The ABCs and WTFs of Programmatic Advertising

December 11, 2015

Programmatic Advertising

Recently, the BCAMA had the pleasure of welcoming four experts to lead a discussion on programmatic advertising at the first luncheon in our Thought Leadership Series. As programmatic advertising has been drawing a lot of chatter among marketers lately, gaining expert insight into this mysterious aspect of marketing couldn’t have come at a better time.

Our experts provided a captive audience of Vancouver’s brightest marketers with valuable information about the inner workings of programmatic buying. Dispelling some of the mystery surrounding programmatic, keynote speaker Thierry Bazay from Google Canada and expert panellists Lindsay Noyes from lululemon athletica, Kyle Grant from 7-Eleven Canada, and Zac Goodman from DSA Media delved into the ABCs and WTFs of programmatic.

The WTFs

According to the Globe and Mail, programmatic advertising will likely account for close to 48% of digital ad spending in Canada this year. However, despite the fact that it’s becoming an important tactical tool, many marketers can’t clearly articulate what programmatic advertising is or how programmatic buys are executed.

Programmatic advertising refers to the use of specialized software to buy digital ads, unlike the traditional process, which involves manual insertion orders.

In his keynote speech, Thierry Bazay, who is Head of Industry, Media Platforms at Google Canada, described programmatic as marrying technology, inventory and data. He went on to explain that programmatic gives advertisers the ability to reach the right person, at the right time and with the right ad. Using technology and audience insights, programmatic buying can reach specific audiences across platforms with tailored messages. It’s also measurable in real time, giving advertisers the opportunity to optimize campaigns immediately. This all translates to advertisers being able to put away insertion orders, trafficking sheets and other paperwork, and let technology help them handle their digital ad buys. Advertisers can also rely on this technology to provide the data they need to optimize their campaigns right away.

The ABCs

While there are a variety of partners, agencies and technology solutions to help marketers reach their advertising goals through programmatic buying, understanding the basics can help make the road to success less bumpy. Google’s Programmatic: A Brand Marketer’s Guide offers beginners the context needed to get started. The guide’s Executive Summary suggests a five-step approach to programmatic advertising:

 1.     Organize audience insights

Organize insights from the target audience so you can appeal to what they want. This will allow the ads to remain relevant in the moments that matter, resulting in sales, loyalty and brand advocacy.

2.     Design compelling creative

Use audience insights to inform and inspire creative in real time. Ads should render across screens, delivering relevant and engaging ads.

3.     Execute with integrated technology

Look for integrated technology to deliver brand messaging efficiently and effectively, and use the technology to evaluate, purchase, activate and measure media in real time. This will enhance the value of audience insights and creative ads.

4.     Reach audiences across screens

Use programmatic buying to engage target audiences, regardless of screen or channel.

5.     Measure the impact

Ensure that consumers see ads by using actionable brand measurement and attribution. Measure what consumers do after ad exposure by understanding how the ads impact consumer perception.

Expert Advice

Many marketers might think that programmatic advertising is just the latest industry buzzword, but all four of our experts agreed: marketers who aren’t embracing programmatic buying are falling behind. By 2017, eMarketer estimates that, in Canada, over 60% of digital display advertising and over 70% of mobile display advertising will be purchased programmatically. With statistics like these, it came as no surprise that Lindsay Noyes, Local Search and Paid Media Specialist at lululemon athletica left us with these final words on programmatic advertising: “If you’re buying digital, you need to be doing it two years ago!”