Media buying for your advertising efforts use to be purchased from individual publishers by phone, fax, or email. But now, with the advancement in technology and increase in digital marketing, ads can be automatically purchased to pinpoint precisely what audience to target with the right message, in the proper context.
Programmatic advertising is just one of the ways that ad buying has become less personal and more automated. With programmatic advertising, brands or businesses can automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics. Programmatic ad buying uses software to buy digital advertising.
In this article, I’ll be taking a look at programmatic advertising and how this type of ad purchasing can benefit brands by capturing the attention of the consumer in a high-demand society.
Why Programmatic Advertising?
Consumers are being inundated with ads now more than ever. As consumers, we have gone from being exposed to about 500 brand and advertising messages per day to an average of 5,000 messages a day in just the last 50 years,
With the increased concentration of ads, capturing the consumer’s attention and getting them to engage with a brand’s messaging has become more and more difficult. But with the challenge of increased volume also comes increase opportunity, as there are so many platforms now for ads. Whether it’s a TV, a smartwatch, a billboard, or even a refrigerator, any surface that has a screen is an opportunity for you to tell a brand’s story.
One hurdle marketers continue to face is the ability to target the right audience. With programmatic advertising, marketers get help in today’s high-demand economy of attention by ensuring brands are being connected with the right audience. This allows marketers to focus on delivering relevance and measuring outcomes to create experiences that are timely and engaging.
Programmatic advertising helps keep marketers on the right track by giving them the ability to maintain a consistent view of how consumers interact with their messages across multiple devices and platforms.
How Does Programmatic Marketing Work?
On the marketer’s end, programmatic advertising automatically bids on ad space and connects to multiple online publishers, enabling advertisers to streamline the process of buying online ads without having to liaise with every publisher individually.
Programmatic advertising words by recording consumer behavior. When anyone clicks on a web page that has ad space that is already configured for programmatic advertising, then the publisher of the page puts up an ad impression for auction in an ad marketplace.
The ad marketplace then runs an auction among advertisers that are interested in displaying an ad to that specific customer that had just clicked on the page to create the ad impression. It is possible that there may be many advertisers competing in the same auction, so whichever advertiser is willing to bid the most ultimately wins the auction. This means that their ad is displayed to the customer when the page loads.
It may sound convoluted, but this entire auction takes place within milliseconds. This is because the process is automated, and each advertiser has already set the maximum price they are willing to bid for the impression. The auction takes place in the space of time it takes for the page to load. The automated nature of the process and the speed that it takes place opens up opportunities for marketers that would not be possible if the ad placement was done manually.
Programmatic advertising allows advertisers to procure digital media without having to pre-negotiate a price, so they pay only for the relevant impression that they actually receive. They are also able to sign up for a minimum number of impressions or minimum budget, which makes digital advertising more flexible. There is also a reduced administration cost as they can buy digital media across publishers.
Brands Bring Programmatic In-House
As programmatic advertising continues to grow, brands have had time to learn the ins and outs of how programmatic buying and selling actually works. This has made brands more inclined to bring the discipline in-house, pivoting away from external media agencies. This gives brands increased control and greater transparency into how their budget is allocated.
By taking things in-house, brands can control the placement of the ads, as working with outside agencies can sometimes lead to ads being place alongside unsavory content. By controlling the ad placement, brands have more control over brand integrity and messaging.
An example of brands being unhappy with the content their ads are aligned with is YouTube. Many brands boycotted the platform after finding their ad content alongside videos from extremist channels. Aside from brand safety, transparency and accurate metrics are undoubtedly the biggest concerns from brands across the board, and these have been the driving forcing to moving the process in-house.
However, fraud is also a major concern for brands when it comes to programmatic ad buys. Aside from ensuring their ad dollars are going where they should be, top challenges for both agencies and brands continue to be targeting, measurement and metrics, and lack of knowledge/skills related to programmatic.
The knowledge/skill issue is one that brands have been having trouble surmounting. So far, brands have reported more of a challenge by a lack of in-house programmatic skills than agencies, with 37 percent of brands citing the skill gap as a challenge versus 27 percent of agencies
For brands looking to incorporate programmatic advertising in-house, there are some key things to consider:
5 Tips for Brands to Master Programmatic Buying:
1) Invest in the right skills.
Whether employing specialists or investing in training for existing staff, be sure that you have people who truly understand the logistics of programmatic technologies. Any team member working with these technologies should be able to combine their knowledge of data and analytics with an understanding of human behaviors.
2) Rely on more than analytics.
It takes far more than a reliance on website analytics that tracks cookies or devices to make programmatic advertising work. Instead of relying on technology, there is a need for this to be paired with survey data that reflects real people in order for your brand to have a deeper understanding of your audience and the touchpoints that matter. A great resource is GlobalWebIndex, which is home to the world’s largest study on the digital consumer, giving brands ready access to the insights they need, when they need it.
3) Optimize for the right channels and devices.
Use the insights gathered from GlobalWebIndex or other digital consumer insight reports, and pair them with your real-time analytics in order to find out which channels and devices will prove most effective for your campaign. Combining every resource you have will ensure that your tactics have the desired impact.
4) Capitalize on your first-party customer data.
Don’t discount the work you’ve already done when it comes to consumer insights. Make use of the data you already have on user and customer behaviors to deliver personalized messages to the right people and in the right context.
5) Test your campaigns.
Just because you’re using more advanced technologies doesn’t mean you should get rid of all of the trusted processes and strategies you’ve been using. Continue to use advertising effectiveness solutions to test the impact of your campaign on the objectives and brand metrics you want to measure. This will ensure that no budget is wasted and will ensure know where to focus your efforts next time around.
There’s no day that technology has changed the ways that brands are now purchasing ad space. Grabbing the consumer’s attention and keeping them engaged is becoming more of a challenge as advertising spaces become more saturated. However, using browser algorithms, programmatic ads can help make sure that you’re connecting the right audience with the right message, all in the right context and across multiple devices and platforms.
If you haven’t adopted programmatic advertising into your marketing strategy, then you might want to get on it—it’s predicted that automated ad buying will account for two-thirds of the world’s digital display advertising by 2019. Buyers and sellers are investing heavily in automated ad buying, and they will only continue to do so.
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