James Brown, the general manager of digital advertising at Telegraph Media Group, blogs for LIVE@AdvertisingWeek about one of the week’s hot – but perhaps not fully understood – topics: programmatic advertising.
1) Non-guaranteed goes both ways
Programmatic trading is a computerised method of delivering standardised ad formats onto websites, where websites have made the space available to trade in this way.
This parallel marketplace operates on a non-guaranteed basis, so that each party can retain a degree of control without commitment. It is not currently possible to guarantee volume delivery from the one side or level of spend from the other because the systems in charge of those two objectives are separate from each other and serve very different masters.
There is therefore a renewed emphasis on the relationships between buyers and sellers and a new language to learn in order for it to operate smoothly. Most of the mechanics are however computerised, this enables both buyer and seller to have many more conversations than possible with traditional sales or buying teams and hence where opportunities can be found.
2) Research your requirements
Programmatic technology is not yet mature enough to be standardised.
From all angles, it is still nascent, but evolving at a rapid rate, and this means that there are no features, functions, tools, parameters or reports that “go without saying”. This makes it more important than ever to understand how you are going to use it and what your objectives are, before you go shopping for the tool that will suit your requirements.
3) Different rules for different tools
When processing a programmatic trade we are asking at least two (and up to four or five) different pieces of technology to co-operate in order for the ad to get onto the page successfully.
Each of these systems will have its own language and its own rules for ad quality, brand safety, geo-targeting, advertiser classification, etc etc.
In order to ensure the maximum amount of well placed ads make it through this network of pipes you need to understand every step along the way, not just your own.
4) Understand your audience
There are many possible combinations of strategies to apply in the programmatic market, just as there are many different ways to trade via traditional channels.
Just as in traditional channels it is vital to know your own position in the market, this will enable you to develop a coherent approach that enables you to explore the opportunities this space brings whilst minimising any risk to your existing business.
5) Programmatic does not mean automatic
Relationships are important. For all the reasons above and many more, it is important to understand that ‘programmatic’ trading is not ‘automatic’ trading.
It can not run smoothly without teams monitoring, optimising, policing, mastering and evangelising the channel and the technology. The traditional buyer / seller ‘relationship’ is as crucial as ever to ensure not only both parties are able to trade seamlessly, but also to ensure we maximise the exciting opportunities this space provides.