According to a Forrester survey, 40 percent of marketers in 2014 had no clue what programmatic marketing was. Since then, the term “programmatic” has exploded on the marketing scene, and marketer buy-in has meant an estimated $5 billion growth from 2014 to 2015. Programmatic marketing is here to stay, and it’s changing everything about how we see and do marketing.
The frontrunners already know the power of programmatic marketing, hence its recent and dramatic gain in popularity (and their status in the race). By 2016, 70 percent of the total U.S. digital display spend will be programmatic. And according to eMarketer, 83 percent of all ad buys will be programmatic by 2017.
Here’s what you need to know to step up your programmatic marketing game.
Programmatic marketing is the use of automated technologies and big data to optimize the buying and selling of digital media across the Internet in real time.
Programmatic technology uses audience insights to deliver specific content to an individual based on where they are in the buyer's journey. In other words, it takes into account all the data collected from your social marketing campaigns, your CRM and any other persona cues you provide. As your target audience traverses the Internet, programmatic software is triggered by that real-time behavior, and the right message is automatically aligned with the right person, at the right time, in the right place, for the right price—within microseconds. It’s a superfecta!
Take The New York Times, for example. In the past, the ads you saw on its home page were predetermined. Today, the majority of those ads are being placed as your browser is loading the page. Companies like AdRoll or MediaMath can bid on ads using information like where you exist geographically, what type of computer you’re using, and your browsing history to serve you an ad that you’ll want to click on.
For advertisers, it’s about having the ability to target at scale. The vast majority of people window-shopping online aren’t going to make a purchase on their first visit. Programmatic marketing allows marketers to continue serving the shopper with ads, even after they stop directly engaging, and the algorithms and predictive logic that makes programmatic marketing possible helps marketers decide the best price to bid.
Most marketers will be adopting this technology (if they haven't already) over the next couple of years, leaving those who don’t falling behind. And there’s much more to it than that.
Manual media buying has become impossible to do effectively—there is simply too much data to collect from too many channels to convert it all into precisely the right marketing action in real time. Manual media buying leaves you constantly chasing leads instead of getting out in front of them. And all that running around leaves little time or motivation for creativity.
Programmatic removes the chaos, takes out the middle man, and simplifies the process for marketers so less time is spent on getting campaigns up and running, and more time is spent on creating and assessing truly ingenious media pieces. Here’s a short list of reasons why you should start implementing programmatic marketing:
Now that you get what programmatic marketing is and why it’s such a valuable addition to your marketing strategy, here’s what you need to know about current and future trends.
Programmatic marketing allows you to cast your ads across the Internet and, if you don’t like how a campaign is performing, change details mid-campaign. You can switch the target geography, time of day, audience segment, publisher, and more.
TV, radio and Web television inventory is becoming a part of the collateral, and that’s garnering major attention from brand marketers. For example, marketers can serve a commercial to a buyer via their TV at home, and follow it up with a display ad online that reaches them on their desktop at work or on their mobile device while traveling.
Self-service programmatic solutions can be less expensive than managed services, and many marketers feel hosting software in-house is the best way to protect their data. Ultimately, it comes down to control. But right now, in-house programmatics isn’t feasible for all organizations. Larger brands have the budget and manpower while smaller brands still struggle with cost and resources.
New research shows that 80 percent of all adults own a smartphone, and 75 percent use them to search the Internet. The problem is programmatic marketing relies heavily on behavior-tracking cookies (small files placed on the buyer’s computer that store data about their online activity). These cookies trigger programmatic ad buying, but they don’t work well on mobile devices because individuals may use more than one mobile device (and multiple apps or browsers), making it difficult for programmatic software to identify individuals.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn started absorbing programmatic ad-tech companies from the start. Their goal is to sell ads across the Web (not just within their own platforms). They make a unique contender in the programmatic ring because they collect volumes of login data, which allows them to connect user identities across devices (helping to solve the above challenge).
One cybercrime to keep an eye on with programmatic marketing is URL masking (or domain masking), which is like having your mail sent to an unknown P.O. box. A publisher lists its website in the ad exchanges under a pseudonym, and the buyer has no way of knowing where their ads are actually running.
Programmatic marketing allows you to be responsive to your buyers’ wants and needs as they are being expressed in real time. It takes into account everything you know about your target personas, and delivers the perfect message per individual. This creates a one-to-one connection that helps brands engage with buyers in a way never before imagined.
Because it’s all automated, marketers can spend more time on the creative side of advertising. Most importantly, programmatic marketing is completely measurable so you can prove ROI and identify which ads perform best. By adding programmatic technology to their wish list this year, marketers can gear up for what’s sure to be an exciting New Year!