As the upfronts approach and new technologies abound, how can a marketer be sure the solutions they choose will be the right ones to capitalize on the commitments they make this year, and in years ahead? It all starts by asking your technology providers the right questions, to ensure you’re getting the customization, premium quality and control you’ve always had with upfront deals.
Here are three questions all marketers should be asking:
Is your technology built for premium, upfronts quality inventory?
Historically, programmatic solutions and premium video were like oil and water. In many ways, this is due to the fact that many programmatic platforms were built for display, not the nuances of television quality inventory. But times have certainly changed, and new solutions have emerged that enable the best of both worlds. The technology you choose should offer the level of inventory quality you’ve always expected at the upfronts. At the end of the day, premium video and TV buying is still about having the right relationships with the right sellers, so ask your technology provider if they maintain direct relationships and direct access to the inventory you want to buy.
In addition to looking for platforms that can offer premium content, look for premium environments, too. For example, set-top box video on demand is a TV-like experience that lends itself to a programmatic buy. Where the viewer is watching is as important as what they are watching.
Can your platform be customized to my needs?
The ability to customize a technology solution for premium video is critical. Be sure the platform you choose for your upfront deals offers custom buying models; in particular, programmatic guaranteed models are a must for TV-like buys. The traditional upfront model removes the uncertainty for advertisers, and your programmatic approach should too. Look for guaranteed delivery and private deals, at a fixed cost, within a given time frame. This is especially important for time-constrained advertisers like movie studios or short-term retail sales that need to ensure their advertising runs at a particular time.
With a programmatic solution, will I still maintain control over my buys?
When you commit to an upfront deal, you want to be sure that the inventory you buy is actually running, which can be challenging in a programmatic technology that focuses simply on getting the highest price. The right technology will let you give special prioritization to upfront deals, allowing those deals to compete and win against potentially higher priced, non-guaranteed spend, while maintaining alignment with the audience profile you are looking to target.
It’s important to also maintain control over things such as competitive separation—even with a programmatic solution. When selecting a technology or platform partner, it is worth noting that there is a marked advantage to working with the technology that will actually serve the ad. This will ensure you still have control over what runs, at the best possible win rate, while maintaining competitive separation, pacing and budget control.
The importance of being upfront
There is no doubt that television has transformed in the past decade, and many advertisers are trying to keep up. The key is to be upfront about the questions, concerns or expectations you have when choosing a technology —and to resist lowering your expectations around customization, control and curation just because you’ve chosen to go programmatic.
The 2021 upfronts promise to be a turning point for programmatic buying, but by asking the right questions, marketers can ensure they are still getting what they always have from the upfronts—in a more automated and efficient way.