The Evolution of Media Buying: Why Programmatic is the Next Big Thing

July  25,  2014 / By Trisha Pena

From the belly of the paid media world there has been a substantial amount of talk regarding the latest emerging media buying trend – programmatic. Chances are you’ve heard all the rumblings from major players in the space but in addition to all of the excitement over the latest technology comes a lot of confusion.  You’re not alone.  Programmatic has become a buzzword that many specialists use but few actually fully understand and we’re here to help explain this new development in the media buying process.

Let’s start with the basics: What is programmatic and why is it important?  The term “programmatic” simply means automated; it covers a wide range of technologies that have begun automating the buying, placement and optimization of advertising.  What does that mean?  Think of it like this: These technologies have replaced human-based methods and now allow advertisers to buy ads the same way they purchase something on Amazon.  Simply put, advertisers can spend less time and resources on the media buying process.

So, what are the benefits?  The development of programmatic is a fundamental shift in not just how media is bought, but in how technology has transcended in order to help brands more effectively engage with consumers.  Previous technological advancements in the space typically dealt with cross-device targeting methods, data collection and retargeting enhancements; but this latest trend hits at the root of the delivery process, which will help save money by using data points to help make better decisions.  Another perk?  Through automation, the transactions become more efficient and cut out the tedious busy-work of spreadsheets, insertion orders and other paperwork.  It’s all about creating a more relationship-focused environment for companies, leaving automated technologies to handle the data-heavy tasks to produce more human interaction.

Are we telling you programmatic buying is the way to go? Should you believe all the hype about how it’s going to change the landscape?  Yes and no.  While 100% of buying won’t be done programmatically due to specific content strategies, a majority of media buying can be automated.  Even if you don’t plan on shifting to programmatic just yet, it’s still important to be aware of the process.  A main challenge for the success of automated buying is merely advertisers aren’t educated enough to fully comprehend its value or what it means.  The industry also needs to be able to understand complex issues like cross-device targeting, with consumers migrating from smartphone to tablet to desktop.

Although there are still details that need to be ironed out, one thing is for certain: Programmatic buying is here to stay.

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