You may have heard the phrase ‘programmatic display advertising’ bandied around the digital marketing sphere of late. It is one of the industry’s latest buzz words and it is likely to revolutionise how digital advertising space is bought. But what is it?
Programmatic display advertising is basically using machines to buy digital advertising display ads on websites. Known as programmatic direct, this automated way of purchasing digital advertising means that prices are pre-negotiated. Previously, digital advertising space was bought manually, in a similar way to how traditional media is purchased (I.e through a media buyers and working directly with media outlets) or though real-time bidding in online advertising auctions.
According to a study by eMarketer, the UK is the current market leader in this type of ad spend and programmatic display is expected to account for £2bn in digital ad spend by 2018. The study also predicts that mobile marketing will continue to dominate the market and it is estimated that almost three-quarters of programmatic display spend will go towards mobile in 2017.
What are the advantages of progammatic advertising?
The reason why programmatic display advertising has created a buzz in the digital community is because it can deliver efficient, relevant and highly targeted ads without requiring constant management and extensive manual effort. Programmatic has access to vast amounts of data such as demographics (age, location, income, gender etc) and to users’ browsing history. So it’s possible for a local car dealership to show deals on a specific model of car, while someone is reading an online news article about it.
It is also possible to link your programmatic digital display ads to events, weather and to where in the customer journey a user is. For example, ski resorts in the US have used this to trigger ads for their mountain when snow is forecast. Basically, programmatic is always analysing data and can adapt quickly to changing market dynamics, giving you more impactful results.
When coming up with a campaign strategy, the three main things you need to think about are your audience, the customer journey and how you deliver your ad.
Audience - Knowing your audience is fundamental to programmatic success. One of the best ways to gain that understating is to use data. A myriad of sources can be used from Google Analytics, social media to third party data. It’s also possible to use data to look for ‘lookalike’ behaviour to find similar audiences and new customers.
Understand the customer journey - Once you have a thorough understanding of your audience, you need know where in the customer journey your customer is. If you are an outdoor gear company and you know someone has been looking at technical jackets on your website, ideally this should trigger a personal remarketing ad with an image of the jacket they have been looking and maybe a deal to entice them back.
Delivering the right ad - One of the advantages of programmatic display is its ability to constantly analyse data and adapt if needed. So, when you are formulating a strategy you will need to think about ad size, format and device. For example, again if you are an outdoor clothing brand you may want a dynamic ad that personalises itself to the customer, rather than a standard one. Also, think carefully about which device your customer base is using – are they mostly on their mobiles or do they spend more time on desktop?
In conclusion, while programmatic display advertising gives greater automation to digital ad buying and offers you more ways to reach your customer than ever before – it still needs a human touch. It is not a ‘set it and forget it’ strategy; it requires knowledge and resource.