Don’t let programmatic be problematic.

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Author: Coordinate

Don’t let programmatic be problematic. Coordinate’s resident expert Jess Buskemolen explains the way forward in advertising.

It used to be so simple to sell something. You placed an ad for your product in a specific medium—newspapers, radio or TV.

But these days advertising is a complex science—and finding a place for your ads requires algorithms, software and artificial intelligence making bids for online ad space within the millisecond.

Coordinate’s Group Media Director Jess Buskermolen has watched the rise and rise of programmatic advertising, always staying one step ahead in order to advise clients on the brave new world of ad tech.

Jess, can you take us through it? Slowly…

Programmatic advertising is basically an automated process of buying and selling digital ad inventory through an ad exchange, essentially connecting advertisers and publishers. It does this using algorithmic software and artificial intelligence. Programmatic advertising adds layers of traffic data and online targeting methods to buy placement more accurately, efficiently and at scale focusing on delivering ads to the intended audience over a final impression destination.

Programmatic advertising was once thought of as purely digital display (Mrecs and alike) and in some cases, the ‘left overs’ with limited or no premium space or formats. This is certainly not the case now with available inventory now spanning across so many more channels and formats allow programmatic traders to buy almost anything digitally; DOOH (Digital-Out-of-Home), Audio/Radio, Video/TV, Native, social, rich media and of course standard display.

How did you come to be working in this space?

I’ve been in the media game for almost 18 years, and boy have I seen some change during that time! I joined the Coordinate team just over six years ago inspired by Coordinate’s rather progressive and motivational leader, Jamie Wilson.

Originally, media was a smaller component of what we did as an agency. To be honest, we were creatively led. Over the past six years our media offering has gone from being solely managed (and mostly outsourced) by me, to expanding and building a team of brilliant media-minded people specialising in all areas from digital and social to the traditionally offline. We now run all our client campaign activity in-house including via our own programmatic trading desk giving us complete control, autonomy, and transparency. What we offer now is integration. Our experienced media team combine with other areas of our business to react to performance and trends.

OK, you sound like you know what you’re doing, but can you break it down for me just one more time, perhaps in dot form?

Of course!

  • A user/person clicks on a website (or page therein)
  • The website owner puts the ad impression available on that page/site up for auction (Supply Side Platform known as SSP)
  • The advertiser places a bid for the as impression (Demand Side Platform know as DSP)
  • The highest bidder wins the ad impression
  • The ad is served
  • The user clicks on the ad and converts as a click though to the ad destination URL

Why is programmatic so pervasive and powerful?

Global trends around marketing expenditure speak volumes. Savvy marketers are not going to spend on channels that are not delivering results. The programmatic category is seeing exponential year-on-year growth with a 20 per cent increase from 2020 to 2021 alone. This trend is certainly reflected through our agency too, seeing the proportions of media spend allocated to programmatic increasing rapidly.

What are ways to exploit programmatic advertising for the best results?

Tech, data, skill, and understanding. To run the most effective programmatic campaign you first need access to the right platforms. You need a solid understand of your target audience and your campaign’s objectives. You need to understand how and where programmatic advertising fits within the advertiser’s broader marketing efforts (this is where all the consumer journey mapping comes into play). You need the data to meet the targeting requirements. Easy, right?

How do you explain it to clients?

This can be a real challenge due to the complexity of how it works and the individual solutions built for each client being so varied. I think my advantage is that I’m not a tech person, per se. Of course, I understand the fundamentals of how it works but I explain in direct context how our tailored programmatic solution will lead to client outcomes. I know the area really well and I find that I have a good success rate in translating it for our clients so they can use it to their best advantage!