Jonathan Yang, director of global media and digital marketing with HP, said that while media agencies can take care of measurement, brands need to focus on content. “At HP Enterprises we decided to take some aspects like data in-house so that we can own and segment it.”
Hari Shankar, head of APAC paid media for Paypal, agreed that direct relationships with platforms and vendors are beneficial.
“I’d like to own the car but get the agency guys to drive it,” he said. “The lesser number of players the better. We’re not trying disintermediation but we’d like agencies to function as an extended marketing arm.”
FMCG company Kimberly-Clark uses a hybrid approach where it owns the trading desk that is run by its media agency Mindshare.
According to Rahul Asthana, the firm’s regional marketing director, Kimberly-Clark’s digital spend has increase three times compared to two years ago.
“We’re getting more effectiveness and more digital media is purchased through programmatic," Asthana said. "It is important we experiment and be familiar with it and have resources in-house to buy this media effectively.”
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Asthana doesn’t rule out taking the whole programmatic function in-house. “Right now we’re looking at partnerships to do this better, but as we start spending more of our dollars in this the question will come up again," he said. "Is it really worth paying a big management fee to someone external? We’ll keep evaluating this every 18 months.”
Most companies still find measurement a challenge and as such view programmatic and display as a failure.
“We’ve been buying digital inventory across ad exchanges for the past 1.5 years,” said Shankar. “Initially we thought it didn’t work, but started seeing efficiency after six months.”
Making a pitch for Google’s DoubleClick, Yiorgos Hadjiandrea, head of DBM for Southeast Asia, said 90 percent of people are switching between screens, and companies need a consolidated platform that gives them a single view, which programmatic can help achieve. “In this market we need to invest in measurement and ad serving, but we’re falling behind," Hadjiandrea said. "There are innovations in measurement which exist but we need to get the basics right.”