It really is unbelievable the pace with which the ads change and evolve. Marketing specialists who have been here for a while easily agree that it takes just a few years for the world of ads to turn upside down.
Nobody ever knows if this so quickly advancing technology won’t bring another revolutionary idea.
Because programmatic ad buying is indeed revolutionary and it’s arguably the most plausible form of the ads in the nearest future.
If you like to keep yourself up to date with the latest marketing news, you probably heard of it already. If not, you probably don’t even understand this intensifying fuss around programmatic.
By the way: The Ultimate Facebook spy tool can be found here. It bring Facebook programmatic advertising to the next level.
It’s nothing to worry about – we were confused at first as well.
Programmatic Ad Buying and RTB
Video courtesy of IAB – Interactive Advertising Bureau
There are two quite important terms that you will sooner or later encounter. First of them you have already heard for sure and that’s this famous programmatic ad buying.
It’s the term we will be trying to define and explain for you. The second one is Real-time Bidding (RTB).
If you already tried to do some research, you have probably noticed those two are often put one next to another or even used as synonym for the same, one phenomenon.
The question is, are they really the same?
Some people may argue that they indeed are. However, the majority of experts will strongly oppose this statement. Despite what some marketers want to believe, RTB is not one with programmatic ad buying. It is a part of a bigger whole.
To define Real-time bidding, let’s imagine it as what it actually is – an auction. The subject of the auction is an ad space on a page that it just about to bevisited by a user.
By “just about” we mean those milliseconds that the loading of the page takes.
In this incredibly short time somebody places the highest bid for that ad space and his ad, with his product in it, is shown on the page that loaded for the potential customer. Of course, it’s not a real person who bids before the pages loads.
It’s an automated process which also enables much more detailed analyze of different data that helps to choose an ad for its target group.
If that’s RTB, an automatic bid for an ad space, what’s programmatic buying?
The programmatic ad buying reaches much further than RTB. Real-time bidding is, first of all, easy to define and explain.
Meanwhile, programmatic is not. Long reading around the web can result in finding tens of broad, jargon-made definitions that can mean anything and often go one against another.
Where does this come from?
Programmatic is, in fact, a technological newborn. Although it became extremely popular within its first years, it is still a vague term with blurry borders. People define it as they understand it.
There are, luckily, certain solid and common points in each of those definitions. This way we can say that programmatic ad buying is a process automatizing the decision making of where, when and to whom should be the ad displayed.
Its main goal is to reduce costs and time spent on the process of making an ad and finding the target group. Tasks that can be automatized will be passed onto an algorithm using AI which will replace a human marketer.
To summarize it: RTB is an auction for an ad space shown to selected target group. Programmatic is this and much, much more.
Will programmatic kill the creativity?
To understand what is one of the biggest fears of the marketers who observe the increasing popularity of programmatic, we need to look back in the past.
So far every ad ever made, be it a banner on a website or a TV commercial, demanded a lot of hard work from a team of marketing specialists. Creativity, along the knowledge of the marketing itself, was the very core of creating a successful campaign.
The way to win a client was to drag their attention and make them remember the product.
The best campaigns are remembered for years. But to achieve such effect was a nearly impossible task for many brands.
Nowadays, the ads work differently. After years of watching TV commercials, the society is almost immune to their persuasive nature. It’s safe to say that TV or radio commercials are, in most cases, thing of the past.
The Internet, especially social media and blogs, are giving much better results for much less effort and smaller costs. While in the case of TV commercials, the target group is a mere percent of whole the audience, in the web the ads are seen mostly by the potential customers. And in case of programmatic ad buying, getting to them is even easier.
It’s not hard to understand that showing an ad to a person potentially interested needs less persuasive force than showing it to a person indifferent towards the product. Less effort means less need for creativity. To many of marketers, programmatic ad buying is a final blow to creative ad making.
But is this true?
The programmatic enthusiasts argue that not only it’s not the case, but also a chance for creativity to develop. Programmatic ad buying allows the AI do all the math and find the customers exactly according to the marketer’s specifications.
There is no more need for long analyzing the data sheets to make the ad get to the right audience. Programmatic uses all the behavioral, geographical and time data to display the ads in the best location and time.
Meanwhile, the marketers spend the time coming up with new ideas and, if needed, adjusting the data processed by the AI.
What does it change?
In fact, the best answer to this question is simply: everything. The future of the Internet advertising lies within the programmatic ad buying and RTB. The list of possible positive changes is really incredible.
From what we have said already, through all the things that are yet to be listed to all those advantages that are still to come – programmatic will surely change the way the ads are made and targeted.
