Programmatic media buying 101

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If you’re in charge of marketing or advertising for your organization, you’ve probably heard the term “programmatic media buying” — but are you confident you could describe it, much less perform it?

While programmatic buying has soared in popularity, Forrester reports that only a quarter of marketers understood and have conducted programmatic buying — and a striking 41 percent say they don’t know or don’t understand it.

If you count yourself among that 41 percent, fear not. We have an introduction for you.

What is programmatic media buying?

Programmatic sounds like a complex concept, and while executing a strong programmatic strategy is complex, at its core this type of advertising is simple: it’s just automated ad buying.

While programmatic in fact makes marketing simpler, the concept can also be confusing because it describes an ecosystem of advertising rather than a single type of media buying. This ecosystem includes both programmatic RTB (real-time bidding), a form of auction-based ad buying, and programmatic direct, in which ad purchases are automated but guaranteed. (Note that programmatic direct is known by many names, including “programmatic guaranteed,” “programmatic premium,” “premium direct” and “automated guaranteed.”)  

Marketers conduct programmatic RTB through demand side providers (DSPs), which are centralized media buying platforms. Using DSPs, marketers can buy ad impressions across a variety of sites, while targeting specific types of users. The actual purchasing is done through automated real-time auctions. In programmatic direct purchasing, marketers work with specific publishers to buy ad space. Though this is more like traditional media buying in some ways, it is still a simplified process with more automation and targeting than the older form of ad purchasing.

Why use programmatic?

The goal of programmatic is to optimize ad buying by streamlining the process. Programmatic RTB does this by replacing the old system of digital ad buying, in which marketers had to manually purchase individual ads from individual sites, with a new system in which buying is centralized and ad orders can be executed automatically in real time.

In programmatic RTB, this centralized ad buying platform streamlines data collection and reporting in addition to the actual act of ad purchasing. By consolidating this customer behavioral data in one place, it makes analyzing it and using it to shape marketing strategy that much easier and more reliable.

Programmatic direct streamlines media purchasing in its own way. While buyers must still deal directly with publishers in this system, the long and complex process of the past has been substantially reduced. This new process helps both publishers’ sales teams and the marketers working to secure space in their publications.

While programmatic is known mainly as a tool for display advertising, its role in the entire digital ad landscape continues to grow, including for video advertising. Get to know programmatic now — its influence on media buying is here to stay.

Finding a partner for your programmatic buying

While some organizations handle programmatic media buying in-house, there are many benefits to partnering with an experienced agency. All media buying, including programmatic, is most effective as one part of a robust marketing and media buying strategy. A partner agency will work with you to assess your organization’s target market and messaging, and craft a strategic plan that incorporates all of your marketing efforts before launching a programmatic campaign.

A partner agency can also offer expertise in the confusing world of programmatic buying. Your partner can draw on experience with a wide variety of clients to determine the optimal share of your media buying to put towards RTB versus direct methods. Similarly, your partner agency will know the ins and outs of the various demand side platforms (DSPs), which are the programs through which programmatic media buying is actually conducted.

And finally, a partner agency can put your programmatic strategy into practice, meaning you can stop worrying about the nuances of this method as it continues to grow and change. Instead, you can work with an expert to craft and execute a results-oriented strategy, and look forward to having centralized, streamlined results and customer data to share with your sales team.

Do you want to know more about what Movéo can do for you? Get in touch today.

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