Programmatic advertising is growing increasingly in popularity amongst marketers – across multiple channels, it’s important to have an understanding behind what programmatic advertising is and how it all works with other marketing channels before kicking off your first campaign.
In this post, I will try to explain the basics of programmatic advertising from an industry perspective and the benefits of integrating programmatic advertising into marketing efforts.
What is programmatic advertising?
Simply stated, programmatic advertising is the automated process of buying and selling ad inventory through an exchange, connecting advertisers to publishers. This process uses real-time bidding for inventory across mobile, display, video, OTT and social channels – TV is no exception – in US though in many regions it’s still evolving
Over the years we have seen that programmatic advertising interest has steadily increased all started with the basic RTB offering coming into the marketplace & evolving form there. While traditional display advertising interest has started to see a decline – though for any premium publisher Direct ad sales still contributes to 60-70% of the overall revenue.
How does programmatic advertising work?
Backend algorithms that analyze a visitor’s behavior allowing for real time campaign optimizations towards an audience more likely to convert. Programmatic companies have the ability to gather this audience data to then target more precisely, whether it’s from 1st party (their own) or from a 3rd party data provider.
Programmatic media buying includes the use of DSPs, SSPs and DMPs. DSPs, (demand side platforms) which facilitate the process of buying ad inventory on the open market, provide the ability to reach your target audience due to the integration of DMPs (data management platforms). DMPs collect and analyze a substantial amount of cookie data to then allow the marketer to make more informed decisions of whom their target audience may be.
On the publisher side of things, publishers manage their unsold ad inventory through an SSP (supply side platform). An SSP reports attention data such as how long a visitor was on a specific site or how many pages were viewed per visit. SSPs will ultimately be in charge of picking the winning bid and will serve the winning banner ad on the publisher’s site.
Marketers Concerns / Challenges in this space
Programmatic advertising was essentially designed to be scalable, efficient, and precise. There may be multiple reasons why brands are unsure about this type of advertising, but I will address the top three industry concerns when it comes to launching a programmatic campaign.
1. Ad Fraud: Ad fraud is a huge concern when executing a programmatic campaign, or a display campaign in general, With advancements in programmatic technology, we can identify fraudulent traffic based on the behavior of the user. Over a short amount of time, the technology continues to learn which leads are lower quality, allowing marketers to pivot campaigns towards the types of leads that are more likely to convert, ultimately increasing overall ROI.
2. Viewability: With programmatic advertising, you can adjust your campaign based on if the inventory is above the fold (ATF) or below the fold (BTF), allowing for a more strategic campaign based on your end goal. If a campaign is more of a branding initiative, ad placement may not be a huge focus for the overall campaign. However, if a campaign is focused on generating leads and conversions, ad placement that is ATF would be the priority to gain max visibility.
3. Brand Safety Companies that specialize in ensuring brand safety are now integrated with many programmatic advertisers. These companies, such as Integral Ad Science Or DoubleVerify or Moat , strive to ensure that ads only appear on brand safe pages. With programmatic, marketers have the insights they need to garner the best results for their campaign.
Programmatic Advertising Advantages
Although there may be some concerns, I do believe that programmatic advertising benefits outweigh the concerns as programmatic technology is continually working towards identifying and solving these issues in an effort to further fine-tune marketers’ campaigns. The following are five top benefits of programmatic advertising that can help improve any marketing campaign:
1. Target your KPIs more closely: Programmatic technology is continually working to improve performance towards your campaigns KPIs and increasing overall ROI.
2. Cost Effective: With programmatic, advertisers have the ability to adjust CPMs in real time dependent upon how heavily that impression is valued.
3. Scalability: Programmatic allows you to to reach a larger audience across multiple websites and touch points in a timely and efficient manner.
4. Easier Media Buying: Forget the complication of RFIs, RFQs & RFPs and spend more time focusing on the overall strategy for your campaign through programmatic technology.
5. Gain more customer insights: Learn more about your audience! Programmatic technology is continually gathering “smart” data based upon the type of individual that engages with your brand. Take these learnings and apply it across all marketing efforts to increase overall campaign performance, creating a more holistic marketing approach.
In order to make brand advertising work, many have turned to programmatic due to the many advantages it offers, stating numerous times that the biggest advantage is the ability to adjust the campaign in real time. Instead of planning your media buy on where you think your customers are, start focusing on the overall strategy and goal to reach the audience you want. With the ability to adjust the campaign in real time based on the insights gathered, you start to better understand who your target audience is, allowing for further refinement across all marketing channels.
When you run a programmatic campaign, you are constantly gathering consumer data points to learn more about your converting audience. With the ability to gather these audience insights, you can then take these learnings to create a more holistic marketing strategy. Additionally, you use other channels to improve your next programmatic campaign
Instead of compartmentalizing your marketing strategies, start focusing on incorporating all efforts as one large overarching marketing plan to improve ROI across all customer touch points.

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