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ARTICLE

The End of the Channel Media Buyer

April 6, 2017 — by Michael Weaver

As we celebrate 10 years of programmatic advertising, we take a look at how the industry will evolve — where channel-specific media buyers will start to adopt a more audience-based approach by using a single omnichannel platform instead. 

With the ever-increasing proliferation of devices, marketers face more challenges than ever. And as more media is consumed on-the-go, in shorter snippets, different user experiences are created for any given consumer. The complexity grows when the format in which consumers see media and content is diverse, whether it’s in-stream, out-stream, mobile, in-game advertising or rich media.

For much of the last decade in marketing, we’ve thought about these channels in silos. This was born in part out of necessity where each channel developed in its own way, commanding its own inventory.

Since there’s now media buying platforms that can execute across all channels, in what we like to call omnichannel fashion, the focus has moved away from specific channels. It is no longer important that you spend a certain budget on a channel. What’s important is where your users are, and being able to reach them regardless of whether they’re on Facebook or at work on their desktop. That’s why I think that by 2020, there will be no more channel-specific media buyers.

Marketers should be less concerned about channels and focus more on solutions that work across all devices, regardless of channel. In my role, I see top clients and some of the world’s largest CPG companies start to move towards this new type of media buying. And in time, more will follow suit. By 2020, I believe the audience will determine how campaigns are executed across channels, devices and media so marketers can reach their targets in the most scalable and cost-efficient way possible.

Here are a few tactics that can help marketers make the shift to a more streamlined state of media buying:

  • Focus on the outcome. It starts with outcomes first. Don’t focus so much on what device someone is on or even what type of media format they’re on. Start with what it is you wish to accomplish, as long as it’s tangible. Is it the number of products sold? Is the goal to achieve an increase in foot traffic? Or is it to measure brand lift and understanding the true incremental impact of your marketing efforts? Focusing on your outcomes will naturally lend itself to building a campaign that keeps your audience front and center. Think of it like this – the goal of an automotive advertiser shouldn’t be to get people to go to a website, it should be to sell cars. Understanding who you want to reach with your message is vital because you can’t expect an outcome without understanding who your customer is and what it is they want.
  • Apply the right technology and use a single platform to execute campaigns and measure the outcomes of your advertising campaigns. By adopting a single omnichannel platform, marketers gain valuable insight into consumers’ previous activities in other channels and can better manage media buying across channels. Instead of using a siloed approach, a single platform helps you set specific goals and reach your desired audience, sending budget to whichever channels will help drive the desired behavior from that user. The efficiencies speak for themselves. A single platform, a single outcome and a single source of truth will help you measure the things that matter more to you and your clients at less of a cost.
  • Effect organizational change. When putting together campaigns, ensure that your teams are aligned with what the desired outcomes are. Get away from operating in siloes and create a structural change at your company to encourage a more holistic workflow. This way, the mobile, display and video teams are all working towards measuring the same outcomes. Remember your audience does not operate in channels, they operate in omnichannel. So should your team.