If you’ve found this article, you probably already know that programmatic advertising is growing—fast. In a few short years, the share of digital ads run programmatically has skyrocketed from zero to 85%, and it continues to climb year over year, particularly as COVID-19 has hastened the shift toward all things digital. 

Without offering programmatic as a service, your agency may be missing out on what has become a massive slice of the $172 billion digital advertising pie. That said, the implementation of new and complex programmatic technology coupled with the emergence of new media channels like CTV/OTT, digital audio, and digital out-of-home is a challenge most advertising agencies don’t have the resources to tackle on their own just yet. Still, clients are increasingly expecting the option as digital advertising becomes increasingly synonymous with programmatic.

In this post we’ll explain why most clients already expect their agencies to offer programmatic, what adding this service to your own agency’s repertoire entails, and how agencies can most easily add programmatic advertising to grow their revenue in 2021 and beyond.

The Digital Transformation of Client Expectations

In many cases, the traditional advertising methods agencies have relied on for decades are becoming less effective by the day as the world shifts to digital. Post-2020, U.S. consumers are spending more time online per day than ever before.

Programmatic advertising allows your clients to get more bang from their digital media budget through robust ad targeting and data sets that work together to avoid wasted ad spend. Because of its improvements to campaign efficiency and scale, the vast majority of digital ads are already run using programmatic advertising technology. 

The programmatic industry has its own unique challenges to address as it grows, including privacy-compliant identification solutions and guarding more effectively against ad fraud, but programmatic will also continue to solve problems intrinsic to traditional advertising, including the lack of precision available in traditional ad targeting and ROI metrics.

In 2021, with most agency clients having spent the last year weathering myriad challenges to their businesses and scrutinizing their marketing spends, it’s important to keep those clients coming back by offering transparent and highly measurable advertising solutions that can prove their own ROI with copious data. 

As agency owners already know, most clients don’t want to manage multiple relationships in order to leverage a full range of modern marketing technologies—this is why so many agencies offer a full range of services. Given that most advertising today is digital, and most digital advertising is programmatic, a complete range of services in 2021 includes programmatic advertising.

Programmatic provides agencies with a dependable source of revenue due to its:

  • Ability to combat “banner blindness” with innovative ad units
  • Broad range of ad targeting options
  • Increased return on ad spend
  • Ad personalization and dynamic creative optimization options.
  • Effectiveness for both B2C/DTC and B2B account-based marketing
  • Precise and granular campaign data and reporting

What Does Offering Programmatic Advertising Entail?

Programmatic platforms allow your clients to run omnichannel digital ad campaigns across display, mobile, native, video, connected TV, digital audio, and digital out-of-home advertising channels. Most successful programmatic campaigns use a customized combination of these channels alongside paid search and paid social with each channel working best at specific stages of the digital marketing funnel.

Using programmatic ad tech effectively requires implementation of a wide variety of technologies that work together to provide the elements of a successful programmatic ad campaign. The most important piece of the puzzle is generally the demand-side platform (DSP), which lets media buyers automate the purchasing of cost-effective ad impressions based on specific audiences and contextual targeting goals. Additionally, programmatic ad tech includes:

  • Data management platforms (DMPs)
  • Secure data onboarding services
  • Third-party data providers
  • Dynamic creative optimization 
  • Brand safety technologies
  • Mobile app targeting options
  • Geofencing technologies
  • Contextual targeting technologies
  • Omnichannel reporting dashboards

Because of the complexity of the tech stack and the expertise required to use it correctly, many agencies—full-service and paid media ones included—have yet to add programmatic to their service list (or are just scratching the surface). However, there are a variety of ways to approach adding programmatic, and some of them require very little effort to get up and running.

Adding Programmatic Advertising to Your Agency Services

While many agencies have yet to add this service as a revenue stream, the evidence from agencies we’ve partnered with ourselves has shown that programmatic can help any kind of agency win new clients and new business from current clients. An in-depth report from Boston Consulting Group recently showed that some forms of programmatic can increase efficiency for agencies by nearly 30%.

As an advertising agency looking to offer programmatic to your clients, you have three main options to choose from: 

  • In-housing: Staff for an in-house programmatic advertising team and integrate your own programmatic ad tech stack.
  • Outsourcing to an ad tech vendor: License programmatic advertising technology yourself and outsource campaign management directly to that vendor.
  • Partnering with a specialist agency: Work with an agency of programmatic specialists, letting them handle tech integrations and campaign management on your behalf. You can choose to continue managing the relationship with your client or refer the client directly to your programmatic agency partner.

We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of these three options in our next blog post, but no matter which you choose, you’ll be able to grow your revenue and your agency as a whole by offering programmatic advertising as a service for your clients in 2021 and into the future.

At PrograMetrix, we specialize in programmatic so you don’t have to. To learn more about how we partner with agencies to provide programmatic advertising services, check out our eBook or get in touch here.