Talking programmatic buying with your Media Agency

Talking programmatic buying with your media agency

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement

There is, I believe, an inevitability that programmatic buying will play a larger part in your media buying landscape over time. The level of efficiency it brings as well as speed of response is likely to drive part of the agenda in the majority of media pitches.

As with all procurement activities, understanding the subject matter and mechanics of how the deal is constructed and how the system works will lead you to a better final solution.

This contention I feel is doubly true when dealing with media, and the perception that a lack of transparency continues to plague the industry.

For the marketers involved in the pitch as well their procurement colleagues there are a range of key questions you should be asking: not all of the answers may be to your liking but at least you can make an informed decision based on a more robust data set.

Below, in no particular order, are 5 key questions we would start off talking to the media agency about; clearly there are many more but this will certainly get the process moving.

  1. Fraud: Detection, prevention and protection

Understanding and minimising click fraud should be an essential component of your media agency’s arsenal. Being clear on how they detect, prevent and manage it through black and white lists is important. You should also be diving a little deeper into both the automated controls and human intervention as well as gaining clarity on how much they currently spot and what they do with other clients to minimise the cost impact of fraud.

  1. Brand Reputation

Programmatic is necessarily using high levels of automation. Understanding where your agency will be placing your brand is key. Putting your Ad on blog sites that are either not relevant or contain content really not suited to your target audience, or even just out of kilter with your campaign is not going to generate any value.

Getting this wrong will not only cost you campaign dollars, but may also damage your brand in the eyes of the consumer.

  1. Where is the money going?

Understanding where the money is going is always going to be important, regardless of the channel. Understanding who’s getting it, how many layers its going through is clearly important to help you work out overall cost and value.


You should be looking for your agency to be clear on who the intermediaries are and how much they are getting paid. Is this the best route to get your message onto that channel?

  1. Show me the results!

Low costs / low cpms’ are not the aim of the game. Your agency should, and must be able to show you quality and effectiveness throughout the campaign. The metrics shown, by the very nature of programmatic buying, can be markedly more tailored to your requirements. Make sure you push the agency, before you commit, to demonstrating exactly how it will deliver against your campaign goals and that it will hit exactly the right audience.

  1. Testimonials

You’re not an experiment, they’ve done this before. Ask your agency to show you clients who have used this service and find out how it worked for them. Use your combined experience (procurement and marketing) to really ask detailed questions around the results and service to check the answers given to you by the agency.

A pitch process can be a very enlightening thing, but the reality of actual service delivery has to live up to these expectations.