Programmatic advertising is one of the hottest topics in the marketing sector today. It is estimated that by 2018 over £40.75 billion will be spent across this technology.

But what exactly is programmatic marketing?

In simple terms, programmatic marketing is the automated buying and selling of online media space through the use of technology. This technology combines what is referred to as “Ad Exchanges” together, allowing advertisers to publish their ads across a wider range of websites.

AdWords for example has its own Ad Exchange called Double Click. This is a real time technology that allows advertisers to purchase space on websites, and website owners to offer this space for sale. Programmatic marketing works in a similar way, but instead combines a series of Ad Exchanges into one platform.

These exchanges can be accessed through demand-side platforms (DSPs), which give advertisers the opportunity be quite specific as to when, where and to whom their ads appear.

Why Invest in a Programmatic Campaign?

Having the ability to target users at such a granular level and across a large

r network is the real USP of programmatic marketing. It is an avenue that allows brands to amplify their core marketing messages to a very defined audience.

Programmatic marketing also removes the element of human intervention and when it comes to purchasing and agreeing on rates for on or offline advertising space. As a result, purchasing the same or similar inventory from publishers is much cheaper in comparison to traditional advertising.

Two Types of Programmatic

There are two forms of programmatic marketing: programmatic RTB and programmatic direct.

Programmatic RTB follows similar principals to Google’s AdWords Display Network where advertisers have the ability to bid on what sites banner ads appear when a series of targeting requirements are satisfied (i.e. interests, viewing device etc.). Advertisers have the ability to fight for a publisher’s space on a user by user basis and generally speaking, the highest bidder wins.

Programmatic Direct – is a real winner! Often referred to as automated guarantee, programmatic guarantee or programmatic premium (don’t be alarmed, these are all the same thing), programmatic direct allows an advertiser to research the best publisher and advertise on their website for an agreed upon price for a duration of time. This removes the process of sending a request to discover pricing/availability, transacting deals via paper trails and uploading the final advertisement. Bypassing these steps and allows for a more seamless and transparent delivery of ads.

Programmatic vs. AdWords

Many of our clients ask us the question, “If we’re already running an AdWords campaign do we need to invest in programmatic marketing?” The answer is yes and no.

Programmatic marketing is a strong alternative, granting access to a range of real-time bidding vendors, whereas AdWords Display only allows for campaigns to be run within the Google network. However, for Programmatic to work it needs to be used in line with your current marketing objectives, activities and budgets. The success of a programmatic campaign will also be subject to the quality of data supporting it. Where has the data been collected from, how fresh is it and how will the platform let me use it?

The majority, if not all, of the demand side platforms connect to the ad exchanges that already exist. So what does this mean? Depending on the demand side platform being used and who is serving it (Google, Microsoft etc), the technology linking to these existing ad exchanges will frequently offer additional targeting and publishing options not previously available.

Simply put, on a programmatic platform you have the ability to run display ads on websites that you previously couldn’t have done so in real-time.