Online display trading in 1996.

A lot has changed since online display advertising first started in 1996. Back then, much like print before it, companies purchased ad placements on online news sites such as the New York Times and CNN. Targeting the right audience was crude, if someone read the food section of the New York Times it was hoped that they would be interested in purchasing Martha Stewart or Cuisinart. Limited targeting options and a small number of publishers meant that display advertising was a primarily a branding mechanism for enterprise level companies looking to dominate the online space. The advent of programmatic trading has changed all this.

What is Programmatic?

Programmatic advertising is the use of technology platforms to automate digital ad buying. In basic terms, it’s using machines to buy targeted media space across digital channels such as display, video, mobile and social. The common analogy is with stock market trading – programmatic pricing is typically determined by real-time supply/demand economics. Essentially, a high value placement at peak time will cost significantly more than a low value placement in the middle of the night. To ensure the highest return on investment for the advertiser, programmatic trading uses real-time bidding.

Real-time bidding (RTB) refers to the means by which ad inventory is bought and sold on a per-impression basis, via programmatic instantaneous auction, very much the same as in financial markets. Complex algorithms determine where and when impressions should be purchased by an advertiser to ensure that both the right audience is reached and that the lowest price is paid for the impression culminating in the highest possible ROI for the advertiser.


Online display marketplace today.

What Does it Mean for the Advertiser?

With billions of multi-platform interactions every day across multiple platforms, the old intuitive ways of planning a display campaign can no longer be applied.

Whether or not you are actively using programmatic to reach your audience online, the fact is the technology is already having a profound impact on how consumers interact with brands. A constant connection to devices presents new challenges for brands, including how to reach potential customers and make the dollars they dedicate to digital count.

Programmatic buying (using technology to automate the purchase of media) has demonstrated unprecedented efficiency and is quickly becoming a mainstream marketing tool. As the rapid rise of programmatic continues, marketers need to understand its powerful potential and possible pitfalls.

The more you know, the more there is to know and a strong programmatic partner should be a constant and reliable resource for you. Once you’ve found a solid programmatic partner for your brand, it’s time to take the leap and reap the benefits that come with a proactive programmatic approach.

3 Key Ways to Get the Most from Programmatic Display

Use a Multi-platform Approach

Trading across multiple Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) ensures brands reach as many of their customers and prospects as possible. The strengths of each DSP can be capitalized on to improve campaign performance. A multiplatform approach encourages competition among DSPs, leading to the best value for the client; this is a distinct advantage for marketers.

Leverage Strong Creative

Great creative drives consumer engagement. Clear calls to action are important, along with varied creative that speaks to different times of day, platform, location and so on. It’s important to have a programmatic partner that will work with you to create the best possible strategy and make tailored recommendations instead of simply offering you a plug and play approach.

Establish Benchmarks

Speak the same language when it comes to measurement. Clear communication with the team advising and executing your campaigns is vital. When it comes to data and key performance indicators, such as customer lifetime value, purchase size and cost per acquisition, the more you share, the better equipped your programmatic partner will be.

The Lesson for Advertisers

While programmatic is not a perfect solution for every advertiser, it is a highly effective way to access the largest online audience at the most cost efficient price through a single buying point across display, mobile & social channels. Maximizing your ROI through display advertising has never been as possible as it is today with the advent of programmatic allowing advertisers to seek out and target qualified audiences more effectively than ever.