How many advertisers does it take to move their programmatic advertising in-house for us to consider it a trend?

This week it was revealed that the in-house agency Unilever created last year (U-Studios), is now operating in 20 countries, representing rapid growth. Earlier this year Unilever reported it had reduced its agencies by 50% and fees by 17% as a result.
Now a plethora of blog posts have sprung up telling advertisers what they should consider when bringing their programmatic advertising in-house. Advertisers are admonished to make sure they “have the right talent”, “not to underestimate the cost of the operation” and to be “prepared for an ongoing headache”. The message seems to be; don’t do it.

 “In-house will soon be the industry norm, and a significant 
amount of that is expected to be programmatic”

Yet, 31% of the companies polled by ANA (US’ Association of National Advertisers) said that they planned to expand their in-house programmatic advertising efforts. Although not exactly comparable, because it looked at other services, not just programmatic advertising, similar findings were revealed by a recent survey done by ISBA (the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, UK’s ANA equivalent). The survey found that 39% of advertisers have an in-house agency and 14% planned to create one, meaning that in-house will soon be the industry norm, and a significant amount of that is expected to be programmatic ad trading.

The usual suspects, ad fraud, lack of transparency and visibility may be factors in bringing programmatic advertising in-house, but it is likely that this is not the full picture. Bringing it in-house gives advertisers the opportunity for a broader view and greater understanding of their customer/prospect data.

Technology, particularly mobile, has facilitated the rise of people based advertising, i.e. the ability to track a specific customer across the devices they use on their conversion journey. It’s now possible to augment this data such that you can build a psychographic profile of your prospects and customers. This enriched data takes us one step along the evolutionary chain from demographic advertising to psychographic advertising. Data just got more valuable; advertisers are waking up to this, and wish for greater control. 

by Dellistina James, Head of Business Development at Mass Analytics

October 23rd, 2017.