Looking for ways to better target their audiences, marketers are rapidly embracing programmatic ad buying tools. In fact, the number of marketers using automated ad buying systems to buy ads has more than doubled over the past two years, according to a new survey from the Association of National Advertisers conducted by Forrester.
The research also found that 79 percent of advertisers have made programmatic ad buys over the past year, up from 35 percent in 2014. eMarketer estimates that programmatic ad spending will increase by 39.7 percent this year to $21.55 billion in the US alone.
Despite the fact that 70 percent of marketers are concerned about the fraud involved in programmatic ads, advertisers continue to adopt the channel. Fraud is one of the major issues affecting programmatic. According to the ANA, marketers wasted about $7 billion last year on online ads that were delivered to bots. Advertisers are also concerned about the lack of transparency and how much an ad actually costs when it is being purchased through these automated systems.
In order to gain transparency and fight fraud, some marketers are bringing their programmatic systems in house. In fact, 31 percent of the companies surveyed by ANA have expanded their own trading desks to have better control. While bringing programmatic in-house may sound appealing, it can be cumbersome at best and chaotic at worst. Brands that want to take control of the reigns need to capture a ton of data.
An in-house approach requires large scale and a significant amount of data to strategize and execute. Big companies like P&G and Ford may have the resources to pull this off, but most advertisers don’t have the backing for this approach to make sense. And even if they do have these assets, companies must hire employees with the right skill set to deal with different DSPs and train in-house staffers on how to put this data to use. This can prove to be a big hassle and may not be as effective as simply working with a vendor or agency.
In reality, many marketing and sales teams are trying to navigate the vast amount of technology tools they use and are not prepared to take on running a DSP. Often times, marketing and sales are working in silos using different vendor platforms altogether and not sharing data across the company. This issue leads to a lack of focused insights at the customer level. For B2B marketers who are more focused on relationship marketing than B2C marketers, this can be quite embarrassing. If a sales person has spent time nurturing a relationship, that prospect isn’t going to appreciate getting a random message not targeted to their specific needs.
B2B marketers can benefit by integrating departments and technology systems in order to process data into actionable intelligence. In addition, instead of relying on personas, B2B marketers should take advantage of the data to do hyper-segmentation. This allows marketers to use all of their customer data in order to identify problems that can be solved for smaller groups of customers.
As programmatic gains ground across the media business, it’s also time that all players begin to learn how to use the new tool sets. This fundamental shift in media trading will require a new approach to media planning and buying. Just as identifying and targeting desired audiences is at the center of the programmatic discussion, so too should be the role of the programmatic expert. These people are able to stay on top of the technology and help apply it to your in-house objectives.
Programmatic has the potential to transform ad buying for the best, but you’ve got to have the right people and strategies at the wheel.