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Six pillars of programmatic ad buying strategies

Programmatic ads are big business.

In fact, according to eMarketer, programmatic ads are expected to make up over $14 billion of the approximately $58.6 billion total digital advertising spend in 2015. And there are projections that by 2017 buyers will have shifted almost 60% of all ad budgets into digital.

Programmatic reached over $10 billion for display ads last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, accounting for 20% of overall ad revenues. And one industry trend finds B2B marketers and publishers shifting away from traditional channels such as print ads and event marketing, and finding value in programmatic ads. While programmatic display ads command a lot of ad budget dollars, programmatic video ad buys are on the rise and are expected to top $2 billion this year, a 212% increase over last year. And it’s projected that 40% of U.S. video ad spend next year will be via programmatic platforms.

Breaking programmatic ads down to a basic level, Blab VP of Product Ryan Bowermaster told Marketing Dive, “Programmatic simply means that if you had to push a button 20 times a day to do your job, now you can push it once and have the output come to your desk automatically at set intervals 20 times a day. It doesn't mean that you don't have to read and interpret the output and make intelligent decisions, it just means that now you have more data, faster, cheaper to make those decisions from.”

Part of the real value in programmatic ads for marketers is they bring vast amounts of data into consideration in milliseconds. Bowermaster warns marketers that old models of buying programmatic ads won’t work because consumer behaviors have shifted, and maybe more importantly, mobile is now the platform where digital life is happening. 

To help marketers navigate the programmatic ad buying world, Bowermaster offers six pillars of programmatic ad buying strategies:

1. Programmatic is more 'human' than you may think

A programmatic marketing strategy empowers ad teams to better focus their efforts and engage with their creativity. The duties of those small armies many agencies employ to sift through data can be relegated to automation. The benefits are twofold, agencies won’t have to charge customers for time and resources that can be solved by a technical system; and agencies can show where, when and how branding costs are being allocated to better judge the efficacy of their campaigns.

2. Programmatic incentivizes better marketing

The misconception about programmatic ad buying is that the control of studious and calculated marketers will be replaced by machines making cold-cut decisions about how to allocate inventory. In reality, programmatic is not only about real time bidding, it’s about being able to harness all of the different types of data available and use it intelligently to inform your campaigns and better engage with customers. Agencies now are much more incentivized with programmatic to use metadata that occurs and can have a definitive answer to how much was earned on the back side of their purchases.

3. Live and breathe the standards laid out by the IAB

Understanding where the standards come from, why they exist and how they can be utilized in the market are all vital points to know when building out an overall strategy. If a trader enters the exchange without compliance to IAB and MRC accreditation, they are doing a disservice to themselves as well as everyone else in the space.

4. Programmatic is a tool of efficiency

The amount of data being generated today requires small armies of people to decipher, evaluate and ultimately deal with the influx. But without the aids supplied by programmatic, it’s going to be exceptionally harder for humans to attain appropriate levels of competency and understanding to make sense of their targeted markets. You also get scale with programmatic; a five person staff can now do the work of 25 people as they don’t have to do direct deals one at a time, but instead execute ad buys across hundreds of partners at the same time.

5. Programmatic ad buying coincides with viewability

As an evolution to the ad buying space, people want to believe programmatic has the solution to many existing problems, the main one being viewability for video advertisements. The fact is that most video players still haven't developed enough to allow this to happen, thus making the majority of the video inventory remain unviewable. Display advertising, in contrast, remains highly viewable, but the wise would say to tread carefully with a campaign strategy driven solely by viewability.

6. Programmatic is public and susceptible to third-party viewership

The IAB-released Private Marketplace, along with Deal ID, lets buyers and sellers organize private agreements for allocating certain amounts of inventory, at certain prices and around a certain set of targeting criteria. It guarantees it will go into that pool and will not be available on the public market. This structure also ensures buyers to freely have their own first-look at the results of the programmatic system at work.

Get familiar with real-time marketing

Programmatic advertising is a crucial way to harness marketing data and take advantage of today’s real-time marketing world.

For marketers programmatic ad buying should at the very least be part of the overall strategy conversation. While marketers are just now understanding data points such as device type, location and app types, among others, given the trend lines, it’s going to be an important way to purchase online ads for some time to come.

"These are all part of the ways that we use different applications to get information and link disparate pieces of information together on the fly and are now an intrinsic part of day-to-day life for millions of consumers around the world," Bowermaster said. "Brands and marketers that can get themselves closer to the actual conversations of the consumers that they want to engage with are going to be the winners in this next evolution of advertising."

Filed Under: Marketing Tech Trends Analytics Mobile
Top image credit: Dollar Photo Club