In this fast-paced, digital world of instant gratification where there are a million products and services for the consumer to choose from but little time to browse, advertisers have had to innovate. Long gone are the days when a flashy generic advertisement for a fashion brand or breakfast cereal would do the trick.
However, AI and machine learning has made digital marketing easier and effective with ‘Programmatic Advertising’.
What is Programmatic Advertising?
In order for every stakeholder- consumer, brand owner, marketer, publisher- to gain something from this ever-evolving digital world, Programmatic Advertising has been developed.
Simply put, in this medium, the advertiser uses a software to buy ad spaces aimed at their target population, instead of directly contacting the publisher and negotiating with them for the ad spaces.
There are two types of programmatic media buying:
1. Real Time Bidding
Making its way onto the automated media buying scene way back in 2009, real-time bidding allows the advertiser to bid for individual ad impressions. This allows the advertiser to focus on the target audience it wants to.
This is how it works:
- A visitor comes on to the website
- The publisher puts up the visitor’s behavioural profile up for auction
- All advertisers targeting this type of consumer profile enter a bid
- The highest bidder’s ad is displayed to the user
2. Programmatic Direct
Here, the advertiser is guaranteed a certain number of ad impressions with a particular publisher. While the advantage is the surety of getting an ad space, the downside is that the advertiser may be unable to target the audience it wants.
Spanning only milliseconds, this whole process is completed by the time the whole webpage loads. The result is a webpage displaying relevant, focused ads for the visitor.
What makes Programmatic Advertising the means of the future?
Programmatic Advertising’s inventiveness coupled with its practicality make it a brilliant form of digital advertising. Here are 4 key ways in which it holds an edge over other forms of digital marketing:
Let’s say a digital marketer for a fashion brand wants to put up an ad. They can choose from a plethora of digital ad spaces spread across the web and scale it as well. They could be sitting in one corner of the world and running a campaign on another continent using programmatic advertising. There are no phone calls, waiting period, back-and-forth that need to be engaged in to get the ad out.
2. Increased transparency
Both, advertiser and publisher/website owner know the status of the ads in real-time. The advertiser can decide where their ads will play and when, and make sure their ad is not displayed next to inappropriate content.
3. Improved targeting
Programmatic Advertising enables advanced targeting such as displaying the ads to an interest group i.e. visitors who have an online history of being interested in your product (if not the brand), and lookalike targeting which means targeting visitors who share a similar interest profile as your best existing consumers.
4. Real-time insights
The data about your ad placement and performance such as click-through-rate, is processed in real-time. Digital marketers can take action based on these data points and change their strategy almost immediately.
The ease of use, enhanced audience targeting capabilities, and the average customer’s growing dependence on online ads to browse and buy their products and services, compels every digital marketer to invest in programmatic media buying.
A caveat for digital marketers
One core assumption underlying the effectiveness of programmatic advertising is that you and the publisher will have access to behavioural profiles of users (potential consumers).
With increasing government regulations protecting users’ online privacy coupled with browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox restricting third-party cookie tracking, digital marketers using programmatic advertising need to be holistic in their approach.
The future is here
Digital marketers are allocating as much as 70% of their budgets on programmatic ads. More and more digital marketers, globally, are building an in-house programmatic advertising team to lead the way in the field. If digital marketers wish to stay relevant and make their promised deliverables happen, they definitely need to focus on creative programmatic advertising.
The limitation of privacy regulation and online activity tracking notwithstanding, the digital marketing industry has a successful track record of modernizing and rising to the occasion. So, go ahead, invest in programmatic advertising with an open mind and a clear vision.
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