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In-house versus agency: The case for a programmatic agency partner5 min read

For businesses small and large, the decision over which functions to house internally, and which to outsource is never an easy one. Internal resource provides you with control, stability, and the potential for a team which is fully ingrained within your business. External partners provide flexibility, scalability, and a breadth of experience across multiple sectors and channels.

But in new and emerging markets involving complex technology, the right agency partner can be the difference between you capitalising on new opportunities and falling behind the competition.

The benefits of a good agency partner

When a channel or a technology is new, getting to grips with what it means to your business is not easy. Should you adopt it? Or, wait and see how it develops? And if you decide to adopt, how should you do so in order to engage with new and existing customers?

It is an agency’s job to stay ahead of developments in new and emerging markets and understand and advise about what it means to their clients. They can help you navigate a potentially complex field (no doubt strewn with acronyms) on what it means for you and your business, without you needing to spend the time and money researching for yourself.

A good agency is as likely to say no to you as they are to say yes. If a certain approach would not work for you, they will tell you. This is important when the latest new and shiny technology solution comes along, promising to revolutionise your advertising.

They also act as a filter for all of the various new technology solutions that will arise around a new area of opportunity. Taking the pitches and sales calls so you don’t have to, and providing you with the filtered version of the main solutions you may want to consider.

Navigating the world of programmatic

The world of programmatic advertising is a maze of acronyms, new ‘unique’ technology, ‘platform companies’, technology providers, data solutions and ultimately confusion.

In reality the majority of the sales pitches you may receive can be ignored once you understand the core components of the programmatic supply chain, and many ‘unique’ solutions are actually anything but!  Agencies have a full view of the market and can interpret where everybody may fit within it, and who the best people to speak to are.

They will also have performed their own procurement processes for the technology they utilise, saving you the hassle of doing so for yourself.

Their involvement across multiple sectors and territories will give them a view of the market which you cannot easily replicate through your own internal function.

Tactics and strategy

Another huge benefit of using an agency is the breadth of exposure they will have to tactics and strategies that have worked on other campaigns. This is particularly important in new channels, as the ability to capitalise on successful tactics is key to keeping one step ahead of the competition.

What works in travel, always has a chance of working in retail for example.  And the same audience that converted for a financial services provider could work equally well in the legal sector.  And of course, the only way to know what is working in other sectors is to work in an environment with multiple campaigns and a culture of sharing successful approaches.

Talent in demand

Programmatic skills are currently hard to come by, and as a result those with them are in significant demand. Depending on where you are on your programmatic journey, it is likely your requirement is one, or maybe even two programmatic specialists at most.

The first challenge will be finding these individuals, if you can. But once you have, the next is to retain them. With the market in such high demand right now, skilled individuals will be inundated with calls and messages about potential new opportunities. Many of which will involve a healthy pay increase.

For employers this means more recruitment fees, more staff training, an acclimatisation period, and potential impacts on performance. All to potentially have to go through it again in 6-12 months’ time.

Agencies know this challenge all too well, and build their resourcing strategy around the flexibility to apply new individuals to your account quickly should an employee leave. And each will be trained in their best practice way of working, so will be able to pick up the account management without any detrimental impact on campaign performance.

Future proofing your programmatic strategy

In any fast-paced industry, keeping abreast of the technological, legislative, and market changes is a challenge. But knowing where the industry is heading is key in guiding strategic decisions you may be making now.  

Within the world of programmatic right know, you have consolidation of technology partners, major businesses dropping out of specific service areas of the market, new fraud prevention technology emerging at a rapid pace, and GDPR on the horizon – all threatening to shake up how data is used.

In order to keep up, you have to be living this orld every day, and gaining insight from multiple sources. Agencies will have daily conversations with suppliers, clients, internal teams, and other industry professionals which allows them to consider the implications of such changes and what it should mean for their approach.

Still not sure?

At Croud, our global network of programmatic specialists are on hand to help you navigate this complex and ever changing landscape. Why not get in touch and see how we can help you?