The pros of programmatic

Ross Blackam, Fairfax Media’s national sales director
By Ross Blackam, Fairfax Media’s national sales director | 14 March 2016
Ross Blackam, Fairfax Media’s national sales director, DRX Network & Fairfax Exchange. Fairfax Media’s national sales director, DRX Network & Fairfax Exchange.

The death of the traditional sales team. Struggles finding the right talent. Technology complexities. Commoditisation. Robots taking over the world. Wow. The list of negatives (and fictional fantasies) about programmatic trading has always been long. But what about all the positives that the booming programmatic world has brought to our industry – both the great strides we’ve experienced already and the opportunities yet to come?

There are several areas of evolution that point to a positive future for programmatic and a stronger future for media buying in general:

1. Data + Inventory

Premium audience data, premium publisher inventory and programmatic technology. What a beautiful union. Certainly many local publishers have been trading data within programmatic buys in some shape or form for quite some time now however, a number of players have found that data leakage (where buyers use data collection technology to re-use audience segments without the publisher’s knowledge or consent), fraud and other risks associated with data security have been speed humps blocking the road towards a fully transparent offering.

A successful programmatic strategy for publishers is one in which data and inventory are sold together to provide advertisers unique, high-value, targeted audiences. It is important that there are sufficient protections in place to combat publisher data leakage and offer a fair trading environment for both sides of the buying equation.

By ensuring total transparency between buyer and seller, incorporating important safeguards such as re-pixelling detection and utlising a best-in-class Data Management Platform, publishers will provide advertisers with the ability to consolidate data, inventory and programmatic technology into one very efficient, and powerful, digital media buy.

2. Programmatic Guaranteed

‘Programmatic Guaranteed’ (or Automated Guaranteed) is the key to unlocking the true potential of digital advertising.

Programmatic Guaranteed technology automates “traditional” media workflows, making a team’s buying and selling process faster, more efficient and less prone to errors. Most importantly, it gives agencies and publishers more time to deliver the most important benefits of the direct buy/sell relationship such as strategic media plans with delivery guarantees, developing breakthrough concepts and meaningful, insight-rich client interactions.

All this gets accomplished without the headaches and inefficiency that plagues current workflows.

Just as many industries have benefitted from innovation in process automation, so can the digital media industry. In fact, the research firm IDC predicts explosive growth for automated guaranteed, where it will account for 56% of US programmatic spending and 53% of global programmatic spending by 2018*.

From a publisher’s point of view, moving towards Programmatic Guaranteed while still complementing any existing programmatic trading offering, will enable a closer working relationship with agencies and clients to help with strategies, concepts, insights and interactions.

3. Direct Buying

Make no mistake, all this talk of programmatic innovation is not to say that buying direct is dead. Quite the contrary, in fact direct buying accomplishes big things that simply can’t yet be done in the programmatic world. Yes, in the traditional model clients have to take a little extra time to select their media partner, book activity, generate IO’s and tags and so on but they also gain access to an array of different metrics that aren’t offered via programmatic channels such as Cost Per Acquisition, Cost Per Click and Cost Per Unique Landing. Clients also gain continual optimisations down to the most granular level and receive meaningful insights specific to their marketing goals and objectives.

In the media market of the future, the winners will be those who most effectively combine people and technology to drive results and those who continue to focus on the positives and opportunities this fast moving platform can offer.

*Source: IDC WW Programmatic Advertising Forecast 2015-2018, July 2015

By Ross Blackam

Fairfax Media’s national sales director, DRX Network & Fairfax Exchange.

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