The list of changes is growing and the longer we work with programmatic, the longer it gets. For starters, look at those three:
Programmatic ad buying helps to land ads more accurately. It is commonly known that ads are disliked and surround the customers from all around.
Programmatic has a chance to change the way the ads are perceived in the web by showing only the content of interest to potential buyers.
Programmatic software won’t ever waste money on displaying an ad to someone who doesn’t fit in the algorithm.
The increase of ROI while minimizing the cost is the primary benefit of using programmatic.
The buying process is automatized. Back in the past, not only making an ad, but also buying an ad space took a great deal of effort.
Thanks to programmatic the process is almost effortless. There is no more need for making phone calls, sending e-mails or meeting in person to buy an ad space.
Everything is happening thanks to a few clicks of the mouse that allow to enter the characteristical data of the target group.
Social media benefit most from the programmatic ad buying. They simply have the largest data bases ever. They may not store any personal data, but those are not what the marketers need anyway.
Aside of that, the social media have an open access to everything that is needed to find a perfect customer – general location, gender, age and interests. It’s a bottomless well of the needed information that no other media have.
The benefits are counted and measured
All of this sounds really impressive, but it wouldn’t mean anything without numbers to support this marketing revolution. Reports made by eMarketer showed two things that prove the programmatic to be an ad changing solution.
According to the site’s reports, in 2015 over 50% of ad buys in the States happened thanks to the programmatic ad buying.
In the same time, a report about programmatic use in ad buying from 2016 shows that marketers can name particular benefits:
- better targeting (90%)
- real-time optimization (76%)
- Managing buys across multiple channels (66%)
- Decreased cost of media (62%)
- Ability to personalize adds (60%)
The eMarketer reports continue to analyze the programmatic influence on Internet advertising. It is yet to be seen if their predictions about the future will come true in the upcoming years.
Everything has weak points
Nothing is perfect and the programmatic ad buying has its flaws as well. There are two main issues connected to this solution and although the programmatic community continues to discuss them, they are still present and nagging.
The first issue is connect to mobiles. Although the main idea about the programmatic ad is to target the potential clients across all their devices such as laptops or tablets, the mobiles are still a huge issue.
At the moment, programmatic relies on cookies a lot and those are quite useless in case of the mobile phones.
How to solve it and enable the undisturbed data flow from one device to another, is still a riddle for the programmatic specialists.
The second, even more nagging issue, is the unpleasant phenomenon of programmatic fraud. Ideally, the customer who buys the ad and specifies the desired target group, should be well aware of where and when are the ads displayed.
Unfortunately, the problem of so called URL masking is more than common among subjects offering the programmatic solutions. As a result, the site in which the ad is supposed to be displayed is listed as a different, more attractive one.
In the end, the person buying an ad space can’t be completely sure where exactly is the ad they paid for.
Biggest players on the market
Among numerous subjects who offer the possibility of programmatic ad buying, are a few competitors who are most likely to overtake the market.
A lot of platforms offering this advertising solution use, as we said, the algorithm that matches the data entered with the best target group possible.
But algorithm is one, and the data needed is the other thing. This data is mainly in hands of social media giants.
As mentioned before, those companies have the biggest possibilities of accurately hitting the target groups thanks to all the behavioral and geographical data about their users and account holders.
Twitter or LinkedIn already offer a huge chances of displaying a right ad to the right person.
Facebook, which has the biggest data base about their users in the world, was said to work on its own advertising service outside the popular social media platform while using the data stored in it.
Another giant, Google, was known for AdWords since years and it is more than likely that it will fight for the first place on the programmatic market against Facebook.
To do programmatic ad buying on Facebook effectively you need the right tools. It is very effective to remove the “guessing game” completely and go straight for the killer ads. AdFox does just that.
All in all, it comes down to the amount of data gathered about the possible clients. The social media giants had this data for years before the programmatic ad buying was even an idea.
Nowadays, it is hard to imagine that a new company basing on this very technology will arise and take down the competitors.
Most likely, the programmatic market belongs to those who had the luck to be the big players before the ad buying revolution came.
What does it all mean to all of us?
Whether you are a marketer interested in buying an ad or a potential customer – things are going to change drastically. If you are on the receiving end of the line, you should definitely expect less annoying ads that have nothing to do with your personality or interests.
Yes, it is likely that your Facebook or Google+ profile will be the culprit.
But isn’t it better to be shown things you actually can benefit from?
If you are a marketer instead, get ready for the upcoming changes. If you were used to spending a lot of time on chasing your targets, expect this time to free up.
Devote it to coming up with better ideas and the campaign better. Why to make a human do a job that a robot can do?