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Planning, building, launching, and optimizing campaigns around the clock with precision and global consistency.

Media activation provides depth of expertise in Search, Social, Display, Video, Audio, TV (Linear/Advanced), and Traditional channels in the form of exciting recommendations, industry-leading optimization, and insightful reporting. We define best practices for every channel and ensure we partner with the best vendors. We buy, deliver, and optimize media plans according to best practice, and maintain accurate and usable data for every channel.

What We Do

Holistic paid media strategies, tailored to each channel and buying door.

Essence’s activation team brings brands to life for consumers around the world, every second of the day. 

We unite specialists in the following channels into interdisciplinary teams that thrive on finding new ways to connect products and information with the right people, in the right place, at the right time for their needs.

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    • As Google’s search agency we define best practices for the industry and pioneer new approaches for emerging technologies and consumer behaviors.
    • We lead the industry in the application of machine learning to campaign planning and management.
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    Organic performance

    • Consulting services and custom technology provides clients with data-informed recommendations and answers to the most unique business challenges as well as automated content gap analyses and prioritization assessments.
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    • Essence is one of the top investment and measurement partners across all social platforms with partnerships that supercharge social through proprietary technology
    • Advanced analytics capabilities allow us to turn social engagement into signals that drive broader marketing performance.
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    • As the industry's leading programmatic agency we see programmatic as an opportunity to reinvent advertising and unlock unprecedented levels of effectiveness and value
    • We believe all formats that can be bought in a programmatic and optimizable environment should be in order to maximize the value of each impression we buy on our clients’ behalf.
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    Partnership & Investment

    • Our Partnerships & Investment team maintain an end-to-end view of all partner relationships. This allows us to drive innovation in experience and performance by deepening collaboration between our clients and our partners.
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    Impression-based TV

    • The video marketplace has been disrupted. Sales channels are automating and inventory is being bought through platforms. Data is being applied across Unit and Impression models. Our approach is rooted in learning and measurement with the right tools.
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    • Podcasts and streaming are driving growth in audio. We use digital to drive relevance and accountability; focusing on creativity and maximizing the role of each channel. We invest in 'audio everywhere' and 'digital-specific' inventory for maximum leverage.
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    • Retailers are opening up inventory and platforms are increasing the prominence of Shopping formats sparking a renaissance in ecommerce. Our approach combines product data with competitive and customer data to tailor messaging and optimization.


We're learning as fast as the machines.

Our Media Activation Team constantly develops new tools and methods for improving and automating Media Activation in a complex advertising ecosystem. Examples include - but are not limited to - the following:


    Social platforms insist that optimization be carried out using measurement within the walled garden. PACMAN is our tool to optimize social using a cross-channel dataset which takes a brick out of the wall.

  • Best Practice Checker

    The fundamentals never go out of style. We’re proud of our 150+ point best practice checklist and deploy a series of scripts to ensure they’re implemented at all times via automation.

  • Cross-Channel Pacing Docs

    Manually checking the pacing of a campaign across all platforms every day is a time consuming process and is prone to errors which could result in an incorrect action being taken or and therefore budgets being under or overspent. Cross-Channel Pacing Docs automatically pulls campaign data from a range of platforms on a daily basis to calculate the pacing and provide all teams with an instant overview of how their campaigns are delivering.

  • Project Insight

    Pulling detailed reports from AdWords, especially cross-account and for different conversion events, is time consuming and awkward. Project Insight gives users fast and easy access to the information they need to get the best out of their campaigns. This is not only down the to speed at which data is returned from the API, but also by showing where the pockets of strong performance lie, and which inventory or targeting tactics should be disregarded.

  • Pieno

    Having the right keywords is the cornerstone of any search campaign but identifying which potential keywords are safe and valuable is a difficult task. Pieno scans opportunities against current account keywords, banned list and negatives and works out which keywords to add and where to add them, allowing us to maximize coverage without incurring additional brand risk.

  • Yalla

    There are lots of third party tools to optimize bids but none to optimize ad copy itself. In our marketing meritocracy, it's more important than ever for our search copy to stand out in the crowd. Yalla scores each of our search accounts against a series of rules allowing us to apply the same scientific rigor to optimizing our copy as we do to our bidding structure.

Case Study

Advancing automated bidding with machine learning and Google's Custom Algorithm.

Essence deploys machine learning using a “custom algorithm” on DV360, allowing advertisers to value impressions based on their own data. This allows us to influence and train a DSP’s bidding algorithm to maximize to the “total value” of an impression as we define it, rather than to default metrics like clicks or conversions.

In the example below: we applied a custom algorithm to bid based on viewable CPM rather than use the viewability bidding model supported by the standard bidder. Ultimately, we served better quality viewable impressions at lower costs . 

Google ingests data from a vast network of partner sites and uses sophisticated algorithms to filter out the noise and create valuable audiences brands can target programmatically. With the amount of information that flows through their ad stack every day, it's hard to imagine there's any headroom for improvement in terms of bid optimization. But one of Google’s core values is that "great isn't good enough." We agree, so we set out to improve the performance of the world's best bid optimizer — Google’s own. As effective as their algorithm is, it relies on data from a broad range of industries, customers, and campaigns, which are executed at various levels of quality and hygiene. To counteract that, we wanted to create an algorithm based solely on our brand’s data.

We have a database of effectiveness experiments we’ve run on Google's marketing campaigns over the past decade, giving us a detailed understanding of how marketing can change people's attitudes or behaviors toward Google products and services. We zeroed in on data regarding adoption and usage. These results became the foundation for a model identifying important signals for whether a person is likely to become a valuable user for Google. We then input these signals into the programmatic buying platform to tweak its bidding algorithm. Our model filled in what the auto-bidders lacked and set the algorithm to prioritize users who matched this profile. 

We used a randomized control trial to show that the users we persuaded to buy via the customized algorithm spent 9% more on average than the customers brought in by Google’s off-the-shelf auto bidder. The revenue growth from these higher value users represented a gain of $9 million on projected returns, a 22% increase on that campaign’s return on advertising spend. 

To scale this process, we used tools from the Google Cloud Platform, like TensorFlow, to automate the development of an initial custom model. This way, we can test these algorithms as quickly as possible. Once validated, we add these custom algorithms into our media activation stack, so that buyers can access them with the push of a button. We also established a feedback loop; every day our model ingests additional data from the previous day’s algorithmic activity. Thus, the algorithms are continually “learning” how to make media more efficient and effective for specific brands’ needs.

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    Increase in spend

    Custom algorithm conversions brought in 9% more on average.

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    Return on investment

    Our custom algorithm campaign produced a 22% increase return on advertising spend.


Our global Activation leadership team

Essence's leaders in Activation bring together decades of expertise as practitioners to deliver the world's most valuable advertising.

We’re changing the way people think about advertising with services built for a new generation of marketers—and their audiences.

Our Services