Programmatic buying was the topic with the most buzz at the recent ANA Media Leadership Conference.
There are a few definitions of programmatic buying. According to AdExchanger it’s the automation of manual media buying and selling decisions and processes, enhanced through data. Forrester says it’s a software-based system to automate the buying, delivery, and optimization of ad campaigns. And Google defines its as using technology and audience insights to automatically buy and run an ad campaign in real time, reaching the right person with the right message.
ANA and Forrester debuted new research at the conference which provided a number of interesting insights about programmatic buying.
The research found that marketers’ level of understanding of programmatic buying is mixed, with 40% admitting they don’t have a clue (including 12% who say they are “unaware of this way of buying”) and with 60% claiming some level of understanding.
The use of programmatic buying in the past year is also mixed. Fifty-four percent said their firms have used programmatic buying. Among the 46% who have not, many plan to in the next year (19% plan to; 27% have no plans).
The media for which programmatic buying has been used in the past year: Online display, 77%; online video, 41%. Also online search, mobile and social, all 36%; TV, 13%; digital place-based media, 10%; print, 5%, and outdoor, 3%.
The top benefits of programmatic buying are real-time optimization, better targeting, and decreased cost of media. Consistent with this survey finding, Google’s Bob Arnold said at the conference, “Programmatic buying is about driving efficiency and effectiveness.”
Potential barriers to programmatic buying include a lack of visibility into data used to define audience targeting especially in digital media as well as less visibility into where ads are placed.
Advertisers are clearly climbing the learning curve with programmatic buying. There is the need for increased education among marketers and ANA and other industry players must play roles here. Meanwhile, changing media practices and technologies are raising transparency issues and such concerns need to be addressed by agencies and media sellers.