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New digital advertising mediums constantly emerge as technology develops. Although not new (It made its debut in 2000 with Google’s Adwords), Programmatic Media Buying has made massive inroads and is now the dominant form of monetisation for publishers.
The software uses a modified form of the Vickrey Auction to identify the winning bidder. The highest bidder wins but only pays the 2nd highest bid price and the process of placing, optimisation and tracking of media inventory is completely automated.
Digital platforms including Exchanges, Trading Desks and Demand/Supply Side Platforms work together to allow execution of media buys in milliseconds. Trading Desks help clients to optimise audience buys, bid-based media as well as provide audience insights across a wide range of many ad networks simultaneously making use of Demand-Side Platforms and other programmatic technologies.
We're way beyond real-time bidding
The immediate association with programmatic buying is real-time bidding. While this is certainly a component of programmatic buying, the system comprises of so much more, and programmatic technology is more frequently being used to facilitate premium deals.
Where it all started
The first banner ads appeared in 1994, a time when publishing was very much a one-to-one relationship between advertisers and publishers. Google introduced contextual advertising in the early 2000s introducing Adwords and Adsense bringing buyers and sellers together at scale.
With the birth of the ad exchange in 2011 came programmatic buying, with the emphasis on contextual and audience targeting and real-time bidding. This “360 customer view” provides a deep, meaningful understanding of customers through aggregating information from each touch point. Technologies used to achieve this include social media listening, predictive analytics and CRM.
It's a crowded landscape
Data has become the keystone of almost all the platforms an advertiser may use day-to-day – including demand/supply side platforms, ad exchanges and CRM.
All these technologies come together to present advertisers with a solid approach to presenting the right data to the right audience at the right time.
With transactions happening in real time, the importance of monitoring, measuring and reporting cannot be overstated. The demand for “Programmatic Guarantees” has skyrocketed since its launch in 2015, in the last 10 months alone, the number of impressions for video ads served through Programmatic Guaranteed Arrangements has quadrupled. Programmatic Guaranteed allows advertisers to serve ads to specific publisher audiences at a much larger scale than typically allowed by walled-garden marketplaces.
Programmatic doesn't mean non-human
With programmatic buying, particularly for premium buyers, the process remains the same as it always has been. It’s also not "fire and forget", as it requires much ongoing, real-time optimisation to be effective. This requires human intervention - you can’t leave it to a machine.
It is important to emphasise that this is not a “digital thing” – in time, most media types will be handled programmatically. Not only does Programmatic Bidding bring an improvement in transparency for publishers but a very welcome erosion of bid prices.
Looking to the future and moving towards both programmatic and exponential technologies will provide an advantage over competitors and should be embraced.