Digital marketing requires a number of working, moving parts in order to be successful. Automating tasks, including your ad buying, is one of the most important aspects of streamlining your business operations. Programmatic advertising can help you take a large portion of the human work out of ad buying, saving you time in the long run.
Programmatic advertising isn’t completely automated from start to finish. However, it does cut back on the time involved in buying ads. When you utilize programmatic advertising, the software relies on machine learning and can take care of many steps in the ad buying process.
Want to take a deeper dive into programmatic advertising and how it works? You’ve come to the right place.
Let’s jump in!
What is Programmatic Advertising?
Programmatic advertising is a partially automated method of purchasing digital ads. It utilizes ad-buying software and helps marketers to boost their efficiency. Additionally, this method helps to remove some of the human involvement previously required in the buying process.
When you purchase programmatic advertising, these ads can include:
- Social media ads: paid ads that appear on various social media channels
- Display advertising: digital ads that appear online, primarily on websites
- Native advertising: ads that appear outside the sidebar, header, or footer of a website
- Video ads: ads that appear before and during online video streams on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook; alternatively, they may appear as a popup or in a sidebar of a website
- Audio ads: ads that automatically play during audio streaming
- Digital out-of-home media (DOOH): any digital ads you may encounter away from home
Ad buying can be time-intensive. Rather than tasking a marketing or advertising team with every step of the ad buying process, programmatic advertising removes steps from the process. As a result, you or your team members are free to focus on other important tasks that move the needle in your business.
Programmatic advertising doesn’t require real-time interaction or negotiation with in-person advertising teams. It also does not require the back-and-forth ordering and approval process that accompanied ad buying in the past.
However, programmatic advertising isn’t the same as marketing automation. Only portions of the process are automated. It removes the need for manually prepping ad tags and insertion orders. As a result, you can spend more time on optimizing those ads.
Ad Exchanges: What They Are and How They Work
Buyers use a platform called an ad exchange to initiate programmatic advertising. Programmatic ad services include supply-side platforms (SSPs) for publishers and demand-side platforms (DSPs) for ad buyers.
The main ad exchange platforms include Google Ad Exchange, PubMatic, OpenX, Verizon Media, AppNexus, and Rubicon Project. There are both open and private ad exchanges available. Ads from open ad exchanges may be purchased by anyone, in bulk.
However, there are quality issues with open exchanges. Ad inventory available on open exchanges can land ads for prominent brands on websites with explicit adult content. It’s important to consider that if you use an open ad exchange for programmatic advertising, your brand could end up among violent or stolen content.
In contrast, private ad exchanges such as Concert are more costly and tailored to premium brands. They are carefully curated and more beneficial to both the platforms selling the ads, and the brands buying them. Because private ads are more expensive, they also profit more.
Buyers and sellers are both selected with scrutiny on private ad exchanges. Additionally, both buyers and sellers have a say in who they buy ads from or sell ads to. This sets the stage for the most profitable transactions possible.
Sometimes, the ad inventory that isn’t purchased on a private exchange may be moved out to an open exchange. Then, anyone has access to it, first come, first served.
Other leftover ad exchange inventory from both open and private sites could end up on ad networks. Networks sell ads at a slight markup, and they’re also widely available for purchase.
Benefits of Programmatic Advertising
In addition to saving time, programmatic advertising is designed to save money. The AI built into programmatic ad buying platforms can help you select your best buying options for the money. Each program relies on an algorithm. You can input information about your ad campaign and set specific parameters for performance.
Your ad exchange of choice can start your ad campaign automatically. Once your campaign is active, the AI will keep track of your price per click and look for ways to reduce the cost. Along the way, you can adjust your campaign for better performance.
Programmatic Advertising Best Practices
Interested in leveraging programmatic advertising for your business? Let’s dig into some best practices you should get familiar with first.
Get familiar with the automated ad-buying space.
It’s important to get comfortable with the tools and terminology of programmatic advertising before you dive in. Understand what sort of ad exchange you need for your brand, and what costs may be involved. Here’s a glossary of terms to help you get more familiar with the basics.
Don’t rely only on technology.
Don’t lean on programmatic ad tech for your campaign’s success. It’s important to have an engaged team of experts helping to optimize your ads. Even though ad exchange buying is partially automated, you still need the human element.
Machines can help tremendously with efficiency, but you still need a talented team with sharp instincts. Your team can analyze your ads’ performance. Then, they can help optimize your campaigns.
Determine your ideal outcome.
What are your long-term and short-term goals for your business? Your ad campaigns? How does programmatic advertising fit into those goals?
Once you have your goals targeted, you can set your marketing strategy. A clear strategy will help you make choices and adjustments to your strategy along the way.
Ensure your ad space is on-brand.
You or your team should keep tabs on where your ads are showing up. This is particularly important if you’re using an open exchange. Open ad exchanges put your brand at risk of being advertised on unsavory, explicit, or even extremist platforms. Still, you also want to monitor ads you’ve bought through a private exchange.
Looking to use programmatic advertising as part of your marketing strategy? Here’s a quick recap of what you need to know:
- Programmatic advertising is mostly automated, but not completely
- Buying programmatic ads relies partly on AI and machine learning
- You can buy your ads through open or private exchanges
- Open exchanges make your brand vulnerable to being advertised on explicit websites
- Private exchanges are more expensive but more likely to protect your brand
- You still need a competent team to help you execute your ad strategy
Have you used programmatic advertising in your business? Leave us a comment below and let us know.
Featured image via Bella Melo / shutterstock.com