WEBINAR July 23 - Political Advertising With L2's Paul Westcott

managed service
Dec 08, 2023

How to decide if managed service is right for you

Dayna Lang
Author Dayna Lang

For many marketers, managed service proves to be an ideal setup for optimizing campaigns and reaching customers, but it isn’t for everyone. That’s why self-serve options have seen so much growth over the past several years – with marketers diving headfirst into programmatic advertising solutions they can manage themselves. 

With this speedy growth, it’s easy to overlook the many benefits of managed service and to ignore the potential it has for marketers concerned with brand safety or without the resources to appropriately manage their campaigns from start to finish. 

To effectively decide which option is best for you, managed service or self-serve, it’s first important to understand the differences between the two. 

What is self-serve programmatic advertising?

Self-serve programmatic advertising is when an advertiser uses their Demand Side Platform (DSP) or journey advertising platform, like illumin, to conduct their advertising campaigns in-house. This means the majority, if not all, of targeting is managed by the brand itself. This option gives marketers better immediate control over their budgets, frequency, and creatives. 

This method of advertising is great for smaller teams and budget-conscious organizations. It lets advertisers be more active and hands-on, giving them close control of the entire process. Marketers using self-serve can effectively track their campaigns in real-time with maximum control so that they can make changes on the fly. This means they can easily adapt to new data to better reach customers.    

What is managed service for advertising? 

Managed service is exactly what it sounds like; this method of advertising is where marketers create a strategy and budget in partnership with a marketing agency and that agency then conducts the campaigns for them. It is also sometimes called Direct or Direct IO. 

With managed service, markers will have what is called an Insertion Order or Media Plan; this plan sets out a fixed CPM, a fixed number of impressions, and a fixed Total Spend so that their service provider can best meet their needs.

Since an outside source is fully managing a brand’s advertising campaigns, marketers can explore, invest in, and adopt programmatic ad strategies alongside experienced ad operations professionals – benefiting from their knowledge and resources. 

One downside of managed service is the elevated costs when compared to self-service options. While cost is definitely a consideration for some, this method is advantageous for those without the need or want to dedicate budget to extra personnel resources, and would rather spend those resources on the expertise managed service can provide. 

It isn’t just for those without experience, though, it is also a great option for companies looking to offload some work, those looking for premium customer service, or organizations for which brand safety is a primary concern (like regulated industries, political causes, large enterprises, and brand directs).


Why choose managed service? 

Managed service is typically a more appealing option for brands and teams just getting started with programmatic advertising; they will see the immediate benefit from the expertise of a managed service team. Since managed service provides marketing teams with the opportunity to work alongside ad operations experts, newer organizations can gain immediate assistance and industry insight. 

These teams also likely don’t have the resources and time to spare to run a self-serve campaign. By utilizing managed service, teams can free up resources for other marketing priorities. 

In addition to the benefit of industry experience, brands using managed services can also take advantage of the add-ons offered by most agencies. These can include creative consultation and data gathering via brand lift and foot traffic studies. 

Managed service providers can provide feedback on creatives, and even build bridges between brands and creative agencies to streamline the creation process. They can also help brands optimize their size and formats to comply with niche ad spaces. This is especially helpful for those working with complex formats like digital out-of-home (DOOH)

Finally, many organizations benefit from the client support offered by managed service providers. There is nothing quite like the peace of mind provided by quality client support. This gives many marketers with lower bandwidth the ability to set it and forget it (for a time) knowing that they have the full support of a qualified ad operations team minding the ins and outs of their campaigns. 

Managed service gives marketers the knowledge that any questions they have can be answered with a quick phone call or email. They can put their campaign out of mind and focus on other work, knowing their strategy is in the best of hands. By taking advantage of experienced managed service providers, marketers can more effectively allocate their resources for the most impactful ad campaign possible. 


Journey advertising made easy

Learn how illumin unlocks the power of journey advertising

Get started!

To see more from illumin, be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn where we share interesting news and insights from the worlds of ad tech and advertising.