In a stark and sun-filled room with glass walls, a lone media buyer with sharp features and blue hair, wearing wrap-around glasses and a shiny grey jumpsuit, sits in front of a large screen manipulating rows of data and images with his fingertips (or perhaps just with his eyes). The system in front of him is optimizing his brand’s video campaigns, getting him the best price and best audience for each view of each ad. These video ads are rendering across multiple screens, devices and hologram-like illusions that haven’t been invented yet.
This clichéd vision of the future of media buying, minus the blue hair and holograms, is already here. There are programmatic video buying platform where buyers can execute campaigns across any screen where a video can be shown. Programmatic video buying across multiple screens puts a tremendous amount of power in the hands of a smart media buyer.
Exchanges have already proven effective in the display world, and are a game changer in the video world as well. To counter a recent post, the programmatic video buying I’m talking about has nothing to do with small budget, direct response, CTR-based campaigns. I’m talking about multi-million dollar brand campaigns that need to get their message to the right audience on quality properties in brand-safe, measured and transparent environments.
To understand the value of programmatic video buying across multiple screens via one platform, let’s look at how fragmented a cross-screen video buy used to be. Previously, if a media buyer wanted to reach females 18-34 who live in Los Angeles with pre-roll across PC web, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs, they would have to execute various fixed-priced deals with multiple parties, each claiming expertise in a certain area. Programmatic buying for PC web video has been around for years, but until recently a savvy buyer would have had to utilize several different platforms to execute one deal across all screens or even execute the mobile or connected TV portions manually.
The power of utilizing a single video platform lies in the fact that the buyer can focus on the user regardless of the screen. For example, media buyers using one system (not unlike our vision of the future) have the tools to only show their video impressions to users that are known to be females 18-34 and who are in LA. And unlike the past, advertisers can now show their video ads to those females when they are using their smartphone at the mall, using their tablet at the beach or using their connected TV at home. While targeting is still far from perfect on mobile screens, it’s improving by the day as companies require publishers to pass targeting parameters in each ad call.
Programmatic video buying on all screens via one platform is still new, but the volume of inventory available to execute multi-million dollar brand campaigns is already available. As we blast off into the future of programmatic video buying, the only thing missing is for media buyers to start dying their hair blue and buying grey jumpsuits.