Shift towards Programmatic
For a long time Display advertising has been pretty old school (think Mad Men discussing business affairs over an expensive glass of whiskey). Advertisers connected directly with Publishers and made media deals based off impression inventory and negotiated what they’d be willing to pay for said impressions. This tactic still exists, but a lot has changed in the past few years and technological advances have made the Display environment much more sophisticated with the emergence of Programmatic Ad buying.
So what is Programmatic Ad buying? Many have heard the term but few understand how it really works. The simplest way to think of Programmatic is that it’s essentially automated ad buying. Programmatic Ad buying along with Real Time Bidding (which is the buying and selling of online ad impressions through real-time auctions), have made online advertisers much more efficient with their Display efforts. Also with Programmatic Ad buying advertisers have the ability to run their campaigns through a DSP, or Demand Side Platform. Running ads through a DSP allows for more control, centralized reporting, and also gives advertisers more transparency into where their ads actually appear. Traditional ad buying is somewhat of a black box and performance insight is very hard to come by. With improved bidding efficiency and additional control over campaigns, Programmatic adoption has increased and likely will continue to grow in coming months and years.
The sexiest word making the rounds in the advertising realm is Native Advertising. Native Advertising is another form of paid advertising that follows the natural form and function of the content it is placed in (think Buzzfeed and Instagram). Working in advertising, I’d like to believe I’m able to recognize where an ad exists in the content of a page but Native ads can trick even the most internet savvy, which is why Native Advertising comes with some criticism. You may have seen John Oliver’s now infamous rant on the subject (and if you haven’t, it is worth the 11 minutes). However despite the criticism, Native Advertising actually works. According to a study by IPG & Sharethrough, consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads. Native ads also registered an 18% lift in purchase intent and 9% lift for brand affinity response than banner ads.
My career in marketing has been solely focused online, but there is something really interesting about Programmatic TV. TV advertising has remained stagnant in comparison to the explosive growth of digital advertising, so it’s really exciting to see movement from this channel. With the emergence of Hulu and Apple TV, along with several strategic acquisitions such as Comcast and Freewheel, Programmatic TV could be a game changer. In fact Hulu has already begun auctioning off video ads through a private exchange. Cox Media has also entered the space and opened up demand-side inventory to Google, Turn & TubeMogul.
Although strides are being made, ultimately this channel has a long way to go. There is still concern over whether the consumer on the other side of the screen is in fact your target audience, their grandma, or younger brother or sister for example. This issue is relevant in online as well but as technology continues to become more sophisticated and more pipes are plugged in, marketers will begin to have a better idea of who is actually watching. Programmatic is growing quickly in Display but adoption in the TV space will likely remain slow due to the conglomerates reluctance to change. However, even with reluctance there is awareness that the technology and data are available to increase efficiency and ultimately customize the individual user’s ad experience.