer questions. Someone can’t ask a question of like, “Why does this product do this,” and programmatic is not going to answer.


Maureen Jann: It’s a fact.


James Haagenson: It’s just an at.


Maureen Jann: That’s what SEO does.


James Haagenson: Yeah, right.


Maureen Jann: For real.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Nailed it. The other thing that was interesting here was the set it and forget it mentality. I think because programmatic is built on algorithms and settings and that kind of whatnot. I think that there’s also a myth around being able to just set up your campaigns and then walk away and go, “All good,”.


James Haagenson: See you in a month.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, it’s the same thing with paid search though, like you can’t just set paid search.


James Haagenson: Yeah, right. Programmatic is, I’ve read the definition as just a fancy term for automated marketing, which is true in that we, and the other thing that I’ve thought is a good way of describing it is that we’re buying everything in real time, so as soon as someone hits a web page, that’s when we’re purchasing the ad, and so we, the automation part is the fact that I don’t have to sit at my computer and receive a million ad calls in one second and try to approve all of them, or choose. That’s the automation that we’re getting is that the computer gets to choose from all of the millions of incoming ad calls, how many that we’re going to actually purchase, but the targeting and the messaging and all of that needs to always be tweaked. You’re, if you are able to set up a campaign that immediately starts performing well, then you have a whole different job going for you.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, we need to hire you.


James Haagenson: Yes.


Maureen Jann: Please call us.


James Haagenson: Yes, call us because there’s no, it’s just the, you can guess and you can think and you can make a well-reasoned assumption of who you want to market but the reality is without actually doing those purchases and seeing the data, you’re never going to actually know how well they’re going to perform. Sometimes the ones that you think are like, “Oh this one might perform, I’ll throw it in,” are the ones that work the best. If you were to set that at the beginning, you would maybe put 10% of your budget to that and 90% of your budget to the other things, and it turns out that those others are bad and that 10% is what you need, so you have to come back, whether it’s in a day or sometimes you want to let it run for a little while or week, and then you can redistribute and change your tactics.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, so I think the lesson here is …


James Haagenson: Don’t.


Maureen Jann: Don’t listen to myths. I’m glad that the debunking of myths in programmatic delivery actually did some debunking but it definitely, it starts some interesting conversations, especially around the careful nurture process. Overall, I just feel like the lesson from this article is just make sure that you’re communicating really well with people who are doing your programmatic, and make sure that you’re putting in the investment it needs to grow and change and flex with the times.


James Haagenson: Yeah, and ask what they’re doing, I think, too. Ask what, if you have someone doing your programmatic, ask how they’re buying, who they’re buying through because finding out that information is … If they’re not willing to share that with you, then you’re like, “Oh”, you should, question marks should come up, like, “What’s going on here? Why aren’t you telling me what’s going on?”


Maureen Jann: Even in-house programmatic, same concept right? As a marketing director, person who owns the marketing function, it’s on you to know enough and it can feel, programmatic can feel overwhelming or a little confusing, and this is that perfect time for, there’s a lot of resources out there. It’s time to have the conversations about what it is. It’s time to do some basic learning and ask, talk.


James Haagenson: Yeah, talk.


Maureen Jann: More talking people, more talking. Well this actually is a perfect segway because we’re going to go into, we’re going to talk a little bit about programmatic in 2017 as well as a little bit of a glimpse back into 2016. Programmatic is considered all the rage. It’s the newer kid on the block. Best in class companies are talking about it and even better end class companies are using it to achieve some of their most aggressive marketing goals. That’s why we brought James. How does working in one of the hottest new channels feel?


