Programmatic for the people

When done well, programmatic advertising provides brands with more transparency over where their ads appear and makes media buying cheaper and more effective.

Yet the buying of digital ad inventory using a combination of first- and third-party data and a software platform is not without its pitfalls.

Many organisations lack an understanding of how rich their data is, or their IT legacy systems remain a barrier. There can also be a perception internally that programmatic is just the latest digital marketing fad and not worth a significant investment.

Andy Letting has been advising brands on how to do programmatic properly for years. He runs training courses for The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing and works with high-profile advertisers such as Avis, Johnson & Johnson and Ladbrokes as a consultant through his company Disrupt the Market.

Letting claims that advertisers could shift as much as 80 per cent of their budgets to programmatic media buying this year, as publishers develop more solutions. He also expects programmatic to take off in traditional channels too, including radio and TV.

“Brands need to understand the potential and limitations of their data and invest in a data management platform (DMP). This is software that houses audience and campaign data and helps advertisers organise it,” says Letting.

He adds that marketing directors should recruit the best programmatic brains to remove any cynicism internally which could be deterring investment.

In an ideal world, programmatic should simplify the entire process for buyers and sellers of digital media and make negotiations over sales and inventory more straightforward.

Letting also believes that programmatic can boost consumer trust because ads are more relevant. However, he admits there is more work to do to link the online and retail experience and ensure advertisers get their ad frequency right.

“Brands also need to invest more in dynamic content to improve relevancy and not use the same creative when targeting different audience segments at different times,” says Letting.

“The more relevant the advertising, the more trust consumers have and the less likely they are to install ad blocking software and have concerns over privacy.”


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