In the last couple of years, a big source of buzz and excitement within the ad tech industry has been programmatic advertising technology. For those unfamiliar with the concept, check out our resources on what real-time bidding technology is and how it fits into the bigger picture of advertising.
But despite rapid growth and a slew of early adopters, programmatic buying and advertising is still a bit of a blackbox for ecommerce businesses. We sit down with JJ Banasch, programmatic advertising expert and co-founder of the media trading platform, Katana, to demystify who should test the innovative technology for their business.
Describe Katana in 50 words or less.
JJ: Through the various digital marketing channels, tactics, and data each client has available, Katana utilizes these inputs into a matrix for both pro-active and re-active data activation, hierarchy, and algorithms for real-time media across tactics.
Talk to us a bit about programmatic advertising. When is the right time for a small to mid-sized business to hop on this train?
JJ: I believe there is a large misconception that you have to have large budgets to start in programmatic (RTB bidding) tactics. That being said, the time is now and the largest question for small to mid sized companies is what is our strategy, game plan, and roadmap. The interesting thing is a lot of advertisers have or are doing a light version of RTB without knowing it by implementing retargeting.
Once you start getting into more prospecting campaigns there a specific budget levels that you want to adhere to in order to get enough room for optimization, sample size, and market share but this is determined on a client by client basis.
Have you seen varying results or trends by vertical?
JJ: Programmatic tactics can work from clients across many verticals and different campaign goals. The major difference in results or success comes from having a sound strategy, strong partner, and a custom plan. There are specific tactics such as dynamic retargeting for e-commerce clients that have highly successful on closing sales but a large number of direct response oriented campaigns have worked very well with programmatic buying.
I personally don’t see this as the best “branding” channel today but those days are coming closer with the introduction of private market places, view-ability, and integrations by brand safety companies along with the adaption of some of the larger, more prominent sites incorporating programmatic platforms.
How do you see real-time media buying evolving over the next 3-5 years?
JJ: The real-time media landscape is very young still and there is a lot of room for growth and structure. If you think about the basic premise of doing any type of marketing, it’s really the cliché of right person, right time, with the right message. and real-time marketing will get us to that level. The integrations of real-time or dynamic creative executions with media messaging (banners), buying channels, and landing page executions will help improve the user experience with a brand ten-fold. I see a large portion of digital media being bought programmatically with a lot of consolidation / acquisition of solution providers.
How is Katana different from other media buying platforms?
JJ: Katana takes the time to utilize all available information a client has at their disposal and creates a blueprint to utilize programmatic within a digital media mix. We play a much more hands-on approach that helps identify the best starting point for programmatic, utilizing data, and developing a custom road map and strategy for clients.
The major piece that a lot of people forgot is programmatic buying is a tool / platform that still needs a great deal of strategy, human made business decisions, and oversight to feed the algorithms and technology.
Where do we sign up?
JJ: The first step is to have an introductory conversation with us to get familiar with the clients short and long term goals, current pain points, channels utilized, and to get familiar with their business as much as possible in the short term. From there, next steps typically involve conversations with other stakeholders that are involved in digital marketing and a data download of identified information that would be valuable for us to examine to make a custom plan.
JJ Bannasch, president and co-founder of Katana, specializes in convergence of media and technology, best-in-class digital marketing, and campaign architecture in a world of data driven marketing. With over a decade of agency experience, his approach, theories, frameworks and strategies have been proven, validated and refined with multi-million dollar digital media campaigns resulting in significant increased ROI for his clients.