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How to Navigate Programmatic Ad Buying

May 21, 2014 By Eric Bader
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Thanks to the inundation of smartphones, tablets and laptops, coupled with the emergence of personal and professional social networks, sharing platforms and the resilience of email, consumers are sharing their interests, preferences and opinions more than ever before. But the Web has always been social. And by this, I mean the way in which online content is produced, consumed and distributed across the digital landscape.

This can mean anything from shortened links, using tools on pages to share information, sharing directly from a webpage to a social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and even sending a good old-fashioned email with a link in it. The prominence of online communications is the strongest it's ever been in the digital age.

This surge in online consumption has created an unprecedented opportunity for marketers to take advantage of the vast amount of data out there to help target consumers and find new customers in a precise and relevant way, at scale. Simply put, there are billions of sharing data points in all forms happening across all digital touchpoints in real-time.

We've reached a point where, given the sheer amount of data, information must be processed via automation, which is the single most important component of why we are fast approaching a "programmatic" revolution. And by 2015, I believe 60 percent of the digital advertising market will be automated where the key to growth will rely less on third-party data and more on first-party data insights. (Magna Global claims 52 percent of the marketplace will be programmatic by 2017, however RadiumOne announced earlier this year that it predicts that number will be accelerated to hold the majority of spend by 2015.)

Technology, through sophisticated algorithms, has made it increasingly possible to find valuable characteristics, gauge consumer behaviors and target messages with laser focus to the right audiences. Programmatic brings a previously unavailable automated intelligence to brands, enabling them to quickly reach potential audiences with relevant content in an extremely timely fashion.

Many marketers confuse programmatic with real-time bidding, but the two terms are not synonymous. The concept of "real-time bidding" has been in existence for a few years and is simply the methodology behind buying and selling advertising impressions in an open marketplace, much like an auction model. This is where brands are able to buy and sell online display advertising in real-time, one ad at a time and serve them to the public. However, as with most software, your desired outcome is wholly reliant on the information you put in and the way in which you use the data you have. How often have you been served an ad for a train or plane after you have made the journey? Real-time bidding is an important trading component of the marketplace, but it is the marketplace as a whole that is becoming programmatic. Programmatic is more efficient, as it enables brands to aggregate, book, analyze and optimize all forms of digital content and media so they can serve targeted offers, messages and ads across all channels. The ultimate benefit here is that marketers can identify customers in real-time, in the right place and on the right device to help retain or win new business.



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