Like many publishers, agencies are burdened by the sky-high procedural cost of buying and selling digital media. We thought RTB could be a solution, but both sides rely on the predictability and the guarantees afford by reserved media sales. We’re now seeing that it’s a different type of automated media buying that’s going to become increasingly important for media organizations.
A recent survey from AOL Platforms found that 87% of buyers plan to increase programmatic buying by more than 50% within the next six months.
There’s a lot of excitement about automation of mobile and video inventory, but the primary driver of this increase is our old standby: display. Display is a major component of most media campaigns, and the overhead involved in getting a deal done is astronomical, even today. That’s why AOL’s agency respondents cited economic efficiency as their primary motivation for switching to programmatic buying.
But what’s driving the pickup in programmatic display buying right now? The recent developments in automation of reserved media and the availability of higher-quality, higher-impact ad units in automated marketplaces. Programmatic buying couldn’t take over until it could help automate the types of buys that planners execute most: reserved media bought directly from premium sites.
Transparency, Blacklisting, and Whitelisting
One of the primary distinctions between automated guaranteed buys and programmatic RTB is transparency. Over the past few years, a lack of transparency was always a roadblock for programmatic buying. According to the AOL Platforms survey, 72% of brand executives cited transparency as one of the primary blocks to increased spending in programmatic.
RTB has worked to combat brand issues, but whitelists often mean campaigns can’t be fulfilled, and blacklists will never be able to cover every single site that could potentially do damage to a brand. So long as there is so much risk involved (and this type of risk is inherent to RTB), spend could never move in any meaningful way.
It All Comes Back to the Client
Economic efficiency is important, but automation isn’t just about cost reduction. Using programmatic buying for workflow automation creates a whole new set of opportunities to add value for clients. Automated buying tools can eliminate many of the manual steps in the RFP, ordering, tracking, and monitoring process. When planners don’t have to devote hours of the week simply to getting line items into the ad server, they have time to spend on the strategic recommendations that go into the plan, optimization suggestions, and more — the stuff that really matters to clients, and the things planners would rather be doing.
Technology and the Media Planner
Agencies are finally excited about technology, because new workflow automation tools are specifically designed for the type of buys they execute all the time. Time and money are saved, but talent can flourish, and clients can be inspired.