Unleashing The Power Of Programmatic Advertising Needs The Right Art, Science
by Tim Waddell , Op-Ed Contributor, June 1, 2017
Programmatic advertising emerged as an automated way to buy and sell ad inventory through exchanges that connect advertisers to publishers. The exchanges started with search, but today they cover all channels ranging from display, social, and mobile to television, radio and out-of-home.
As the ability to target audiences via programmatic became more apparent, marketers enthusiastically adopted it. In 2016, U.S. programmatic digital display ad spend alone was estimated to reach $22.10 billion, according to eMarketer. That’s a jump of nearly 40% during the previous year, and represents 67% of all U.S. digital display ad spend.
One factor driving the success of programmatic is the ability to select the audience you think will be most interested in your ad, and then use dynamic creative to deliver an impression designed specifically for them.
Art And Science Need To Come Together
The analytics and data management teams are often the instigators of data-driven advertising. They’re the experts at looking at data and creating core audience segments. However, in order to drive business results from digital efforts, they need to disseminate that data to other teams.
Planning is a continual process –– with feedback loops between data and creative. Marketers, designers, and copywriters must remain true to their creative vision, but be flexible enough to react to data and adapt in real-time.
Gathering insights from various data sources and uniting agencies and partners throughout the campaign process may lead to growing pains as you make changes to your process and organizational structure, but the end result is smarter, more effective advertising.
Programmatic Boosts Creative Efforts
Programmatic was initially known primarily as an easier, cheaper way to buy media. But now you need to support programmatic creative as well. The ability to compare creative performance in a real-time A/B test environment — and action those insights immediately — improves engagement and conversion performance.
Cost savings are a key advantage in programmatic, but marketers are more interested in a tool that empowers them to combine ad execution with the needs of the modern media environment. Key benefits of programmatic advertising include audience targeting, managing and optimizing multichannel campaigns in real-time, and reaching consumers across their purchasing journeys.
Use Both Sides Of Your Brain
In today’s age of smart data, with predictive analytics and real-time personalization, marketing has moved from a right-brain profession to one that encompasses both sides. The key is to take the plethora of data at your disposal and find the meaning needed to build a complete picture of each customer.
Creatives have always wanted to know more about their customers –– but without data, creative insights often come only from intuition. Today, great campaigns are fueled by ideas, data, emotion and information. Some argue that programmatic advertising leaves little room for creativity, but the human element remains essential. The best advertising has always been simple: great imagery that elicits an emotional connection, a few pointed words or a tagline to tell the story, and a strong call to action.
Retarget Customers Who Already Know You
Once you can mass-produce ads, you still need to quickly test and optimize the creative components to improve campaign performance.
Usually a customer stops by your site and one of three things happens: they don’t buy anything, they place something in a shopping cart but abandon it, or they buy only an entry-level product. Retargeting is highly effective and a no-brainer source of quick revenue. On other Web and social sites, you serve ads with products that customers viewed, or even put in their carts on other sites previously. Or sometimes you will up-sell and show them premium products you think they’d like.
In addition to retargeting, you want to acquire customers who have never visited your site — but you may know little or nothing about them. You can use your audience or data management platform to find people who look like the customers you already have and create segments based on their attributes. For example, one segment could be high-income luxury vacationers or value-focused families with children.
Data Will Help You Become A Better Creative Person
Programmatic advertising brings order to the chaos of holding relevant, one-to-one conversations with millions of customers and prospects. But for creatives, producing ads to feed the machine can feel like slicing and dicing the big idea.
Although some creatives see the modular, data-driven approach as an affront to their art, programmatic is just getting started. The goal should be to maintain a high level of creativity, but to use technology to automate the execution and provide valuable learnings in real-time.
By merging insightful data with imaginative design and copy, you can pull new audiences into your brand story. With programmatic advertising capabilities, you can manage technology, grow channels, analyze customer data, develop creative, and effectively reach audiences.