Programmatic buying is quickly moving beyond advertising’s minor leagues. What started as a way to automate access to the Web’s vast supply of remnant inventory through real-time bidding is evolving into a force for innovation across numerous areas of the advertising landscape, including premium ads and direct buys. Here are three key ways that programmatic technologies are affecting — and will continue to revolutionize — the planning, buying, execution and refinement of marketing campaigns:
1. The automation of premium. Price is not the only consideration for today’s brands when buying inventory. We’ve seen that advertisers are willing to pay more to get more engaged users and access to premium content. They also want to take advantage of programmatic advances that deliver greater efficiency and automation to direct buys. The bottom line is that RTB is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what programmatic technology can do. We are seeing more and more brands committing upfront dollars to programmatic buys, including for reserved premium inventory across multiple channels — from display and mobile to video, and even linear TV. And sellers previously skittish about opening their premium content to programmatic buys (The New York Times is a recent notable example) are now embracing automation’s potential.
2. Enhanced engagement and attribution. Today’s technology not only improves our ability to tell the right story to the right user in real time, but we now have the ability to more accurately understand which touch-points affected and influenced the consumer. Programmatic platforms don’t just improve efficiencies and automate processes — they also leverage data to continually shape media strategy, creative execution and the user experience. In fact, the more data that feeds programmatic’s “brain,” the smarter it gets. For example, attribution models used in conjunction with programmatic technology give advertisers a more accurate valuation of individual impressions and a real-time understanding of user value, resulting in better bidding strategies and increased ROI. Translating data to understand the value of every impression from the first to the last, based on established KPIs, is the new standard. This is a significant leap forward from the early days of RTB, and advertisers can and should apply the insights gained to both media and creative strategies.
3. Cross-screen optimization. With the ongoing rise of mobile device usage, consumers are now accustomed to shifting back and forth between numerous digital channels throughout the day. Now more than ever, marketers need a cross-screen view of inventory and consumer behavior to make the best decisions possible related to reach, frequency caps and more. Programmatic innovations are increasingly making it possible for advertisers to find their audiences on any device, and to use integrated data to better understand how campaign performance is affected by incremental impressions delivered across all screens and types of inventory. Cross-screen optimization ultimately is a win for both brands and their customers, since quality of the interaction (right place, right time, right person) will win out over quantity (frequency levels that annoy audiences and waste impressions) most every time.
What started as an effort to create automated access to unsold inventory has evolved. Today’s programmatic technologies are now delivering what was previously considered almost impossible: automated access to direct inventory, accurate multi-touch attribution, and cross-screen marketing.IPG Mediabrands plans to deliver 50% automation to its North American buying processes by 2016 — a clear sign that the benefits of programmatic advertising technology are moving well beyond the RTB market. By automating more and more components of total marketing spend and innovating new ways to enhance engagement and performance across screens, programmatic technologies are rapidly proving their worth and becoming an embedded process in the major leagues of advertising.