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Colin Grieves General Manager Experian

Is Programmatic Advertising the Future of Digital Advertising?

We are often asked for our thoughts on the future of marketing – it’s a huge topic.

This is because digital marketing is constantly evolving and changing. This is especially relevant in the competitive and progressive world of digital advertising.

Well, our answer at the moment is quite straightforward because the next revelation is well and truly here. Programmatic Advertising.

You may have heard the term but do you know exactly what it entails?

Programmatic on its own normally means ‘automated’ or ‘run by machines’ –Programmatic Advertising, on the other hand, has more of a specific definition, meaning: ‘automated bidding across many types of ad space on many websites – simultaneously’.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

First off, a brief intro into the rapidly evolving world of digital advertising.Essentially you have brands which want to advertise and you have media publishers which have traffic and want brands to buy adverts on their websites. 

After that premise it comes down to all the ways the two sides can optimise the way adverts are bought and sold.

It’s in both parties’ interest to get these adverts working as well as possible. The brands want more leads and the publishers want brands to have successful campaigns so that they keep spending money. However, brands want to spend less while publishers want them to spend more – but to spend more they have to be successful. So what has evolved in the gap is a whole range of ad agencies, networks and brand representatives that specialise in optimising ad campaigns for both publishers and brands.

Programmatic advertising throws this on its head. It uses machines and algorithms to buy ads in real time. In the past when a specific type of customer appeared on a site, the adverts that were shown to that person were pre-determined – depending on who had bid what. But with programmatic advertising, an algorithm calculates the worth of an individual user in real time.  It will then calculate how much that user is worth to the brand and bid accordingly. It will bid again if it is outbid and continue to do so until the amount being spent on the bid is more than the estimated worth of that user.

In addition, messages can be tailored in real time to take advantage of specific events (sports tournaments, seasonal holidays and birthdays etc.), behaviours and specific times. This means different ads can be shown to different people depending on what is known about each user. Thereby tailoring the message to the individual. In real time.

What does Programmatic Advertising mean for marketers?

Programmatic advertising allows marketers to identify their highest-value customer segments, personalise the message and learn what works and what doesn’t extremely quickly.

Programmatic technology will play a huge role in the way marketing is performed. In all likelihood we will see a marked shift from a narrow focus on separate channels or audience segments towards a customer-centric view across all of them. This is because the emphasis will be on ‘knowing the customer’ – not ‘knowing the channel’.

Because of this the marketer’s role will continue to shift, leading to the need for skills that are more data driven.

Which brings us to the crux – Programmatic lies at the intersection of data and technology.  The technology is there but without the data it is powerless.

Which brings us to the crux – Programmatic lies at the intersection of data and technology.  The technology is there but without the data it is powerless.

Brands without clear insights into their audience will be unable to make the most of programmatic advertising as they will not be able to segment their best customers sufficiently. However, there is still plenty of time – as we have discussed, programmatic is the future – and it’s still possible for brands to make sure they are ready.

The first step is to take a look at your data, how you analyse your data and the quality of that data. From there you can start to think about taking the step into programmatic.