Programmatic buying, simply put, is an effective way to target and market to your ideal customer using online display advertising. This is achieved through utilising what you know about your ideal customer and using technology to automate and optimise the ad buying process in real time.

These audience focussed factors can encompass segments from demographics (such as age, gender, and location), giving you the capabilities to limit the ads to certain times of day and frequency and even select which publishers you want your ads to show on.

Programmatic ad buying changes the way that businesses approach new potential customers by emphasising a focus on audience buying as they move through different websites, as opposed to site buying.

How does it work?

Programmatic media buying, marketing, and advertising is the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. During this process, software is used to automate the buying, placement, and optimisation of media inventory via a bidding system.

Automating the process means that it can be done in real time and doesn’t rely on the human touch cutting down on human error and manual insertions, allowing you to tailor a specific message and type of creative to the right person, at the right time, in the right context, and should remove any mundane tasks and that could come with ad buying and spending.

Why is it so valuable?

This is a valuable form of digital marketing because you no longer need to agree to run a certain number of ads with a publisher and get locked in to a contract dictating the ad sizes, placements, and impressions (as with traditional third-party buying) but rather pay for highly effective ads, delivered to the right audience on premium networks you have hand-selected, making this a fast-paced and effective form of digital marketing.

This type of methodology should deliver far more precision and personalisation of messaging and media, resulting in more efficiently targeted campaigns, and less 'spray and pray' methodology of digital advertising – which is less targeted and generally based on sheer volume of viewers seeing your ads.

Here are some of the true value propositions that programmatic buying offers you that most display networks won't:
  • Targeting options – reach and hone in on your ideal customer based on the data you collect and things you know about them, such as their demographics or interests. You can even target an audience that you know are in-market to purchase your products or services;
  • Scalability to your needs – programmatic buying lets you reach a vast amount of people all over the Internet, where ever they go, through the power of remarketing. It allows you to purchase any inventory available on the Internet across a multitude of websites;
  • Flexibility in real-time – adjustments and tweaks can be made on the fly as you learn more about your audience;
  • Efficiency – it is fast and cost-effective. Due to the targeting options available, you can drastically reduce wasted media on the wrong target audience while making good use of your marketing spend; and
  • Automated – the automated process reduces tedious tasks including manual requests for proposals and separate insertion orders.

Achieving better results

Like with many digital advertising trends, programmatic buying has already evolved and is an essential tool in digital marketing. It has become the preferred form of advertising – especially when it comes to display.

Consumers want messages that are personalised and adjusted to their needs, behaviour, and context. Programmatic buying ensures exactly that and is also the most cost-efficient way to deliver personalised content to the target audience.

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