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Five Common Pitfalls APAC Brands Make In Programmatic

While programmatic adoption in Asia-Pacific has yet to reach the same level of maturity as other regions, this gap has enabled companies here to study and gain from the experience of their counterparts in Europe and US. In this industry byliner, Chris Packman, The Exchange Lab’s Southeast Asia client services director, outlines five common errors marketers in Asia should avoid when they embark on their programmatic journey.

Programmatic has been a hot topic in advertising over the past few years, both positively and negatively. Some brands dove head first into it, while others have been more cautious, preferring to watch from the wings to see how it develops. Those who have taken on the wait-and-see approach have had some room to observe and learn from the mistakes of early adopters.

Here are five common pitfalls brands in the Asia-Pacific region make in deploying programmatic, and how others can avoid them.

1. Employing multiple KPIs

One mistake advertisers make is trying to do too much with their campaigns. For example, they could be running a video campaign and looking for completed views, clicks, and conversions – all from the same campaign. While it’s true that these metrics are related, the optimisation strategy for each one is very different and can often reduce campaign performance as well as muddle end-results.

Brands should identify the most important objective of their campaign and use clear, simple KPIs. If it is sales-driven, then employ a CPA. If businesses are looking to raise product awareness through video, then completed views or event-based KPIs will lead to more accurate results.

Always ensure your KPIs match your core objectives.

2. Neglecting the need for quality creatives

Programmatic is highly effective in connecting brands with their core target audience. Instead of spending time manually deliberating over which sites your audience will be found, programmatic uses data to establish where they are and discover the optimal time to engage with them.

One mistake many brands still make is forgetting that access to the right audience will bear little result if poor quality creative is shown to them. In fact, it can do more damage than good.

Brands cannot rely on volume or cheap impressions to make up for money saved on ineffective or irrelevant creative. Poor creative remains poor creative, no matter how accurate the targeting is.

Take the time to assess what makes your consumers tick and ensure the right format is being shown on the best platform. For example, high-impact formats and 30-second videos may work well on display, but when pushed to mobile, they can often be overly intrusive and annoying.

Be sure to plan your creative against the platform and maintain high-quality standards throughout.

3. Invest and test

A common misconception about programmatic is that it will be a quick fix-all and, as a result, advertisers often decide to test it out by putting small amounts of money into a test campaign over the course of one month.

Due to the complexities of programmatic, placing $5,000 into one platform for a month is insufficient to effectively test the platform and will lead to inaccurate and incomplete data.

Advertisers must be willing to invest sufficient time and money in order to effectively evaluate a programmatic campaign. A three-month period is ideal for collecting data, as well as learning and evaluating what works for your brand and what doesn’t.

While there is no golden rule for the ‘right’ budget, it is worth remembering that you get what you put in. The size of your investment should be based on the size of your audience, size of the market, and KPIs, among other factors.

4. Testing multiple vendors simultaneously

Advertising technology has many movable parts that are constantly evolving and advancing. The best results are achieved when all of those moving parts can be consolidated, analysed, and optimised in one centralised view.

If an advertiser decides to use multiple programmatic vendors that operate independently of each other, it will end up with multiple tactics and targeting with no ability to evaluate how each part is affecting the others, positively or negatively.

Testing and learning with new partners is important for the evaluation process, but there also needs to be clear parameters to establish what value each provider brings to the table and that it is not a simple replication of the current media plan.

5. Lack of effective tracking

Many brands in Asia-Pacific still are very cautious about tracking tools. We find that many campaigns lack any form of attribution model or use the last-click as their only measure of success. Last-click methods alone are not accurate enough and do not provide the complete picture of how each media channel and tactic works independently.

Brands can miss out on multiple opportunities to optimise and create efficiencies within their media plan by taking simple campaign results at face value.

If you have not already done so, make sure you explore multi-touch attribution models in order to hone in on the most effective media strategy for your brand.

The universal rule

The digital user base across Asia-Pacific differs considerably. For example, a number of markets in the region are mobile-first and this comes with its own opportunities and pitfalls that require careful planning.

However, one truth remains across the globe: user behaviour and performance factors are ever-changing. What works today may not work tomorrow, and this underscores the need to continually test and learn.

Keep exploring and evolving your digital marketing approach and do not accept the status quo. Programmatic efficiencies are there for your brand to take advantage of.