There are a lot of questions about the use and effectiveness of programmatic media buying in the digital space. Concerns range from viewability, brand safety, effectiveness and ROI, see the chart below from MarketingCharts.com. The issue between programmatic media buying vs traditional media buying starts to be more clear.
Top Concerns and How They’re Related
Showing a positive ROI on advertising dollars without being placed on targeted, quality content is next to impossible. Planning, or the strategy behind media placement, is crucial to executing an effective marketing campaign (digital or traditional). Relying on software to know your business, know your customers, know a group of potential customers that you want to gain, isn’t an ideal practice for placing your media.
To be clear strategy and planning are two very different things. Strategy (not to be confused with tactics) requires more thought about the process of media buying and it’s effectiveness. Media planning is the process of exercising the ‘devil out of the details’. In a recent eMarketer report (New US Programmatic Ad Spending Figures), they published that “4 out 5 display ads will flow via automated means”.
This is why we believe there is a battle between programmatic media buying and traditional media buying. One of the issues marketers have is programmatic transparency and cost when dealing with media buying agencies and advertising agencies. Nearly all the revenue comes from purchasing ad space for digital and traditional media agencies. Advertising and marketing agencies have the largest margins when purchasing ad space using both traditional and digital media for clients. What this means is they want to do things simple and at a lower cost. Programmatic achieves that. Additionally, old advertising mentalities believe in gauging success by the number of impressions rather than its effectiveness. With programmatic media buying, you can show a large number of impressions.
Engagement not Impressions
Think about traditional media buying in terms of the classic lead funnel. Running ads for the sake of gaining impressions is not going to work in the long run. You might get a quick bump in traffic or an increase in brand recognition but its definitely not a long-term solution. New campaigns must be planned for a specific target, device and match the landing page with clear calls of action. Every step of the media plan has to be thought through, tracked, tested and optimized for improvement. Programmatic and AI are not there yet, and most likely won’t be for some time. To ensure you have a good ROI, viewability and brand safety on premium content, you need to have a personal touch; humans making adjustments using data.
There is an art and science to placing and managing media campaigns. It can’t be loading up ads in a real-time bidding platform or a private marketingplace (PMP) network and send them to a page that isn’t tested. In the end, programmatic is a symptom of trying to cut costs. It’s not a cure for more effectively spending ad dollars. Without proper planning and strategy, you won’t be effective at converting customers and acquiring leads.