programmatic advertising

Whether you’re an ad agency, a small business owner, a website publisher or even a TV station, chances are you have heard of programmatic advertising. In fact, you have probably heard a lot about programmatic advertising – enough to form an opinion. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about: your opinion of programmatic advertising, and how you formed that opinion.

From a digital agency perspective, programmatic advertising is something constantly in flux. As a strategist I immerse myself in day-to-day development of ideas, shifts in technologies, as well as the evolution of tactics. With that said, I believe the only constant in the science – and art – of programmatic advertising is that variables are ever present. The industry is in a constant state of change. Sometimes it changes for the better (unstructured data, better native placements), and sometimes it changes for the worse (ad fraud, ad blocking). So, what troubles me as a strategist and as someone who believes in the power of programmatic, is when I watch advertisers, publishers and pundits form opinions on the effectiveness of targeted advertising without really knowing how or why it works. Heck, I’ve been in this space for a few years now, and I readily admit I don’t know all that’s possible (or not possible) with programmatic advertising.

It is good to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. The Chief Revenue Officer at Shazam, Greg Glenday spoke with The Drum recently. He said it in simple terms.

“In order for brand marketers to better understand programmatic advertising I believe they need to lose some of the fear, get better educated.”

You can read more from The Drum here. I’ve also embedded The Drum’s video interview with Glenday in this post.

“Programmatic has changed a lot in the last year-and-a-half to the point where it's not just a transaction,” said Glenday. “When a marketer wakes up in the morning they don't say 'I can't wait to transact programmatically’ - they are trying to reach audiences. That's all programmatic is; an easy way to transact against an audience. We have a vast audience, we divide them into segments based on genre, location, mood and all of those things can be done programmatically.”

Perfectly said.

Programmatic advertising allows you to zero in on a target audience more effectively than ever before. Using the power of data, you can place your message in front of a more receptive audience. Of course, it doesn’t put the viewer in a trance; you can’t force them to commence commerce against their will. But it’s like this: if you are a marketer trying to communicate to southern purple penguins who like to fly kites, doesn’t it make sense to serve ads to viewers who have identified themselves as penguins living in the windiest part of Antarctica? Of course it does, and that’s the power of programmatic advertising!

It’s not that programmatic advertising is perfect and all other forms of advertising aren’t (a topic for another blog post). That’s not at all what I am saying. What I am saying is this: before discounting the value of buying an audience online and serving it messages in words, banners or videos, make an educated decision. Taking the plunge into programmatic may challenge what you have always believed about advertising. Embrace that uncertainty and take advantage of your competitor’s lack of educational effort. You’ll be glad you did.

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