Programmatic for visibility

Feb 17, 2019

Programmatic Ads. The Smarter Way to Reach The Right Audience

One of the most overused quotes in advertising is ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’

This quote captures one of the most important challenges of advertising; what works.

In Australia, advertising regulation and auditing provided advertisers with some confidence that they had some (if tenuous) understanding of the media buying landscape. In a post-regulated, digital media environment advertisers feel even more lost in the wilderness.

With so much publicity around the current visibility of media buying processes, questionable loadings, ad fraud and Brand Safety, it is important that advertisers understand the opportunities and pitfalls of this new media environment.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic Advertising refers merely to the purchasing of digital advertising using software. However, the explanation of Programmatic Advertising is more complicated than this.

Programmatic Advertising allows media buyers to bid for the best prices for digital ad placement. Programmatic Advertising will enable media buyers to automatically acquire those ads when market prices align with the price media buyers are willing to pay. Programmatic Advertising also allows media buyers to review the effectiveness of the media plans and adjust them in real time. Programmatic Advertising also allows for ‘opportunistic’ media buying, such as distressed ads.

The Complexity

This simplistic explanation fails to explain the potential benefits and current controversy around Programmatic Advertising. To ensure campaigns align with clients’ goals and expectations, Programmatic Advertising uses multiple online resources to qualify placement of digital ads better. With each new filter comes additional loadings, increasing the actual cost of each ad; however, there is a benefit to this increased cost.

The increased cost of the ad reflects the increased focus and increased effectiveness of the ad to reach and be seen by the desired target audience. This, in theory, increases the effectiveness of the digital media buy.

The problem is that Media Buyers are not providing what clients believe to be adequate visibility around this process. This problem has been further compounded by unscrupulous, unregulated media buyers adding additional loadings to increase their revenue.

How can Australian Marketers ensure they are getting value from their digital media buy?

Many Marketers now believe that the only way they can guarantee the value of their Programmatic Advertising buy is to bring this activity ‘in- house.’ In reality, this is much like saying that it’s cheaper to do your own dentistry. The media buying environment is in a constant state of flux. To even attempt to understand it requires complete immersion. To set up an internal media buyer makes little commercial sense when the focus of most successful businesses is to outsource non-core costs.

As unsatisfactory as it may sound, the secret to a successful programmatic media buy lies in the relationships you build with your media buyers.

How can Australian Marketers identify the best Programmatic media buyers?

Relationships are built on trust. Trust is a requirement of both parties. In the case of clients, they need to have faith that their media buyers have their best interest at heart. In the case of Media Buyers, they need to believe that their clients are committed enough to work through the inherent issues associated with a media environment in a constant state of change.

In short, a successful client/media buyer relationship requires clear communication and a commitment from both sides.

A soufflé doesn’t rise twice

A successful client/media buyer relationship is driven by the principle that ‘A soufflé doesn’t rise twice.’ In other words, what worked in the last media buy may not work with the next buy. The most effective Programmatic Advertiser campaigns factor in the time and resources for testing and experimentation.

In a world where clients want results today, the added cost and time it takes to test and refine a strategy can be frustrating; however, the results speak for themselves.