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How to Prepare a Programmatic Workforce in Your Agency

How to Prepare a Programmatic Workforce in Your Agency

Friday, October 16, 2015
Guest Contributor

Quantitative skills in digital marketing

Math, Math and More Math!

We have all heard by now how programmatic media will grow exponentially in the near future… that’s old news. But are we prepared in terms of the expertise and knowledge base required to plan and deliver media campaigns in this burgeoning area? Do we, as agencies, have the right skill set to execute on the programmatic workforce promise to our clients? In this post, I will touch on the skill and knowledge base that’s needed to prepare your agency to succeed in this ever-evolving programmatic media landscape.

In pouring over data to find the best audience and tactics that will meet your client’s KPIs and get a better ROAS, it’s imperative that today’s agency folks have an extreme comfort level with math and quantitative knowledge. They have to be comfortable with at least Excel spreadsheets and, specifically, basic skills like pivot tables and concatenation among other features. Having deep knowledge in statistical software like SPSS will also help, particularly as the digital media world gets more sophisticated with large statistical databases, and media folk get a pulse on the vast amount of audience data available to make better media buying decisions. As a result, possessing the right level of left and right brain is important as digital marketing isn’t just about the art, but increasingly about the science of engaging your key consumers with your products and services throughout the consumer journey.


It’s important to have strong quantitative skills to be able to pull data and analyze for further optimizations. The ability to optimize in real-time on programmatic platforms have created a new breed of digital media traders and specialists that can pour over large amounts of data, come up with key findings and then apply those findings immediately onto the programmatic platforms, all within a few clicks. If we don’t act fast, thousands or millions of dollars will be wasted on impressions and clicks that don’t matter. Gone are the days of ad-op specialists who only traffic and report on the campaigns.

We, as agencies and marketers, are also becoming more and more sophisticated with attribution and predictive modeling concepts as the future of digital advertising lies in the data we gather and applying it in real-time. The ability to run attribution and predictive modeling concepts requires a strong analytical mindset. Could you imagine if the incorrect attribution model was applied? It would grossly impact the client’s campaigns in a negative way resulting in inefficient media being spent.

Just like in the financial services industry, we have quants – financial engineers — in the media world, the equivalent would be media traders. Many big programmatic agencies and exchangers are now hiring folks with strong quantitative backgrounds in science, engineering or business programs, who are extremely comfortable with math. If an arts graduate is comfortable with quantitative skills set, all the better as digital agencies and programmatic exchanges scramble to staff up with the growth of programmatic media dollars. Does that mean today’s ad-ops specialists who don’t upgrade their skill-set risk being left behind as more agencies require quant-type media traders and specialists? That’s good news for those quant folks who are interested in careers within the digital media and programmatic agencies and exchanges.

Think you have what it takes to enter the programmatic workforce? Check out DAC’s careers page for relevant openings.

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