The rise of programmatic has been nothing short of meteoric.
The industry has grown from $2 billion in 2012 to nearly $33 billion today, and now accounts for four out of five digital ad dollars. It delivers more ads to more people than any other medium. Yet, along the way, it has sprung a few leaks.
There’s the great arms race with fraudsters who siphon off a whopping 20% of all ad spend each year. Then there’s the lack of transparency from walled-garden advertisers, which prevents brands from optimizing their efforts. And of course, there’s the fact that modern consumers increasingly tune out banner ads.
These impediments aren’t just the bane of brands’ budgets: they keep them from connecting with real people, which is, after all, their ultimate goal. But now, there’s a solution.
It’s a piece of technology so old, it predates ARPANet.
You may have heard of it—it’s called email, and it’s the future programmatic advertising.
Email is the new home page
“The home page has a new home—the inbox.”
Today’s attention-deficient consumers (much like myself) don’t have time for websites. Instead, we rely on publishers to filter the news avalanche through curated email newsletters. These newsletters have seen a renaissance over the past few years and increasingly mimic the design of publishers’ home pages. They feature condensed stories and don’t always drive traffic back to owned media sites because they are now an extension of the properties they represent. The home page has a new home—the inbox.
This makes newsletters a distinct channel—one that consumers flock to for shelter and where they actively choose to spend their precious attention. It’s an ideal environment for programmatic, and when it comes to ad-vantanges, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Email newsletters can deliver $44 for every dollar spent. – LiveIntent
4 big reasons why email is ideal for programmatic
1. Email is cross-device and offers incredible scale
Email is also deterministic and cross-device. An email typically belongs to just one person who uses it across all their devices—most frequently on their mobile phone, which people check an average of 150 times every day—and across applications within devices. This means that, unlike other tracking technologies such as cookies, emails are tied to a single, actual, living breathing person.
2. Email is a brand-safe, but open, garden
Email also makes fraud incredibly difficult. Unlike cookies, which are easily spoofed and subject to all manner of loopholes, email is a secure, logged-in environment. Users provide their credentials and often must opt to download images, additional steps that weed out fraudsters. Advertisers using programmatic in email can be certain that their ads and clicks are genuine.
This makes email an equal alternative to the walled-garden advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook. Both of these giants have logged-in environments where they can deliver advertising at a lower risk of fraud, but with one catch—they don’t share all of the data. Email provides all of the above, plus the data.
3. Email provides access to rich data
Data matters immensely in advertising, and email offers a veritable treasure trove. That’s because consumers use their emails for virtually everything, from signing up for supermarket rewards programs to subscribing to publisher sites and newsletters. And not only does the context of the subscriptions tell advertisers volumes about that person’s interests, it also allows them to intuit demographics and behaviors. And, because the advertising happens within emails that brands themselves send—a sort of owned media—they can report on everything.
For the first time, brands can gather data in a brand-safe environment to optimize their ad campaigns. Marketers can see engagement, tie individuals to signups or purchases, and supercharge their entire performance advertising operation. And the data doesn’t have to stay in email. Marketers who enrich their CRM data can just as easily upload these audiences back to the big two’s walled gardens for improved performance there as well.
4. Email users aren’t just engaged—they’re committed
Email is the ultimate antidote to banner blindness and ad fatigue because subscribers can be vastly different from web visitors. For one, there are barriers to becoming a subscriber. An individual must want a publisher’s content badly enough to explicitly request it—essentially asking the publisher to check in daily, weekly, or monthly. Then, when the newsletter arrives, that person carves time out of their day to consume it when they can actually focus—say, on the subway, upon reaching the office, or after work. While smaller than the limitless expanse of web visitors (half of whom are bots, it’s worth noting), newsletter audiences are extremely focused, opted-in, and primed to hear advertisers’ messages.
Email and programmatic: a match made in heaven
Pretty astonishing that a technology that’s been with us for decades is the answer to the bleeding-edge issues of online advertising, huh? Yet here we are.
For brands who are tired of fraud, lack of transparency, and the struggle to capture consumers’ attention, email is the great antitoxin. It’s a channel utilized by almost every internet user that’s entirely cross-channel and deterministic—each tied to a living, breathing, human being. Email connects the right brands to the right people and that, after all, is what advertising is supposed to be all about.
Want to learn more about programmatic email opportunities? Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org