A Guide to Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising

Advertising has been around for centuries and experts have been looking for ways to optimise it from the outset. Manual labour is being gradually replaced by the more effective robots and AI who are able to produce better outcomes at a lower price for small businesses and brands alike. And digital advertising is no exception. This is where programmatic advertising comes in.

What is programmatic advertising?

Online advertising hasn’t looked back ever since programmatic advertising came into being. But what is it actually? Basically, it means using machines to facilitate digital ad buying. Think about what it used to take to place your ad on a relevant online platform.

First of all, you needed human resources who would draw up requests for proposals, look for resources to send them to (with some surely bouncing back and not reaching your ideal partner in the first place) and then start negotiations (where the human factor also often prevented you from reaching your end goal). It’s painful to even bring back those memories in our day and age.

Programmatic advertising hits these pain points right on the nail. This platform fully automates the digital advertising process for both sides and ensures that the advertiser gets their message across to their audience, while the publisher gets a fair price for providing their infrastructure.

Sounds too good? It’s because it is with almost 90% of digital display advertising in the US projected to be done by programmatic advertising platforms. It has already opened doors to display, video, mobile and social channels, with many more offline ones becoming digitised as you read this.

You may be concerned about the costs? Indeed, initially this resource required larger digital marketing budgets and suited the needs of media agencies, but nowadays even smaller businesses can get exposure to the technology, make use of it and reap the rewards almost instantly.

How does programmatic advertising work?

It comes as no surprise that with the emergence of advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, AI-powered solutions are revolutionising the whole digital campaign buying and selling process. So now humans are no longer required to carry out menial tasks and only qualified workers are needed who can set up programmatic advertising to produce the best possible results.

Say a business wants to sell scooters. A programmatic advertising platform will be able identify the target audience by demographics, geography, interests, behaviours, popular times and device type. As soon as the task is given, the platform is capable of using real-time data to determine the audience for this particular campaign and buy digital ad inventory in places “frequented” by this very audience. It will then display personalised advertising at a relevant time in a relevant place, improving the quality of the lead for the business and thus increasing its chance of converting.

So how does a programmatic advertising company ensure publishers get a good deal? Well, they can indicate their digital inventories and criteria on the platform. Moreover, because bidding is a transparent process that takes place through an auction and the system facilitates cooperation of the two sides.

The benefits and drawbacks

The benefits and drawbacks

Gone are the days of guesswork when it comes to the ad buying process. As businesses look to cut costs and have learnt to appreciate the benefits of effective digital advertising, more and more of them are going with programmatic advertising to promote their brands.

Marketologists no longer need to spend months testing advertising strategies because programmatic advertising buying is now data-driven. With every month, the platforms become smarter at targeting which ultimately translates into better results for the client. The chances are your competitors have started using this technology and thus “taught” algorithms to deliver fantastic results.

Another benefit is having everything in one place, with no need to maintain a separate platform where you would track campaigns on various digital platforms across many devices. You will be able to see what truly works within a matter of minutes.

On top of that, you get access to a number of exchanges at once. The algorithm is thus in an even better position to find the perfect inventory to match your needs.

As previously mentioned, programmatic advertising definition has currently been introduced mostly to online ads. Some businesses may still favor the old-fashioned TV, magazine or billboard advertising. But as more people realize the effectiveness of this technology, it will become more present in our lives off-the-screen. In fact, you probably have already seen some advertising that was bought programmatically at a bus station or in a shopping mall.

Why it is the future

People are getting tired of generalised advertising. How many relevant ads do you see on TV? Have any of them made you buy something as a result? What about YouTube? More? And your favourite websites? They seem to be heaving with stuff you would consider buying, right? And that is because sophisticated algorithms have ensured that you see that product.

So in the era of personal gadgets where people’s behaviours and interests can be worked out extremely accurately, businesses have to make sure that they are seen by their clients even if they do not watch television and do not read newspapers or magazines.

Programmatic advertising platforms make this possible and there is no better time to give it a try than now. The earlier you get in, the further ahead you will get of your competitors who have not yet discovered this effective tool.