What are programmatic ads?
Programmatic display advertising brings the potential for businesses to reach larger, more targeted audiences than ever before. Algorithms and data allow advertisers to reach hyper-focused groups of consumers with their digital display and deliver ads to the customers most likely to be interested in a product or service. All this talk of algorithms and targeting may seem a little overwhelming, particularly to those new to the world of online advertising. But worry not – that’s exactly why we’re here.
In the past, advertising was bought and sold via advertiser & media company rep relations, much the way print media is still sold today. The advantage of digital is that media space can be programmed into a large database or directory of all available media space across the entire internet. Furthermore, due to the cookies that collect data about the user through the browser, there is also a corresponding “directory” of all the viewers on the internet, along with a list of their location, approximate age, gender, general likes and dislikes. The cross-reference of these directories, coupled with sophisticated bidding technology that rivals that of any stock exchange, creates the programmatic environment through which almost all digital display advertising is served today. Programmatic advertising, therefore, is the automated buying and selling of advertising space across the entire world wide web.
Programmatic platforms have been consistently growing their inventory and database of available advertising space so that advertisers can have access to desktop, tablet, DOOH, and mobile platforms equally. Programmatic ads work with data such as demographic information like age, gender and location, as well as actions users have taken on a website – such as engaging with content, adding items to a basket or filling in a form. The targeting tactics that are utilized in programmatic advertising see that advertisers only pay when their ad is served to the right customer at the right time, rather than blindly pouring valuable advertising dollars into a hand-placed ad in X, Y, and Z placements that may or may not find the intended audience.
Why Choose Programmatic Ads?
These days, advertisers do not have much choice except to deliver their ads programmatically, as this is how most of the internet advertising sphere operates. Advertisers do, however, have the option of which media agency, or which platform to use in the programmatic environment. It goes without saying that not all media agencies, or all platforms, are created equal. Recent scandals have rocked the Advertising world, as it turns out that media was being sold, and never served.¹ Or that people were bidding on and purchasing media in such far flung corners of the internet, that is was practically impossible that it would ever be viewed. While most of the blame for this scandal lies with the media agencies, it is worth noting that advertisers looking to get the most media for the least amount of money, was also a factor in the “buying” and selling of what we call “garbage media”. As an advertiser, be sure to demand transparency in all your programmatic dealings. If some deal looks too good to be true, there is a chance that it is.
Thus, as an advertiser, digital advertising transparency should be a key goal of your programmatic agenda. With that being said, programmatic ads are still very good for keeping existing users engaged and reminded of your products—with responsible retargeting ads. As a business, you may find some users drop out of the buyer’s journey at a certain stage. Rather than losing these customers completely, you can deliver specific messaging which is tailored to bring them back into the buying cycle. All thanks to some perfectly timed and served dynamic creative banners!
The beauty of programmatic ads is that they can come in all kinds of shapes and forms. From static ads to all-singing, all-dancing interactive or animated content worthy of their own award-winning Broadway musical, the choice is yours. Some emerging display ad types which are proving popular are video display ads, which place your brand front and centre.
With appropriate planning and resource, the only limit to programmatic ads is the imagination of your creatives!