Tech Support
May 12, 2016

Dear Tech Support: Can't programmatic count as a line item?

Campaign Asia's resident tech guru answers your pressing questions on all aspects of digital marketing. In association with Xaxis.

Dear Tech Support: Can't programmatic count as a line item?

Dear Tech Support,

What’s wrong with listing programmatic as a line item on my media budget breakdown? My media agency person gave me a weird look when I mentioned it.

—Confused Marketer

Dear Confused Marketer,

There’s nothing wrong with it, if that’s what your finance department is insisting on to suit its bean-counting format.

But it will sound a little weird to your media agency, because programmatic is technically not a channel like radio or TV. You can’t say “I want to put 25 percent into programmatic.”

Programmatic is best visualised as the platform or system that will be automating and driving (eventually) all media buys. You can already use it to buy online display ads and video, and recently, radio and linear TV inventory have also been introduced to the region. Trials are already underway with digital OOH assets in Australia.

If you want to cut down on weird looks at the next meeting, focus on the efficiencies and improved targeting that you ought to be getting. Programmatic is just software and it’s supposed to make things better.

As for a line item that does need to be on your next budget, we highly recommend making some room for independent fraud- and viewability-tracking software.

Good luck!

Tech Support


Dear Xaxis, 

I wonder about the data my agency is using in the services they sell me. How do I know if it’s accurate?


Data Skeptic

Dear Data Skeptic,

Many advertisers place a lot of trust in their agencies and take what is reported based on the strength of the working relationship—that usually enables execution of great work. But with increasing pressure all around for transparency and accountability thanks to persistent issues of fraud—trust is no longer enough.

Rohan Philips

For advertisers who transact online, ensuring accuracy is relatively straight forward. One could measure the accuracy of the data by measuring the cost of acquiring a new or existing user: typically you will find re-targeting, models of re-targeting, CRM and certain intent data sources outperform others. However, when you start to measure behaviour, demographics, cross-device data amongst others it starts to get a lot more complex.

Using a third-party to audit will give you the best measure of accuracy. Xaxis recently went a global audit of our DMP Turbine using comScore, which measured the accuracy of the data in comparison to other data sources in the market. In this audit, comScore assessed segments for accuracy by validating Turbine’s audience data against the 1.9 trillion interactions observed by comScore’s global census monthly.

The results were heartening, with Turbine outperforming its benchmark in accurately predicting consumer purchase intent and interests across its proprietary, real-time audience segments. It proved that our solution precisely mapped to the intended targets across all addressable media.

Audits are daunting exercises, and the industry is still at a stage where such measures are voluntary rather than mandated.

So ask your digital agency if its solutions have been independently tested and audited, or whether it has plans to do so. The proprietary nature of such solutions means you can’t let everyone under the hood but if a trusted and knowledgeable third-party is involved, it is the best reassurance any advertiser can ask for.

Rohan Philips
Vice-president, products and strategy, Xaxis Asia-Pacific


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