Programmatic helps brands understand the impact of digital marketing efforts in real time and act on these insights quickly. Capabilities such as viewability, digital GRP, brand lift, organic search lift and attribution modelling change brand measurement from a digital weakness to a digital strength. These innovations help organisations get closer to the aim of brand measurement that's as actionable as direct response measurement is today.

June 2015

With the abundance of audience and campaign insights that programmatic buying provides, brands can make smarter decisions than ever before. In the area of brand measurement, they can finally understand if ads were seen and if they reached the right audience. They can learn what audiences thought about ads and if these ads changed perception. They can also review what audiences did as a result of seeing their ads. In the area of attribution, it's now possible to analyse the purchase path and understand which of the many audience touchpoints influences action the most.

Brands now have access to measurement and attribution solutions that are rooted in audience insights, so they can put the user first. A good attribution model facilitates collaboration, which means meaningful metrics can be easily shared. Unified measurement also enables brands to take action — real-time metrics let brands optimise campaigns immediately, not in weeks or months.

To develop a programmatic approach to measurement, organisations should follow these four actions:

1. Get brand ads in view

A display impression counts as viewable when 50% of an ad unit is in view on a screen for a minimum of one second. Use programmatic buying to target viewable impressions and ensure ads are seen.

2. Understand audience reach and composition

Use an integrated digital GRP tool to measure if campaigns are reaching the right audience in real time — and make adjustments if they aren't.

3. Measure brand lift in real time

Use integrated survey lift tools to generate real-time feedback on ad recall and brand awareness. For instance, use the results to learn what frequency maximises ad recall and which audiences drive the highest lift in brand awareness. Also study search lift, which measures how brand ads change search behaviour among exposed audiences. Go beyond traditional clicks and conversions to discover which ads resonated the most, and measure intent in the form of incremental related searches. Share survey lift and search lift results with creative and brand strategy teams to start conversations, and iterate upon digital campaigns.

4. Develop a custom attribution model

Invest in custom cross-channel attribution models to understand all digital touchpoints — not just the touchpoints that produced the last click — and how they drive conversions. Test different custom models to find which one provides the most accurate view of those touchpoints that are doing the most to influence audiences to take action.

Measurement is important because it can be used to evaluate media investments and improve media and creative strategies. What's different today is that programmatic buying and integrated platforms enable speed and actionability of measurement. These ad technologies power a real-time feedback loop that helps brands make every impression and every digital interaction smarter than the last. Brands no longer have to settle for reports that are available in days, weeks or months after a campaign runs. Instead, programmatic technologies provide real-time insights and automatic optimisations.