Advertising trends come and go, but one that’s here to stay is programmatic advertising — the practice of using technology to automate advertising processes.
In fact, programmatic marketing is expected to more than double to $20.4 billion by 2016.
But there are many moving parts, and it can be a tricky topic. Here are a few things to know that will help you form a basis for thinking about programmatic advertising.
1. It sounds more complicated than it is.
Sure, there are a lot of moving parts and technology involved in programmatic advertising. But the concept itself is simple. Digiday defines it as “using machines to buy ads.”
Everything that’s involved in advertising — things like determining an ideal placement for your target audience, submitting a purchase order, message testing, estimating how many people actually saw the ad — can be done by technology and often instantaneously.
There are lots of players involved: ad networks, ad exchanges, data providers (shout-out to my former employer), demand-side platforms, reporting systems… they all have a hand in making successful digital advertising easier on humans.
The “LumaScape” shown at right is an example of how complex it can be.
But programmatic doesn’t need to utilize all of those pieces. If you’re buying (or selling) advertising through a computer interface, you’re involved.
2. It’s moving further into the advertising ecosystem.
Until recently, programmatic buying was something that was limited to computer- or mobile-based digital advertising. Not anymore.
Take TV as an example. We’re already using technology that’s able to reach consumers based not on estimates of how well certain shows rate with their demographic, but on whatever their cable box happens to be tuned to.
This requires more real-time technology than simply placing an advertising buy for a set of shows ahead of time. It brings a whole new programmatic system to TV advertising (or you could look at it as bringing a whole new channel of advertising to the programmatic ecosystem).
3. It’s not replacing humans.
It’s always both exciting and nerve-wracking to hear about people’s job functions being automated. Fortunately, the strategy behind media planning and buying still remains, and it’s more necessary than ever to measure and re-group based on campaign results.
When an ad campaign is running in the background, it can be easy to “set it and forget it.” Dedicating humans to the task of monitoring, reporting, and adjusting fire can address that mentality and help ensure that nobody feels like programmatic advertising is running them out of a job.
Every day there’s a new company bringing more to the table, enhancing what’s available with programmatic.
What excites you or makes you question the effectiveness of programmatic marketing?