Programmatic Ad Buying: What’s The Value?

By Stevie Sleeter, Content & Social Media Manager

Published: March 26, 2015

Picture this. Advertiser Totally Tubular wants to sell more surfboards. It turns to a Programmatic Marketing Platform (PMP) which is able to identify online consumers by demographics, geography, interests, behaviors, time of day, weather and device. For Totally Tubular, these consumers: live within three minutes of a beach, are highly educated, consume surfing content across multiple devices, on their lunch break, on sunny days. The Programmatic Platform then uses real-time, first and third party data to identify the best online audience for the campaign. It then buys digital ad inventory through an auction, one impression at a time, or if needed, through building direct relationships with publishers that have the right audience. The PMP reaches consumers in places they care about, across multiple devices.

So, programmatic advertising …

Feeling like you’re in the dark when it comes to this concept is not uncommon. Heralded as the latest buzzword in the advertising community, it is a concept that is frequently talked about but often misunderstood. In a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal only 23 percent of CMOs understood programmatic advertising enough to use it in campaigns. Twelve percent of those respondents had never heard of it at all.

The foundation of it has clear value and is something Envano has long talked about when we focus on an audience centric approac, and talk about things like sharing the right content, with the right person, in the right context, at the right time.

We do it often (with the help of big data aggregators) through things like Facebook exchange — where we can target ‘men, age 25–60, who have a landscape business, make more than $50,000 a year and just hired 20 new employees.’

It’s less common (so far) in typical search networks. Google Display network does it to some extent, but not to the level of following very niche behavior or characteristics of an audience. That is what tools like MultiView purport to do. However, you first have to ask what their network looks like (i.e. where do their ads publish). Our experience shows that this approach is still very much in its infancy and that there are a lot of providers like this out there, but it is unclear how well they perform yet. On top of that, there will never be a full elimination of a search expert (the human element) of serving ads because someone still has to be there to think about and decipher the people.


Take a look at our full research document on programmatic advertising for more insight into ‘what the heck it actually is,’ the different types of programmatic advertising, human vs. automated approaches, and why it may be the wave of the future, particularly when it’s coupled with dynamic content.

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