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Human Relationships are Key to a Successful Programmatic Campaign
It’s true–machines and algorithms within the programmatic ecosystem allow us to make faster media buying decisions, smarter data-driven optimizations and provide real-time results.

But we cannot forget that humans are a key component to the programmatic ecosystem. Humans provide key benefits to programmatic that machines may never be able to grasp. To be more specific, machines will never be able cultivate relationships with publishers that allow us to access custom premium content, provide bid-strategy analysis and test and learn opportunities. Building relationships with publishers in the programmatic ecosystem is key to having a successful programmatic strategy.

We’ll explain why below by focusing on Empower’s own relationship in the programmatic ecosystem with our partner, Meredith Corporation.

Direct and Programmatic Teams Submit RFI Together

Publishers need to understand the full strategy to provide the best value and inventory opportunities. They can help create stronger plans and more cohesive campaigns when planning direct opportunities like custom content in conjunction with specific programmatic PMP deals, and apply the learnings from one area of a campaign (e.g., which segments perform best in which contexts) to others. By submitting joint RFIs, Empower clients can also receive added-value opportunities for combining spend between direct and programmatic. And it allows the publisher to provide customized plans across all available channels.

Gain Access to Premium Inventory and Improve Bid Strategies

If Empower buyers notice specific inventory sources or publishers are performing well, but are unable to reach optimal scale, we engage with publishers directly to access more of the high-performing inventory. We also work together with publishers to develop customized pricing and bid strategies. Due to our direct relationships with publishers where our campaigns are running, we can often gain valuable insight.

For example, if Empower bids X percent more on this type of inventory, we would win Y percent more auctions.

We Have Open and Ongoing Dialogue with Our Publisher Partners About Campaign Performance

Programmatic buying allows Empower to quickly see campaign success because of its real-time nature. But if a campaign isn’t performing, instead of just quickly pushing the ‘off’ button on a PMP deal, we talk to our publishers to determine the cause. After all, if you don’t share your KPIs and goals for each partner, how are they supposed to know your target level of performance? Publishers can and will optimize on their side to help us improve performance.

“Deal optimization is about creating deal success for the buyer,” says Chip Schenck, vice president, data & programmatic solutions at Meredith Corp. “Smart agencies and clients will engage with their important publisher partners to learn how to improve campaign efficacy through improved win rate, cost management, inventory selection and contextual and audience performance — all of which is information the publisher has access to as part of their auction. Publishers benefit when clients win, so it is symbiotic.”

Building an Open and Transparent Relationship Helps Provide Test and Learn or Beta Opportunities for Empower Clients

When Empower publishers get to know us, and get to know our clients’ businesses well, they think of Empower and our clients first for beta opportunities. Beta opportunities include exclusive inventory access to on new media properties, new inventory sizes, new ad products and discounted pricing.

While machines continue to carry more and more weight, the human element will never disappear. In fact, leaning on tech more, makes human oversight even more necessary. Achieving the right balance between the two ensures the very best of both worlds.