Is Your Media Team Equipped for the Buying Environment of 2015?

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Media buying is one of the most tumultuous fields in modern marketing. Media managers struggle to maintain consistent ROI in the face of emerging channels, new tools, and the erosion of once-reliable strategies. As media recruiters we’re constantly challenged to find new talent with not only a history of proven results but the potential to carry that track record into an uncertain future.

Your ad placement strategy—the who, how, when and where of your media buying decisions—has never been more important. Is your media team up to the challenge? Make sure you’re ready for these trends that will be essential in your continued success next year.

The Mobile Transition

Whatever stigma consumers may have had against making mobile purchases is quickly fading as the buyer’s experience improves and mobile adoption increases. For instance, nearly a third of online holiday purchases over the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend were on mobile devices—and you can expect that to be representative of an increasing trend.

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Media buyers have traditionally struggled to assign value to mobile ads that contributed to a subsequent purchase on desktop.

The “last click” attribution model, which gives credit for a sale to whatever device and related ads a customer finally clicks to buy, is misleading and outdated. For instance, if a mobile user put something in their digital shopping cart while browsing on mobile but didn’t check out until getting to their PC at home, the sale counts as a desktop sale even if it was motivated my mobile advertisements.

Innovative media buyers are finding ways to follow customers across screens and designating accurate value to their mobile spend. (TWEET THIS!)

Make sure your media team has the right kind of talent to make accurate decisions about mobile purchases.

Talking to Humans

A disturbing trend in digital ad buying is the rising proportion of “eyeballs” viewing ads that aren’t attached to an actual human but an indistinguishable robot instead. Whether through intentional fraud or as a secondary result of the myriad web crawlers and programs out there, you could be paying a premium to show your ads to penniless bots.

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently predicted companies would lose $6.3 billion in 2015 to advertisements wasted on these programs. Their forecast comes after an in-depth study covering billions of impressions over hundreds of campaigns earlier this year.

View the complete report here.

Comparably interesting but somewhat less alarming is Google’s recent report that 56% of all of its ads are never seen by people. On the search engine’s cost-per-click model, this is less immediately expensive. Instead of getting seen by bots, your message is getting seen by no one at all. But it still indicates that a huge portion of your efforts invested into paid digital advertising are going nowhere.

In 2015 and beyond, a large portion of your media team’s responsibility will be to ensure your ads are getting seen—by people.

Multichannel Real-Time Bidding and Programmatic Advertising

Real time bidding and the automation of the ad buying process has exploded, but the trend has mostly been confined to the digital space where much of the infrastructure was already in place. As strategies become more refined expect these trends to extend to other media, including traditional channels like broadcast and even print.

Don’t Know What RTB is? Get Real (Time Bidding) in 30 Seconds

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As much as marketers and media recruiters like to claim we live in a “digital age,” we still heavily consume offline media on a regular basis—and national ad spend reflects that. Different outlets will have different opportunities for different companies, and your media plan should reflect that regardless of the “digital shift.”

Programmatic TV could dramatically simplify buying procedures and improve targeting. Radio companies have already taken to programmatic for their digital offerings and are experimenting with broadcast options. And Jeff Green, CEO of the Trade Desk, sees opportunity for programmatic to overcome many of the inefficiency and bottlenecks associated with purchasing print real estate.

Programmatic and real-time bidding opportunities haven’t been firmly established in most nondigital media yet, but your media team needs to be ready when they are. Early adopters will get a competitive edge and an avenue to improve ROI. Media directors and executives must constantly be looking for these opportunities and ensuring your strategy doesn’t get outdated.

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