Programmatic marketing: What, why, how

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It’s one of the biggest buzz terms of the moment, with many advertising experts claiming brands really need to be thinking of when, not if, they are going to get involved.

But what exactly is programmatic marketing, why should you jump on the bandwagon, and how do you get started? We’ve answered all three questions below to give you the lowdown on this emerging form of targeting.
 

What

First up let’s look at what programmatic isn’t, and that’s niche. Accounting for just 28% of marketing spend in 2013, some predict it will hit more than 80% of total budget outlay by next summer.
Those are some numbers, but it still doesn’t really address the question. Cutting to the chase, then, programmatic marketing involves targeting specific demographics digitally, based on attributes like age, gender, class and social standing, interests, and location. By using algorithms, software will automatically buy media space online which is best suited to expose a brand to the target audience it wants. This is done in real time via a process of auto-bidding- simply tell the software what you want and it will ensure your ads are positioned in the right places to be seen by the right people. Simple (sort of).
 

Why

Needless to say, programmatic marketing, advertising, and buying is highly targeted, so the why really boils down to one basic truth- this is the fastest, most effective, and efficient way of putting your company ads in front of the most relevant audience to your product or service.
This is achieved because rather than buying space on specific sites, you are buying space for advertising and marketing based on very specific types of people. So, whereas human media buyers would more than likely stick to related sites, by using programmatic methods you can target sites that may be popular with your chosen demographic, but don’t actually involve your specific sector. For B2B brands this is particularly useful, as customers won’t always be reading business-relevant sites in their free time, but it also aids consumer firms- just because someone likes gin doesn’t mean they don’t also read movie reviews.
 

How

OK, now for the important bit- how to take the first steps to programmatic success. According to hyperlocal business website Street Fight, there are several recommended ad buying platforms that make programmatic easy for small and medium sized businesses.
ReTargeter is one of the simplest, and allows you to easily target demographics and locations, with options to extend this beyond the web and onto Facebook. PocketMath is best for managers who want full control over their campaigns, in real time- allowing changes to be made instantly in terms of who they are targeting, it also requires people create and optimise their own ads to be used on the platform.
Visibl is a well known alternative that specialises in programmatic video ads, and buys space on major websites only. And, finally, Zypmedia is aimed squarely at local and regional media outlets, allowing brands access to space on relevant websites and even mobile apps that offer advertising opportunities.