James Haagenson: Stressful but it’s also really fun. There is, it kind of feels like the wild west in that there’s just so much, there’s not a lot of really set processes across the industry. You know, you kind of have to be scrappy and really do your research in seeing what other people are doing and trying to see, you pick up others’ best practices but there’s not like a guide that says, “This is how you’re supposed to do programmatic,” so that, in that case it’s fun because you can kind of, I get to really experiment and it’s also fun because there’s new stuff coming out everyday, so it’s not, I’m not stuck in just with using one data partner or one platform. I’m always researching and trying to see, “Oh, what else can we be doing? What else can we be targeting our consumers and our, the customers. It’s exciting. It’s stressful but it’s great.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. It reminds me a little of when social media first came out, where it’s new and there’s all these new things, and there’s new service providers and there’s, I mean it’s just coming at you so quickly. I remember when like colleges prematurely tried to add it to their marketing and it was still like mid crazy, chaos change because that’s the beginning, right?


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: It’s everybody’s just throwing stuff at walls to see what works and then you just, you learn as you go and then at some point that channel or that whatever stabilizes and then you can start, and then their tweaking instead of making huge leaps and jumps and bounds.


James Haagenson: Right.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, so it’s funny that there’s even training out there because I know Trade Desk has some training but I can’t imagine like I imagine this is all the stuff that’s already happened?


James Haagenson: Right.


Maureen Jann: … Or settled, I don’t know.


James Haagenson: Just what, it’s kind of like science. It’s like this is how we understand it now. In a year, it might be like, “Oh, that was completely the wrong way that we were doing that.”


Maureen Jann: Right. That’s possible knowledge, I guess, right?


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. Well, tell me, like last year we were talking a lot, I mean there was a lot of conversations about programmatic last year that are leading up to this year’s big, huge leaps and bounds. What were the big, what was a big milestone?


James Haagenson: I think one of the biggest ones was the A&A study about transparency, and kind of, there was just a big, from that there was a big, deep dive into all of the fraud that happens within programmatic, and you know we talk a little bit about the way that we buy the media is we put in a lot of safeguards but it is true that there’s going to be some fraud. Figuring out how to best make those safeguards was a big question from last year. Especially as it came out that there were so many companies that just didn’t care what they were buying.


Maureen Jann: Oh God.


James Haagenson: Yeah, which is scary. It’s really scary. There’s so many new websites coming out everyday. I mean there’s new creation of websites everyday, so you can’t scour the entire Internet and block every bad website, but there are definitely, there are companies that their sole purpose is to work with that. We work with a company called Integral Ad Science that their job is to basically protect us from buying bad inventory. They have a lot of different ways of doing that but it’s definitely another one of those partners that you just have to work with. When we are talking with other DSPs or even people that are running programmatic and we find out that they’re not using some sort of safety net, we’re like, “Ah!”.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, do you know what’s out on the Internet? Have you been there because it is bad.


James Haagenson: Yeah and it’s not even like, “Oh no brand,” you know your brand is being served on these bad websites, it’s also you’re buying fraudulent traffic and buying fraudulent like bots or clicking on things and making your numbers look wrong so that you’re serving more ads on a certain publisher, so then they make more money, where even though there actually is just a, it’s a really bad website that just looks like they click a lot.


Maureen Jann: Right.


James Haagenson: I think, leading up to that, that was maybe, it was bound to, that study was bound to come out at some point, so now we’re looking at what now, and that’s where we are in that transparency field.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. It’s bound to happen. No channel will go unchecked. I think it goes back to everybody’s learning and eventually we go, “Oh this is happening. We should probably fix this.” What’s nice is that that A&A study really elevated that to an industry level and so it really forced us all to have that conversation, which is awesome.


Well, what are you working on right now that’s got you jazzed up? What are you excited about?


James Haagenson: Yeah, one of the things that I’ve been really excited about is we’ve starting doing some in email marketing through Live Intent. They’ve opened up a programmatic option, so that used to be just directly you would go through them but they have a huge host of newsletters that they have inventory in, and so we can now start to serve ads directly in these newsletters, programmatically. We can buy it in real time, so when the person opens the ad, their mail, that’s when we serve them the ad.


Maureen Jann: Isn’t that, we’re planning on doing that, aren’t we?


James Haagenson: We are doing it, yeah.


Maureen Jann: For Point It?


James Haagenson: Oh yeah, for Point It. Yeah, we’re going to.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, we’re crafting our diligent plan. It’s going to be excellent. We’re going to take over the world programmatically.


