It was not long ago that programmatic technology was used by advertisers to snap up remnant ad space that no one else wanted. This inventory was considered to be secondary to the premium ads that agencies were buying directly from publishers through person-to-person sales calls. The terms “premium” and “remnant” did an adequate job of describing what advertisers thought of the quality of this ad space.
Flash forward a few years and programmatic technology has evolved considerably. This technology now allows advertisers to specifically target individual customers at a high level, which often means fewer wasted or irrelevant ads. As such, the advertising industry is spending more of its overall budget on programmatic initiatives. One report from eMarketer predicts that by 2017, nearly one-third of total digital display spending will come down to real-time bidding and programmatic technology.
“EMarketer anticipates RTB ad spending will see healthy gains over the next few years, thanks to continued interest in improving the quality of digital display ad inventory, as well as continued adoption among publishers and media buyers seeking greater advertising efficiency,” the eMarketer report concluded.
On the publisher end, this has been a significant shift as it allows them more opportunities to sell ad space. Moreover, because programmatic technology allows for such highly targeted campaigns, it is not unusual for advertisers to see a better return on investment, which in turn leads to more advertiser interest. Publishers just need to do a better job of accommodating advertisers who wish to buy ad space through these platforms.
Getting the right people for the job
Because the use of programmatic technology is relatively new among firms – or at least, it is at the level many advertisers plan to be using it – another problem has cropped up: Many publishers dealing with this technology do not have the right talent in place to capitalize on programmatic opportunities.
As AdAge contributor Finn Faldi noted, many key publishers in the past year, ranging from the New York Times to the Washington Post, have hired top executives to fill the role of chief programmatic officers. This person is in charge of managing programmatic platforms to help advertisers get the best outcome possible with their campaigns. Although programmatic technology is largely automated at that point, publishers still need intelligent individuals behind the scenes to ensure things run smoothly.
According to Faldi, the CFO should have the capacity to do three things:
1. Help sales teams find the ideal targets for programmatic campaigns. Not all brands need to leverage programmatic technology and it is important that publishers’ partners understand this to get the most out of their campaigns.
2. Identify cross-channel opportunities. Real-time budgets can be spent anywhere from search to email advertising channels, and using the right mix is pivotal to success.
3. Crunch the data. Real-time campaigns generate a lot of data, it is crucial that companies make the best use of data possible to promote optimization.
Think for the future
Publishers are generally feeling more confident, thanks to greater interest from advertisers in digital ad campaigns. For example, one report from eMarketer found that 88 percent of publishers will see growth in revenue this year, with 62 percent attributing the revenue growth to a rise in digital ad sales. On top of that, fewer than one-quarter of publishers said they are relying on revenue from subscriptions.
With more dollars coming in from advertising, publishers will need the right people in place to help capitalize on these opportunities. A chief programmatic officer may be just what the doctor ordered.