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“Programmatic Buying Strikes Back” (or “the one about its superpowers”)

After, hopefully, revealing several key clues regarding the true identity of Programmatic Buying, it’s now time to learn more about it. We’ll discuss its superpowers and more importantly the effects they have throughout the Digital Advertising ecosystem.

By Elias Gagas, Executive Director, TailWind

(If you missed Part 1 of this super hero story, click here)

So, what does Programmatic Buying bring for Publishers offering their valuable content online in exchange (pun intended) for advertiser euros?

-IT DOESN’T REPLACE TRADITIONAL TRADING METHODS, NOR DOES IT RENDER SALES FORCES OBSOLETE! By any account, Programmatic Buying will be a part of the overall Digital Advertising Ecosystem. Ad hoc deals, Highly Creative bespoke formats, native Advertising are here to stay. If anything, Programmatic Buying will free up time & provide tools for people to come up with more creative uses of Digital Media.

-It opens up new opportunities for demand both in global as well local scale. This, in addition with better mechanisms to optimize yield, can lead to increased revenues (e.g. monetize inventory in markets outside the core geography of a property).

-Packaging content with 1st party data and creating precise audience segments provides an excellent mechanism to increase the – impression specific – value per advertiser (Yes, that means higher CPMs).

-It also opens up the doors for consortia of local publishers to emerge, combine their Inventory & Data strengths and create the necessary scale to compete against the international media giants.

Efficiencies in time & effort spent for deals which can be automated. More time for the sales teams to go after the more expensive & time consuming Premium deals.

-Programmatic Buying big technology providers have emerged – publishers don’t need to deal with building up technology stack & functionality – they can instead focus on building their competitive advantages.



Let’s now examine how the other end of this coin – Brands & their Advertising Agencies trying to connect with prospective customers – is affected:

-AGENCY MEDIA STRATEGISTS & BUYERS ARE STILL VERY MUCH RELEVANT! To a large extend even more so than before, since Programmatic Buying allows them to focus on dealing with the core questions each campaign must tackle and possibly participate in the creative process as well.

Access to more inventory on a local & global scale, which means more selection and potentially better prices. Keep in mind though that this larger “buffet” must be enriched with data to deliver on its premise of lower costs & increased results, leading to an overall better ROI.

Efficiencies in time – reduce the time spent on workflow facilitation, concentrate on creativity. A recent study by Boston Consulting Group suggests time saved can be more than a third of what we currently attribute to mundane, repeating & no value contributing tasks.

-Real time trading in conjunction with the use of Data (1st & 2rd party) allows advertisers to pay the proper value for each impression / customer / set of eyes according to the relevance it has to each campaign. This combination gives rise to new solutions & services such as Retargeting & Behavioral Advertising. Under this scheme one buys relevant Audiences instead of mere Inventory, the end result being -wait for it- more effective campaigns. (hence, for instance, the higher ROI figures in retargeting campaigns)

-The automation & digitization of the entire campaign also holds the promise of better & consolidated reporting across channels and the production of better insights as well as quantifiable results. However Programmatic Buying is just a step in this process, albeit an important one.

4 thoughts to keep in mind

After, hopefully, putting some structure behind what Programmatic Buying is and appeasing fears regarding what it brings, it’s time to leave us all with some thoughts:

1. You must be aware of Programmatic Buying’s existence. You can’t afford to let it pass you by. By all accounts it’s on the rise (quite fast – triple digit figures) and it will be reaching critical mass (>25% of Display) within the next few years worldwide.

Chart: RTB Sales Year on Year Growth Forecast


2. Programmatic Buying is a paradigm shift heavily relying on multiple technologies (RTB, Big Data, SSP, DSP, DMP to name but a few). As such, it can be quite tricky to fully grasp and understand how it should be incorporated in your business model. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – Select the right partner to navigate these uncharted waters!

3.Programmatic Buying offers a great opportunity to revisit your core business model(s). With the help of your internal team experts and/or the aforementioned partner try to see how it can assist / enhance / change / disrupt your existing practices. The end result must be a way forward that adds value to your core offering. Since automation is at the epicenter of Programmatic Buying, time should be saved from everyday chores – this doesn’t mean less people, it just means more time for people to unleash their creativity!

4.Participate!!! You shouldn’t change everything at once, but you must be a conscious & active player in this new era. It’s no coincidence that one of Facebook’s major new product launches & strategic moves last year was the introduction of the Facebook Exchange (FBX), which is delivering impressive results.

So, remember: Programmatic Buying  is indeed your Super Hero buddy when given the right job to do! Intriguing, right?


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