James Haagenson: Yeah. I think it’s a really cool medium because finding ways to reach consumers where they’re not frustrated by ads is hard because if you’re going to a news website, you’re there to read the news. You’re not there to go to some other website. You’re not trying to get distracted but if you’re in your email, it’s a lot easier to see that, and you might not realize that it’s an ad. I think it’s a really cool thing. We can tailor it to specific verticals of newsletters but we can also layer that behavioral data on top of it to say, you know we want to target men, women, ages or industry that we want to target people that like technology or people that like photography.


Maureen Jann: Right. I mean technically, let’s back up to that whole not knowing it’s an ad. The fact of the matter is, if you’re adding the value it doesn’t matter if it’s an ad or not because people are going to want the information. That’s my theory. I personally would rather have highly targeted, relevant advertising served to me rather than random, who cares stuff. If I have somebody send me one more email or one more ad about buying a list, I’m going to lose it, like, “I’m not going to buy your lists. It’s not going to happen,” so like that would be great if they just knew that and …


James Haagenson: Then that was the end of it.


Maureen Jann: Give me something I can see value in, you know, social media tools that will help automate our feed. That would be great. Let’s do that. Great. Okay, so let’s talk about what are some trends you expect to see next year?


James Haagenson: I see, I think, we have the A&A study and all that. It’s kind of the inventory side of what we’re buying and that’s kind of being figured out. I think that that’s on the, we’re no longer on the blazing, new territory. That’s coming down into the refining stages of that. I think the next thing, and really the most important thing to me, is data and how we’re harvesting data and how we’re using data. There’s two sides of that. One, I think that we’re going to continue to see more and more ways of getting that data. Companies are just going to figure out ways of tracking better and that was a weird sentence, but they, I think they’ll, we have Sumba TV and there’s a couple others that are tracking what you’re seeing on your TV, which is really cool. We can start to target off of that but I think that there’s going to be more ways that, if I could say them right now I would not be working here because then I would know how to do that, but I think we’re going to see more and more ways of doing that.


I think we’re also going to see more safeguards on what data we’re buying because it’s similar to that inventory side of it where we have to figure out, “Okay, is this actual data or are we just targeting random people?” People are going to have to start showing how they, how they’re harvesting the data and making sure that that to us …


Maureen Jann: More transparency.


James Haagenson: Exactly. We’ll start to see that more and more because right now, you can, you have to go out and find the specific people that you want to work with and you have to weed through a lot of bad data partners that are saying that they have something but really it’s resold, something else or they, the data is just not as useful as they make it sound. I think we’ll start to see more and more of that coming through this year and as, I mean especially that’s what I’m looking for because really at this point, we can buy inventory through the wide vasts of the Internet, which is great but now we need to actually make it targeted and that’s what’s the most important thing to me because we want to have, we want to shave off that excess, like are we showing our hats to people that don’t care.


Maureen Jann: Right and it’s about quality instead of quantity then because big data was all about quantity and that was super duper and it was a great trend and everybody loved the words but the fact of the matter is couldn’t make insights out of them because it was junk data half the time and this is one of those same conversations, I think.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Awesome. Well, I’m excited to see what comes out of our department this year. We are a big growth year for us and lots of irons in the fire, and new leadership.


James Haagenson: I know, yeah. Exciting.


Maureen Jann: All kinds of exciting things. We really appreciate you coming in and we’re going to be doing a webinar next month on programmatic, which is going to be exciting. It will be you and Pria Capor, our other programmatic campaign manager. We’re going to dig in and offer some good advice around how to take advantage of that transparency, which is going to be great, and maybe a few tips about how to pick your programmatic agency, right? Well, I mean, who doesn’t need tips. Fantastic.


All right, well it’s time to day goodbye. Thanks again for joining me, James. I’m Maureen Jann for Point It Digital Marketing and this is Fine Point, a weekly digesting digital marketing updates. Find us on Twitter for our latest content, podcasts and more. Subscribe to our podcasts via your favorite podcast distribution source, including the iTunes store. See you next week and for now, stay on point.



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