Lee Brisco on Programmatic Strategy for 2023

Written by
Fifty Team

13 Jan, 2023

We sat down with Lee Brisco, Fifty’s Head of Programmatic, to have him outline the advertising space and how it has evolved since its introduction from over a decade ago, particularly in a post-COVID world. Read through our interview as he details the advantages, disadvantages and trends moving forward, as well as the most important points to carry with you when thinking about Programmatic for your business.

Hi Lee, thank you for being here! So why don’t we get started by discussing some of the benefits and drawbacks of Programmatic?

Lee Brisco, Head of Programmatic
Yeah, sounds great. So programmatic has been around for about 15 years now, and it's evolved a lot over that time. There’s a bit of a myth that programmatic is a channel when really it’s just a way of purchasing media across various channels. You can purchase Display, Connected TV, Video, Audio, basically all different types of offerings. It uses a DSP, so there is a certain biddable process for that, but overall buying has evolved tremendously over the years.

In terms of the data it can use, it's really granular, so time of day, day of the week, the audiences – that all evolved over time. When programmatic began, it was fairly limited in its capacity, but now there is a lot more freedom, versatility and flexibility in its ability to plug into any platform or technology. In comparison, a lot of paid social channels work in walled gardens, where you've only got the ads manager of that specific paid channel. If you're really looking to tailor a campaign for a client with a highly specialised approach, then programmatic is a really effective channel to do that.

F1: Benefits of Programmatic
F1: Benefits of Programmatic

Sounds like there are a lot of positives with this form of advertising. With those advantages, can you go into some of the drawbacks that come with that?

There is a lot of data, which while it can be a good thing, comes with the downside of quantity. In programmatic you get exposed to so much data all the time, and it can become overwhelming. The key to it is really being able to understand what you’re looking at and use the information most applicable for the campaign.

You can pull almost any metric from a DSP, but when we are giving feedback to clients we really need to focus on what is important to them and their individual campaign needs. Our insights team provides detailed data analysis and allows us to be really good at taking important parts of a campaign and relating that back to a bigger campaign message. The key part is relating data to actual human behaviours - and ultimately how Fifty can change that.

Shifting a little from the positives and negatives, can you tell us some of the leading trends right now in Programmatic? What does the market look like currently?

We went through a spell about six months ago with lots of mergers and acquisitions, post-COVID. We’re past that period, and the industry has consolidated. There is an increase in the amount of tech partners in the space, but work with a much more diverse product offering. This has been a key trend so far and you may start to see this moving forward in terms of your partner selection; there is a smaller selection to choose from but they all offer more opportunities.

F3: Lee Brisco discusses Programmatic at Fifty
F3: Lee Brisco discusses Programmatic at Fifty

And in the realm of post-COVID, everyone's out of the home again. Can you run us through digital out of home advertising? Has that changed now that people are out?

Yeah, it's really recovered with the increase in footfall after a tough few years of the pandemic where we spent a lot of time at home. We've now got some key integrations with major digital out of home partners. These partners are developing their own DSPs and approaches. It's important that we're selecting the right ones and aligning our strategy to reflect how their DSPs and ways of working operate. The way we can target people is constantly maturing, but the main thing is footfall is up!

Amazing. And where does programmatic fit in the marketing funnel would you say?

Programmatic fits in a lot of places. It depends on what you really want out of a campaign. For example, if you've got a high brand led campaign, it fits at the top of the funnel. There are a lot of things you can do, whether it’s Connected TV, Rich Media, etc. If you have a real performance DR campaign, it can also fit. In this situation, you can plug into different lead generation partners and there are different performance creatives that we offer. Programmatic, by nature, has exposure to lots of product offerings and creative types, which means it is able to be used for lots of different parts in the funnel.

F1: Programmatic in the Marketing Funnel
F1: Programmatic in the Marketing Funnel

And so can you talk a little bit about Fifty and how they really excel in this area?

Yeah, sure. It comes down to the product diversification we've been doing and being able to hit audiences (we call these tribes) not just in a display environment, but across the Open Web, Video, Connected TV, and against Digital Out of Home. That's something that we're really developing and when we're at our best, it builds an audience funnel ultimately a purchase funnel.

I've had a few really big campaigns where they're using all these touch points and seeing strong results, because intrinsically you're building a relationship for the consumer. Rather than bombarding them on a set channel, they're getting exposure to you over multiple touch points and that feeds a story and a brand to them which ultimately leads to purchases. So, I'd say the most successful campaigns at the moment are the ones which are utilising all these different touch points and building a narrative with the customer.

Thanks for going into that for us. I think we touched on a lot of great points. Can you consolidate them into three main takeaways that you think are most important for the coming landscape of programmatic?

The first takeaway is key, and it is to maintain the quality of what we're buying. There's an economic headwind coming and we're experiencing it at the moment. It is important as an industry to maintain the quality of the media and our best practise standards and avoid sacrificing on them in the pursuit of quick gains. Doing so would affect reputation, performance, and intrinsically it's all linked.

Second is expanding the channel offering. The programmatic industry is evolving and we're now buying against a lot of different spaces and different areas where we couldn't buy before, and we need to continue that trend.

The third would be to focus on the partners that you're activating against and understand what they do on the plan, specifically how they're helping and what their full supply path is. This is to ensure you're not duplicating campaign buys and that they're able to deliver the results that were promised. In the industry there can be a lot of confusion and trying to fully understand what you want to achieve is hard, so understanding the partner of selection and what they're doing is key.

Amazing! Well again, we touched on a lot of great points and I can't wait to see where this goes in 2023. Thank you so much for joining us. And I think that wraps up this conversation.

Want to learn more about Fifty's offerings? Book a demo today or reach out at hello@fifty.io.

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