The Commonwealth Bank’s decision to bring its programmatic and social buying in-house has been hailed a success by its acting CMO Monique Macleod who described the experience as a “very worthwhile journey.”

“In 2015 we took the conscious decision to in-house most of our performance and digital media,” Macleod said during a presentation at IAB Australia’s Measure Up conference in Sydney today.

Since then the bank has seen a 20 per cent reduction in its programmatic CPA and a 30 per cent reduction in paid search. The decision to bring the digital buying in-house was motivated in part by a consideration for trust and transparency.


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“Customers are very, very sure about what they expect from us, in terms of their data and how we utilise it, we have to protect that so we really felt the need to do this in-house,” Macleod said.

“By bringing together our first party data with what we want to do with our targeting and messaging we knew that we could deliver better outcomes and so far that’s what we’ve seen.”

As an industry Macleod argued the digital media needs “new formats that genuinely engage with customers” and “tight process around brand safety are critical for us.”

To continue to grow the industry needs, “access to global best practice and benchmarking, quality programmatic inventory that we can buy and greater insights around targeting capability for our activity.”


Related: Bringing programmatic in-house was a real eye-opener, says Lenovo exec


Measurement builds trust

News Corp CDO Nicole Sheffield also spoke at the event where she argued that measurement is “absolutely critical” to establishing trust in an industry that’s facing increasing scrutiny.

“It’s incumbent on us to stay committed to measurement,” she said. Adding the industry has a responsibility to advertisers and the 19 million Australians “that choose to spend time with us – and a lot of time with us – every single day.”

“Trust is the secret sauce and for us,” Sheffield said.

“Having trust means that people need to not just trust that every eyeball is a real eyeball, they have to trust the engagement measures … and Australians need to trust the content they are consuming.”

Sheffield acknowledged the digital measurement is more complex than traditional media, but argued the industry should be proud of its efforts.

“Devices are changing all the time, browsers are changing, handsets are changing. Trying to measure that is not the same as measuring 2,000 television sets in 2,000 homes. It is incredibly difficult and different.”

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