#Programmatic #Digital Marketing

Five Key Things to Consider when Insourcing Programmatic

Insourcing is becoming more common for brands. The thinking behind this is both sound and understandable. In the current highly competitive advertising space, brands need to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness. They are also looking for transparency and ownership of both their data, media and performance.   

But how can brands make key and crucial business decisions if they lack transparency and ownership? Whether a brand should insource programmatic is a question that iProspect’s specialists are now asked on a regular basis.  

However, as with any major business change, insourcing comes with its own set of challenges, obstacles and potential pitfalls. Below I've outlined five key questions that every brand should be ask before deciding or implementing a plan to insource programmatic.  

First, what counts as Programmatic?  

This might seem like an obvious one, but before you start, make sure that all relevant internal stakeholders understand what programmatic is. This is because it can mean different things to different people. Programmatic covers a lot of different channels: Display, Video and Social. Each of these channels demand a slightly different skill level and can drastically change the shape and structure of an internal team.  

1. Complexity 

Do you understand the complexity of your current programmatic activity?  

With brands seeking greater transparency on programmatic, performance, spend and brand safety, the decision to insource can be reached before a full assessment of the complexity of activity is fully assessed and understood. Programmatic is not an easy channel to run and involves a level of complexity that requires a full grasp before any plans are put in place to insource. By understanding this complexity, it will help determine how you insource. If you underestime the complexity in the short term, it can lead to playing catch up later. This could result in an increase costs anambitions and goals that drive efficiency being underplayed. 

2. Performance  

How well is your current programmatic performing and can a centralised approach really drive efficiencies and effectiveness?   

This may seem obvious but knowing where you are initially, performance-wise, will give you a clear guiding light in terms of where you need to get to to achieve your objectives. This step is also important as it ultimately justifies the business decision to take programmatic inhouse.  

First, benchmark current programmatic performance across all channels and markets. Be sure to understand the current efficiency and effectiveness of your programmatic. Also, ensure that you know how much budget is currently allocated, the FTE resource to run the accounts, and the roles and responsibilities of the team. It would be a mistake to assume that the cost of an internal team will be lower than agencies fees. However, this should not be a deciding factor.  

3. Change Management  

With any change, whether it’s people, processes or technology, you must consider change management. When insourcing programmatic, you are essentially changing all three of these. Change management should be at the heart of your plans. Seeking guidance on things to consider will be crucial to the long-term success of your plans.  

Also, it’s equally important to define processes, workflows, best practice, ways of working, and training for both the new team and any wider internal teams that will be impacted. Don’t forget to get advocates onboard and involved in the process of insourcing early. This will help reduce anxiety, concern and a lack of visibility and projected success.  

4. People  

A crucial element to consider is your people plan. This extends to more than just recruiting an internal programmatic team. Your people plan needs to factor in changes to internal structures, lines of reporting, the impact a new team with have on the wider business and knowledge levels of programmatic across the business.  

In deciding who to hire, as well as how many people, ensure you understand:

  • the scope of activity currently running 

  • the complexity of skillsets required 

  • the channels in scope 

  •  how you want to structure your team  

Retention is also extremely important. All your planning and ambitions can be undermined if six months into the project you lose key personnel from the team. 


Insourcing programmatic is happening more and the reasons. To maximise the chance of success, iProspect encourages brands to consider all the elements that will go into insourcing If you are considering insourcing programmatic, or any element of your digital performance marketing and want support, please get in touch.