- Three-quarters of marketing agencies are starting to combine their direct and programmatic media buying teams, while only 17% have completely merged their operations, according to a new study commissioned by the digital ad software firm Centro and conducted by Forrester.
- To help unify their media buying, 81% of agencies have made changes to their technology and 80% to their personnel, compared to 72% that created new processes and 62% that engrained it in their business culture. Top challenges in innovating digital media buying include data silos, people skills and operations. Marketers measure results by looking at client retention, new business opportunities and improved campaign performance.
- Most ad buyers, or 80%, think that training existing talent is the best way to build personnel and unify buying. Two-thirds of agencies plan to hire new outside talent, and 57% plan to invest in third-party or outsourced talent to boost existing skills.
With programmatic ad buying on the rise, many marketers are looking to merge their media buying teams to stay competitive. While the majority are working toward that goal, the Centro study shows only a few have fully integrated their operations.
These shifts point to the continued tumult in the advertising industry as marketers look for the right formula to create efficiency and increase campaign success. The report notes the push and pull as unification helps break down data silos and boosts collaboration, but also requires finding the right technology, establishing processes and building and training a team.
Programmatic advertising presents its own challenges because marketers don't always have full control over where their ads appear. The demand for greater transparency is driving more marketers to shift some of their programmatic ad buying in-house. A recent Interactive Advertising Bureau study found that, of the 65% of marketers that purchase ads programmatically, 18% have moved those functions in-house or have started to, and 47% plan to continue internalizing the process.
About two-thirds of all digital display ads will be programmatic by 2019, reaching about $84.9 billion, Publicis Groupe's Zenith estimates.