Accenture Interactive has launched a Programmatic Services unit, which it says will help clients take control of their data and the technology they use for automated ad buying.
The consulting firm will assist its clients to design, build and staff in-house trading desk capabilities. It will also offer managed services where it will run full service global digital media campaigns for clients. Finally, it will also assist in ad tech implementations and support.
Update: When asked about the size of the Programmatic Services team in Australia and New Zealand, Michael Buckley, ANZ Managing Director of Accenture Interactive, told Which-50 Accenture doesn’t provide geographic breakdowns “but we have hundreds of active media traders globally.” He added that they are currently actively recruiting across the entire Accenture Interactive business.
Accenture said the new unit was formed in response to client demand.
“As their experience agency, our clients have been asking us to help them drive greater efficiencies with their programmatic media spend, specifically digital media,” said Brian Whipple, global CEO of Accenture Interactive.
The unit will help advertisers bring programmatic in-house, this involves building long-term programmatic strategies, in-sourcing technology, reinventing operating models and delivering internal capabilities.
According to a new report from IAB and sponsored by Accenture Interactive, 65 per cent of companies that are buying media programmatically have decided to bring all or part of that capability in-house.
The research entitled “Programmatic In-housing: Benefits, Challenges and Key Steps to Building Internal Capability,” is based on a survey of 119 US-based brand representatives. It found 18 per cent of brands involved in programmatic buying had completely moved the programmatic buying functions in-house and 47 per cent of those surveyed had moved select programmatic functions in-house.
Closer to home, and both Lenovo and CommBank have said bringing programmatic in-house has lead to lower costs and greater transparency, yet the limited scale of the Australian market might limit the strength of Accenture’s in-house programmatic pitch.
One of the biggest problems companies face when they try to take control of their own programmatic efforts is that building such a desk internally requires significant headcount investment to cover of the wide range of skills required. Few Australian businesses have the scale of campaign spend to justify such an investment.
By way of example, even though Lenovo went down this route in recent years it eventually sent the desk back to its agencies.
Former Lenovo APAC digital and social marketing director Danielle Uskovic told this year’s Programmatic Summit in Sydney a big part of the reasons was the difficult cost justification, despite the clear benefits.
Uskovic, in her Programmatic Summit presentation, told delegates,“We improved efficiency by 30 per cent. We dropped our CPM by 50 per cent. Viewability increased by 337 per cent and fraud fell down below 3 per cent.”
However, she acknowledged that the costs couldn’t be justified on an ongoing basis and the decision was made to go back out to its partners.
Understanding how hard the cost justification can be, a cynic might suspect that Accenture Interactive locally will be tempted to employ a bait and switch strategy – selling the virtues of programmatic in-house to brands, and then pushing managed services when the headcount costs degrade any ROI in the business case.
Of course, we would never suggest such a thing.
“Advertisers are reacting to the changing media landscape and they want to move beyond the status quo and take back control of their media capability,” said Scott Tieman, global lead of programmatic services, Accenture Interactive.
“We believe we can help our clients do things differently. Accenture Interactive has an offering that is highly differentiated in the market and is built on a foundation of trust and transparency. We have the ability to leverage Accenture’s global footprint and capabilities to integrate strategy, creative, data, technology and analytics together to drive superior results – a clear advantage for our clients.”