Programmatic can be enigmatic – not because it’s difficult to execute, but because there’s a lot of wrong information out there. But if advertisers truly understand the ins and outs of this format, they can better use it to engage loyal audiences and build new ones.
That’s why we’re debunking four common misconceptions about programmatic, with insights from experts at LinkedIn, IBM, Flipboard, and LiveIntent.
Myth #1: You can’t access your own data.
Depending on the platform you use, you may not own the data generated from your programmatic advertising. But you can still access and control a range of metrics that will help you optimize your spend and understand your audience.
“For me, the assertion that advertisers are losing control of their data in this rapidly maturing industry is an outdated concept,” says Matthew Hogg, head of programmatic sales at LinkedIn. “For every major brand, particularly in LinkedIn’s core market of B2B advertisers, marketing teams are investing to gain a holistic view of their customers and prospects, and are now able to see the full impact those campaign dollars are delivering.”
He does note that programmatic has become more transparent as it’s evolved. In the first wave, for example, advertisers could buy a certain category of impressions, but they wouldn’t know which sites their ads actually ran on. In the next wave, new technologies like artificial intelligence allowed advertisers to more efficiently target people, but they still didn’t know how they were achieving those results.
Now, we’re in an age of programmatic where advertisers can effectively target audiences and access the data they need every step of the way.
“Buying automation gives them the ability to execute campaigns and distribute messaging at huge scale with greater efficiency,” Hogg adds. “More importantly, they are in full control of their own data and are able to constantly enrich their understanding of their customers.”
Myth #2: All programmatic is real-time advertising.
Real-time advertising automates the bidding process, taking the manual work out of buying ads on the spot. It’s an important part of programmatic advertising, but it’s not the only way to buy these ads.
“Programmatic is much more than real-time bidding,” says Felix Zeng, head of programmatic demand at IBM Watson Advertising. “To start, publishers can offer private marketplaces (PMPs), which provide a more premium access point to buyers from the real-time bidding in the open exchange.”
Zeng also points to programmatic guarantee page takeovers, which are not bought on a real-time basis. This model allows buyers and publishers to sync up their data and find common target audiences through cookie matching. It’s guaranteed because they agree on a fixed price beforehand.
“Real-time bidding is a tool used at the end of a process,” Zeng adds. “People still buy from people to start the process. You need a seller to explain how to use a publisher’s inventory, data, and technology to best achieve a buyer’s KPIs.”
Myth #3: Programmatic advertising is only available on the web.
Programmatic is not just available on the web, but within email, and offers the best of both worlds: It combines the personalized nature of email, allowing brands to get in front of engaged audiences, with the ease of automatic ad buying.
And for publishers looking to drive incremental revenue, programmatic advertising within email newsletters does just that.
“If I’m a buyer, I’m able to buy the right media at the right place at the right time for that one given user,” says Adam Pyett, manager of programmatic at LiveIntent. “And that media is most efficient when it’s delivered in a people-based marketing vehicle, which is email.”
Email marketers just need the right tools to make it happen.
“I talk to many different media companies and media buyers across the US, and they’re all looking for a virtually fraud-free, 100% cross-device, deterministic ad environment,” Pyett adds. “That’s what we’re able to extend to our buyers in a vehicle that was developed to communicate one-on-one.”
Myth #4: Programmatic and native advertising clash.
Programmatic ads and native content can work together to deliver more personalized and intuitive experiences for readers.
Consider native ads on Flipboard, a news app and “personal magazine” that’s customized to each user’s interests. They fit seamlessly into the content provided by publishers and media partners. And those native ads make up 25% of all programmatic buys on the platform.
“To do this, we collect a standard set of brand assets and then deliver those in a native, story-driven format,” says Nicole McCormack, SVP of revenue strategy & operations at Flipboard. “It’s a win/win for consumers and brands – allowing brands to leverage the scale and technological capabilities of programmatic while delivering content that complements the user experience.”