Since pharma brand Bayer brought its data-management platform and analytics in-house in January, the results have been dramatic.

Bayer has seen a 9 percent increase in viewability across desktop display and video ads. Rates for its viewable CPMs have declined by 42 percent for desktop display ads and 70 percent for desktop video ads. Bayer also increased its engagement rate, which it measures using a proprietary formula that factors in click-through rates and attribution, by 56 percent.

“The way the model worked before, [the media agency] used multiple disparate platforms to deliver all of our media,” said Jeff Rasp, director of digital strategy at Bayer Consumer Health, speaking at Digiday’s Programmatic Marketing Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. “I now have one consolidated platform to deliver that media, where I can see it altogether, rather than in isolation.”

Rasp declined to provide raw numbers or mobile statistics.

Bayer was able to increase engagement and get the same impressions at a lower cost because controlling the DMP, which it accesses from Google, made it easier to transfer user data across campaigns. This led to more effective targeting and ad serving, Rasp said. Bayer still outsources its ad server and demand-side platform to its media agency, which Rasp declined to name, but it has an agreement in place to transfer over the control of these platforms, too. (Rasp wouldn’t say when.)

“Going in-house isn’t throwing a switch,” he said. “It is an evolution we’re embarking on over a three- to five-year period.”

The Association of National Advertisers’ media-transparency report released in June, which found that kickbacks and rebates were pervasive among media buyers, was the catalyst that pushed Bayer toward moving its programmatic in-house, Rasp said. By the end of the year, Rasp wants to make its programmatic capabilities more advanced by expanding its audience segmentation, user targeting and reporting.

While Rasp was bullish about brands taking more control over their programmatic advertising, he stressed that Bayer won’t ever go completely entirely in-house. Even after Bayer brings the DSP and ad server in-house, it will seek its agency’s guidance on where and when to buy inventory and how to measure campaign effectiveness, Rasp said.

“The goal isn’t about walking away from the agency,” he said. “It is more about owning the tools. Because when you control the platforms, you can now ensure that you are doing the right thing for your organization.”

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