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Be Certain Interview Series: Programmatic Analyst | Robert Christian


Welcome to our next installment of our Be Certain Interview Series, where we interview various leaders in the marketing industry about how Datorama is helping them gain certainty in their roles.

For today’s interview, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Robert Christian, Data Analyst and Programmatic Trader at News Xtend, the digital marketing extension of News Corp Australia. As one of Australia’s biggest media conglomerates, News Corp has a robust and vast database that News Xtend taps into for sophisticated audience targeting. That gives News Xtend’s clients fantastic results – and quite a bit of data to parse through.

That trove of data unlocks a lot of potential, but also puts pressure on Programmatic Traders given recent uncertainty in the marketing space. Programmatic trades and inventory have boomed in this decade. Zenith’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts 2019 projected 68% of all ad spend would be programmatic in 2020 (source).

But, that trend is complicated by the recent tightening of budgets during these times of uncertainty. eMarketer found that in response to COVID, agency and marketing professionals dramatically decreased their budgets across almost all channels.

This puts Programmatic Traders in a tough situation. Programmatic has always operated on thin margins, where each dollar needs to be spent with certainty. This increased focus on budget makes that more of a focal point than ever.

In our interview, Rob discusses how he and his colleagues use Datorama to confidently and efficiently harness data, measurement, and insight to power growth and optimize returns despite uncertainty.

Name: Robert Christian

Title: Data Analyst and Programmatic Trader
Company: News Corp Australia

Q: Tell us about yourself: tell us your name, your title, and one undeniable fact about you.
A: My name is Robert Christian, I started as a Programmatic Trader at News Xtend at the end of 2017, and have since moved into a dual role as a Data Analyst. A fun fact about me is that I got started writing code by building art tools for game development.

Q: Give us a breakdown of your responsibilities by month:
A: In recent months, I’ve spent the majority of my time on data related projects and reporting, and about a third of my time on the maintenance of display and social campaigns.

Q: I’m sure your job is tough. What do you find is the most difficult part about your job?
A: The biggest challenge I deal with on a day to day is working with data in a very rapidly evolving business. We have new products, vendors, workflows and markets launching regularly so I have to stay on my toes to keep up.

Q: How does Datorama help you “Be Certain” in your job?
A: My favorite aspect of Datorama is the extreme flexibility to build very custom solutions and clean data. By using Datorama’s custom Calculated Measurements and Calculated Dimensions, I’m able to turn what can be quite messy source data into some very useful Dashboards. This allows each person within the business to monitor their entire portfolio in one source of truth.

Q: What’s one solution you’ve come up with that you’re Certain others will find cool?
A: One of the more useful solutions I’ve built out recently has been a hive team based scorecard which is used by various teams of roughly 10 in the business. A hive in News Xtend is a small team consisting of Campaign Managers, Search, Social, and Programmatic specialists.

The teams use the scorecard which combines Display, Social and Search data, along with Salesforce IO data to create an agenda of items to address in a call each week. This has helped in keeping our teams collaborating, as each hive consists of multiple specialists managing shared clients. The dashboard helps to drive conversation and strategy changes.

Q: You manage so many media transactions – probably multiple since the beginning of this sentence! How does Datorama help you Be Certain that all of your programmatic buys are smartly executed and optimized?
A: By using the cross-product and -industry data we have in Datorama, I have created an automated performance variance detection process.

Delivery data is compared against a set of benchmark measurements which evaluate based on the product, objective and industry if a campaign is meeting an expected result.

Underperforming campaigns are flagged, and brought into trader specific Dashboards. This allows a single trader to manage an average of 100-200 campaigns at a time with certainty. This management includes changes and optimisations to strategy, targeting, creative, and budget allocation while a campaign is in flight.

Q: News Corp is one of the largest media conglomerates in Australia. How does Datorama help you Be Certain the massive amount of data you handle is handled effectively and accurately?
A: I find it extremely easy to verify data with Datorama’s very customisable Calculated fields and Media Cost Centre. On top of that the detailed Audit Trails and Data Stream Logs make it easy to complete audits for accuracy.

Interested in learning more about News Xtend’s marketing intelligence journey? Check out the full case study here. Want to share your own story? Reach out to your Success team. And continue the conversation with Rob in our Datorama Community.

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