What the heck is programmatic? Exploring the future of digital advertising

What the heck is programmatic? Exploring the future of digital advertising

It’s basic knowledge that life in 2017 revolves around automated technology. From self-checkouts to digital assistants, we depend on computers to help us get our work done – and that’s especially true in digital advertising.

As the name suggests, digital advertising is all about integrating technology with traditional marketing practices. Currently, it appears that one platform will play a major role in the industry’s future: programmatic advertising. Ever heard of it?

While the name “programmatic” may sounds intimidating to the uninitiated, there’s no need for alarm. To help explain what the heck programmatic is, we’ve asked Brandon Ghaeli, director of sales and partnerships at Eyereturn Marketing, for his take on the subject.

6 essential questions about programmatic advertising:

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  1. Many people have never heard of programmatic ad buying. How would you explain it to them?

“Put simply, programmatic advertising is the automated purchase and sale of advertising space in real-time,” Ghaeli explains.

“Programmatic platforms offer the ability to incorporate a variety of data sources as well as predictive and algorithmic modeling, improving the overall efficiency of the advertising dollars invested into them.”


  1. What are the main benefits of programmatic advertising over more traditional routes?

According to Ghaeli the main appeal of programmatic advertising is efficiency, “Programmatic advertising provides marketers with the ability to analyze each advertising opportunity in a fraction of a second before making the decision to purchase that opportunity.”

The ability to monitor details is also a key benefit. Programmatic advertising allows marketers to discern where their ads will appear and who will most likely see those ads. On the other hand, traditional marketers “may rely on macro level details such as overall circulation and viewers, demographic skews of the audience base and contextual relevance of the publication or show,” says Ghaeli.

“One additional benefit that can’t be overlooked is the ability to track and measure the effect of advertising campaigns,” he adds. “Individual ad impressions can be tied to specific user interactions on the website, opening the door to a seemingly infinite amount of detailed analysis that can improve campaign performance.”


  1. Are there any drawbacks to programmatic ad buying?

“Programmatic inventory relies on many layers to make the automated placement of ads possible. Ultimately, each layer in the process distances the advertiser from the final placement of the ad, adding costs, reducing transparency and opening the door to advertising fraud.”

Also note that larger platforms such as Google and Facebook limit marketers’ ability to audit their campaigns. Unfortunately, this “stunts a marketer’s ability to measure success of their campaigns and take action,” Ghaeli warns.


  1. Does the rising use of mobile have an impact on the effectiveness of programmatic?

While the ad buying process is similar on both mobile and desktop, Ghaeli notes that some mobile devices interfere with the tracking abilities of programmatic ads. “This leads to less accurate user data and a limited ability to measure campaign success through activities on an advertiser’s website.”

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  1. Do programmatic ad buyers know where their ads will run, or are they basically taking a shot in the dark?

Ghaeli says that it’s up to marketers to determine just how much control they have over their campaigns. “The more controls you put in place, the greater your ability to determine exactly where and when your ads run. The idea that you’re at the mercy of advertising exchanges is not entirely accurate.”


  1. How do you see programmatic evolving in the future?

The rapid development of the advertising industry means that nothing is ever a guarantee. However, Ghaeli sees three areas of potential growth.

“First, the ability for brands to target users across all of their connected devices. Currently, very few platforms have the ability to discern when a single user is active across many devices and this is considered to be the Holy Grail by many marketers.”

Of course, the transparency issue is due for improvement. “So many marketers and brands are pushing their vendors and inventory suppliers to be more transparent about data and fees and many of these supplies are answering the call,” he continues. “In fact, there even seems to be a market for technology companies who specialize in driving transparency across the online programmatic ecosystem.”

Ghaeli also predicts that programmatic advertising will spread into new mediums. “Already we’re beginning to see programmatic television, programmatic audio. As more and more devices become ‘connected’, we’re developing opportunities to transact on those mediums in the same manner that we see in online advertising.”


While programmatic ad buying is certainly a big subject to tackle, getting a grasp on the basics is a great place to start. If you’re looking to the future of digital advertising, programmatic know-how is a must!

Thanks again to Brandon and Eyereturn for your help with this post!

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