Why programmatic is in and why it isn’t going anywhere

Stacey Delaney, Sparc Media
By Stacey Delaney, Sparc Media | 27 March 2015
Stacey Delaney, from independent trading desk, Sparc Media.

You know it, we know it, your clients know it; programmatic is in and it isn’t going anywhere. Marketing managers around the globe are funnelling their marketing budgets into this highly efficient way of buying media. According to the latest Magna Global numbers $21 billion was spent in programmatic in 2014 and this is forecasted to grow to $53 billion in 2018.

The benefits are vast but the most cited are the transparency it provides advertisers on their marketing spend, the feedback if gives them regarding their creative and the ability to optimise results in near real-time. Not forgetting that you only pay for the people you want. No more blanket buys of putting your spend into one or two sites; this automated way of buying via data and technology allows you to select highly targeted audiences and advertise to them at the time you want and for the price that you want. So why are some people still nervous?

Having spoken to many agencies and clients of varying scales and sizes, just because everyone is talking about it, doesn’t mean that everyone understands it. There is still a very common misconception that it should only be used for performance based activity where you are focusing on a very specific acquisition goal. That is folly, in fact, now that rich media, outdoor and native have become available programmatically, there is an answer for all aspects of the customer journey. It is only a matter of time before TV, print and radio are fully available in this way and before you know it programmatic is the next traditional. Which is why clients and agencies should be looking at this space now, to get in ahead of the curve, before they get left behind.

Many clients and agencies don’t necessarily understand the space, and why should they? They are busy running their Marketing divisions and Media teams, trying to realise their marketing budget, planning and buying, working across brand, sponsorships, events, and the million other things they have on their very busy plates, but they do need to start prioritising it. It will provide them with a lot of efficiencies and in the long run it will save them money. Who doesn’t like to hear those words…?

So what steps can you take to learn more about the channel and give yourself the confidence to start buying in this way?

1. Attend a programmatic event – there is something on every couple of months. They are informative and provide real-life examples from brands who have moved their marketing spend into programmatic and have seen real benefit. At the 2 events I attended in the last month there was client representation from major banks, telcos, supermarkets, technology suppliers, entertainment and auto; as well as representation from media and advertising agencies, from planner/buyer to CEO level. Some were presenting and others were in the audience soaking up the information

2. Read the articles – type “programmatic” into your search engine and you will find plenty on the topic. You can also subscribe to newsletters from well-known media and marketing sites here in Australia and in the U.S.

3. Youtube – there are some great videos on here which explain programmatic in normal terms which human beings can understand! Trinity3 have some great ones

4. Ignore the Jargon – As soon as you hear the words DSP and SSP your eyes have a habit of glazing over. Speak to a trusted advisor who can break this down for you in marketing terms, because the truth is that when you lose the jargon it is actually not that difficult to understand. Programmatic is just an automated way to connect brands with their ideal customers

5. Listen to the potential benefits: Programmatic allows you to reach highly targeted audiences; spreads your budget across multiple channels and optimises to the best performing, the campaign starts learning where to spend your money to achieve the best result, you’ll get actionable insights, cost efficiencies, less wastage; the list goes on.

6. Work with an expert in the space – get to know a programmatic media buyer who can provide you with support in putting together the right plan for you or your clients. Lean on them and see if they are happy to support you in meetings with senior stakeholders or accompany you in client pitches. They are already an expert and will be adept at ensuring yours or your client’s first foray into this space is as smooth as possible. Also if there is anything that you don’t understand yourself, just ask; a good partner will have heard all of the questions before and will have no problem in explaining the answer to you

7. Test it - Allocate a small spend to test it. If you can commit between $10,000-$20,000 for a trial run that should give you some decent insight and will allow you to see the cost benefit straight away.

Don’t put this in the too hard basket. You can start seeing the benefits in no time.

By Stacey Delaney, from independent trading desk, Sparc Media.

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