For those of us not familiar with Leapfrog Online, please tell us a little more about your company and core offering.
Leapfrog is a Performance Marketing Agency that for over 20 years has helped leading brands grow digital market share, acquire new customers, and deliver profitable sales. Our easy-to-integrate LFX Conversion Platform connects the consumer journey unlocking marketing intelligence that fuels omni-channel media buying strategies and the targeting of real-time, relevant consumer experiences that compel consumers to convert to customers. Leapfrog analyzes performance and consumer behavior to plan and predict with the purpose of driving continuous optimization.
Because we are a performance marketing company, most of the programmatic media strategies we develop for these verticals are focused on a desired consumer action. While this function alone doesn’t set us apart from other media companies, media buying and strategy is only one component to our offerings. Our approach is different in that we have complete visibility through the entire consumer journey. This includes post conversion activity which gives us insight into the quality and value of the leads we generate for our clients.
The Leapfrog Conversion Platform allows buyers to purchase search, display, video, twitter, email, facebook ads and track landing page and call center conversions all within one platform. Why do you think it is so important to have all this reporting data integrated and what are the benefits of cross-channel buying all housed in one platform?
The LFX Conversion Platform captures all media spend, digital & call response data, and performance data across channels into a data warehouse environment that is optimized for speed with an integrated visualization platform. Once that data is connected, a team of marketing analysts and data scientists use this data to build granular models for allocating budgets and forecasting results at the level of media type, device and geography under a variety of possible scenarios. Our connected data platform allows Leapfrog to clearly justify initial strategies, respond quickly to changes in the media environment, and to derive optimal responses to those changes. Having all of the data in one platform allows us to optimize our media spend across channels to focus on a desired consumer action while also allowing us the opportunity to pivot our analysis to meet changing marketplace needs.
It’s my opinion that there will always be some form of direct sales in digital media. In order to stay innovative, publishers must stay flexible to accommodate new ideas from advertisers. I think it’s fairly easy to subscribe to the idea that programmatic will encompass all aspects of digital media but not every ad execution can be productized.
Tell us more about the Leapfrog Marketing Institute.
Leapfrog Marketing Institute is focused on nurturing thought leadership and commentary about marketing in a digital world, with a specific focus on consumer-focused experiences and omni-channel conversion. Along with an Advisory Panel comprised of senior marketing and technology practitioners and professors from premier universities, the Leapfrog Marketing Institute publishes white papers, develops research reports, and hosts events for CMOs and industry influencers.
Is there a fundamental difference in programmatic buying for performance, as it is for branding? What are some typical KPIs used for performance campaigns? How is attribution accounted for in these campaigns?
I’ve worked on both sides of the fence. Programmatic buying for performance requires a much more intense focus on the details of your campaign. The most appropriate description for this activity is “Campaign Hygiene”. Every detail matters and every opportunity for optimization should be considered. At times this can feel like an infinite task but keeping good documentation of your efforts will allow you to dial in faster as your experience grows. The KPIs we use are always mindful of the consumer inquiry or conversion. Our attribution partner is Google Attribution 360 which provides us with insights and direction on the effectiveness of our programs.
Leapfrog Digital was named a top 100 digital company in Chicago by Built In Chicago. What does the digital landscape look like there, and what types of companies do you have in the area? Does it help being in a digital-centric city?
Chicago and the surrounding area is a hot bed for digital commerce and innovation. With top digital advertisers such as DeVry University, Allstate, Groupon, State Farm and so many more, it is no surprise that Chicago is viewed as a digital-centric city. For Leapfrog, operating in this environment creates a ready-made market for the kind of innovation that is embraced by top Chicago-based marketers and all our clients. In particular, the thirst for disruptive digital commerce and connected consumer journey solutions that don’t disrupt current technology infrastructure or legacy systems but still moves a marketer along the path of conversion optimization has emerged as a top CMO imperative.
It was recently reported that impression volume on AppNexus fell by over 90% after fraud was cut out of their exchange. What are your thoughts on ad fraud on the exchanges and what ways do you help your clients to ameliorate any potential fraud in their campaigns?
Ad fraud has been problem within the programmatic space for some time but I believe we’ve seen significant improvement over the past couple of years. Appnexus has shown tremendous integrity by meeting the issue head on and we’re seeing the industry support them. The best approach to fraud prevention is finding a technology partner who is invested in the future of programmatic media. For leapfrog, this partner is Google. I also believe that supporting organizations such as the IAB will allow us to keep the dialogue ongoing, open and honest.
Ad blocking has been an extremely hot topic of late, as it poses an existential threat to the entire advertising industry. How do you think this entire ad blocking issue will play out?
It’s too early to comment on this. It seems that every day I read statistics contradictory to the day before. There’s definitely a risk here but I also see an opportunity to improve the online ad experience.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of programmatic buying for performance marketers?
Programmatic buying for performance marketing will continue to become more personalized. I also think we’ll see the introduction of a marketplace for algorithms similar to what we’ve experienced with behavioral data. I see online media management shifting away from the ‘buyer/planner’ role to something much more complex. Add in some ‘machine learning’ and ‘human behavior’ and I would suspect we’re poised for something spectacular.
Leapfrog, the Performance Marketing Agency, for over 20 years has helped leading brands to grow digital market share, acquire new customers, and deliver profitable sales. The agency’s easy-to-integrate LFX Conversion Platform connects the consumer journey unlocking marketing intelligence that fuels omni-channel media buying strategies and the targeting of real-time, relevant consumer experiences that compel consumers to convert to customers. Leapfrog analyzes performance and consumer behavior to plan and predict with the purpose of driving continuous optimization.