Programmatic: What the heck is it?

The truth is that Programmatic ad buying has changed the face of digital advertising, but it’s still really confusing. What the heck does it actually do? Let’s make it a little simpler to understand:

“Programmatic” ad buying refers to the use of software/technology to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations and manual insertion orders. In a nutshell, it is using machines and technology to buy ads.

Why does programmatic advertising matter?

Efficiency. Before programmatic ad buying, digital ads were bought and sold by ad buyers and salespeople, which is expensive and sometimes unreliable. Programmatic advertising technology promises to make the ad buying system more efficient, and therefore cheaper, by removing humans from the process wherever possible. Humans get sick, need to sleep, and come to work hungover. Machines do not.

So robots are replacing people? Great. There goes my job.

Yes and no. Technology is being used to replace some of the more menial tasks that humans have historically had to deal with, like sending insertion orders to publishers, but they’re still required to optimize campaigns and strategize. Programmatic technology will probably mean there are fewer ad buyers in the world, but it could also allow both marketers and sellers to spend more of their time planning sophisticated, customized campaigns instead of getting bogged down with the tedious tasks.

Is targeting going to be any different?

Completely. Through programmatic advertising we are able to target individual profiles based on unique data attributes that connect to actual people. The results can be incredibly powerful for brands, leading to better accuracy and efficiency. So instead of buying individual sites that your target audience visits and wasting millions of impressions, we can now buy the actual person and get in front of them on the sites they frequent. This keeps CPM’s low, while increasing efficiency and being super targeted. Kind of cool right?

Is programmatic the future?

Yes. At the moment, it’s mainly online ads that are purchased programmatically, but increasingly, media companies and agencies are exploring ways to sell “traditional” media this way, including TV spots and out-of-home ads. The fact is, programmatic is a quickly growing part of the buying and selling of media. All signs point to its continuous growth.

"The use of technology to automate processes and the use of math to improve results. It is the future of marketing, available now." - Joe Zawadzki, CEO, MediaMath