Back at the end of last year we chatted about the four key micro-moments that all marketers should be aware of - I want to know, I want to go, I want to buy and I want to do. If micro-moments are new to you, you can find out more here, however if you’re already familiar with micro-moments and want to learn more about how you can reach your audience in the moments that matter through programmatic advertising then read on.

Nowadays, more and more consumers are second and multi-screening and these micro-moments can (and do) happen anywhere at any time. In order to have an upper hand on your competitors, it is imperative for brands to be there at that all important time - and so we say hello to programmatic advertising.


What is Programmatic Advertising?

Often described as the future of online advertising, programmatic technology allows advertisers to reach a target audience with ads that are highly relevant to them, maximising their ad’s impact. Through incredibly helpful audience insights, advertisers can reach their target audience at the right time, in the right place and arguably the most important factor, at the right cost.

To put it quite simply, programmatic buying is the automatic purchase of advertising space whether this is bought in advance to ensure the space is guaranteed to be yours or through real-time bidding. With a multitude of customer touch points before a consumer will go ahead and make a purchase, it is becoming more and more important to get in front of them at the most important time and this is where advertising programmatically can really help you.

Programmatic Real-Time Buying

Real-time programmatic advertising is a little like Google AdWords only for display ads rather than the standard text ads we see in Google’s search results pages (SERPs) and real-time bidding is used to serve display ads to internet users as they browse online. So how does it all work? When a website loads, if the site has ad space available for real-time bidding, information of the user and the website are passed through to an ad exchange. The ad exchange then auctions the available ad space to the highest bidder and the winning ad will then display when the site has finished loading. Thanks to very clever algorithms, the auctions take only milliseconds and so your ad can be on display to your target audience almost instantly.

Programmatic ads which are displayed through winning a real-time bidding auction can be targeted to extremely relevant people across a wide range of sites and the budget can also be managed in real-time. Not to be mistaken with standard display advertising, the unique thing about programmatic advertising is audiences can be targeted on very specific demographics such as their age, salary, interests, job title and of course their current internet browsing interest plus more.

Programmatic Direct

Often referred to as programmatic guaranteed, automated guaranteed and programmatic premium, programmatic direct is the process of buying ad space without an auction - ultimately you are guaranteed to have your ad in this space. Before programmatic was introduced into the arena, this form of ad buying was extremely inefficient as it involved 40+ steps for an ad to go from concept stage to finally displaying to the target audience however nowadays, thanks to more automated solutions, marketers can have faster access to ad inventory and the delivery of ads to the end user are seamless.

Benefits of Programmatic Advertising

It is the future

At the moment, UK programmatic spend is at £2.5 billion and programmatic accounts for 70% of all display inventory. Back in 2015, more than 90 marketers in the Ad Age Top 100 Global Marketers list made programmatic deals and more than half of the publishers in the US comScore top 50 list from December 2015 offered their inventory through programmatic direct deals so there’s no question of it going anywhere. Also, although this may not be a surprise to you, programmatic direct impressions served on mobile grew four times faster than desktop from October 2014 - December 2015 identifying a clear opportunity for using programmatic to reach your audience.

It complements your strategy

Whilst search and social helps you reach out to people who are aware of your offering, programmatic advertising can support your marketing strategy in a different way - helping you to reach an audience who don’t even know they need your services or want your product.

Ads can be super targeted

Programmatic advertising is excellent for reaching a very targeted audience and you reach them in a number of ways.

        • Recency retargeting: allowing advertisers to reach their audience based on their actions, advertisers can set their bids differently based on when they last visited the site.
        • Look-a-like audience: using a very clever algorithm, audience segments can be created to target users who have a high propensity to convert.
        • Behavioural: tapping into lots of third party aggregators, you can also target based on a number of other factors.
        • Offline purchase behaviours (via credit card data)
        • Online activity such as the content being read, purchases being made and searches conducted
        • Social media activity such as activity and shares
        • Consumer personas based on the types of locations they are visiting
        • Location data targeting users based on their IP addresses and using geo-fencing to target based on vicinity to specific locations.

Hopefully this has given you a basic insight into programmatic advertising. Next week we’ll be back to provide you with tips on getting started with programmatic and the potential of programmatic video ads.

In the meantime, if you have any questions on programmatic, drop us a message on Twitter and we’ll be happy to chat more.