Programmatic advertising has emerged as a potentially powerful, automated system for buying digital ads. You enter your target demographic, budget and other information and software would scan inventory and give you a list of options.
In a nutshell, programmatic advertising automates the decision-making process of where ads are placed, using artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB) for online display, mobile, and video campaigns — and it’s making inroads into TV and social media, too.
The promise of programmatic advertising is that it can search through the seemingly infinite options and find just the right channels to reach your target audience. Instead of relying on a human’s recommendations, you get a data-based analysis of available channels, inventory, and performance history.
A challenge with programmatic advertising can be transparency. Buyers will get information about the types of websites and publishers that they would be purchasing space on, but not always exact information. According to Ratko Vidakovic of MarketingLand, “On the surface, however, there is not a great deal of transparency for such data. For example, you may see a targeting segment labeled “New Parents.” But where was the data collected? How accurate is the label (i.e., was it declared or inferred)? When was it collected (i.e., how fresh is the data)? How much does it cost?” Some programmatic platforms offer more information than others.
Programmatic advertising has been migrating into traditional media as well, including radio and television. TV advertising has also been somewhat opaque in the exact placement of ads. Stations and agencies will offer bundles with some choice programming along with some tier 2 and 3 placements, but not a list of specific shows and timeslots.
Software company Wideorbit has for decades supplied the most widely used infrastructure that TV networks and stations use to manage their ad inventory. Over the past few years, they’ve expanded it to allow ad buyers access to the same platform. This allows ad buyers to select exactly the shows and timing of their ads, and advertisers can buy ads in any volume they want. In theory, this means a company with a small budget has access to prime time shows if that is where it wants to spend its money. No bundling is required and ad buyers know exactly what they are getting.
“You must demand to know specifically where your ads are being shown,” Vidakovic says. “That’s another critical aspect of transparency. This was very opaque in the days of ad networks. But with programmatic buying technology, there is no reason you shouldn’t get extremely detailed reporting about where your ads are running (down to the placement) and how they are performing.”
Programmatic TV advertising has the potential to level the playing field for smaller companies looking for access to prime time or other highly desirable ad purchases, without requiring a large budget bundled purchase. It can provide full transparency on programmatic transactions from targeted, purchased and delivered spots.
With programmatic advertising, advertisers are able to use data to identify and target fragmented audiences and improve campaign effectiveness. By using a blend of machine-learning technologies and good ol’ fashioned marketer’s intuition, programmatic advertising can hit the right audience at the right time to drive higher-quality leads for brands.