It’s hard to ignore the enthusiasm for programmatic display advertising—an automated, technology-driven method of buying and selling digital display ads—which seems to be on everyone’s roadmaps. Initially, the industry focused on real-time bidding and its impression-level, auction-based buying function. But as more brand dollars move to digital, both publishers and media buyers look to programmatic technology to lock in advertising agreements in advance, bypassing traditional direct sales channels, according to a new eMarketer report, “Programmatic Guaranteed: Meaningful Momentum, Despite Murky Industry Definitions.”
Known as “programmatic guaranteed” or “programmatic reserved” for the ability to secure upfront commitments to both price and amount of inventory, this branch of programmatic direct is gaining significant traction among publishers and media buyers looking to automate the often lengthy insertion order (IO) process and bring greater audience insight to their premium ad buys.
Publishers recognize the benefits of using programmatic to bring much-needed efficiency to their own sales process and provide a richer, smarter advertising experience to buyers.
In a February 2013 survey from Digiday and OpenX, the greatest portion of publishers in North America (68%) agreed that programmatic had the ability to improve on the cumbersome, lengthy IO process. Other benefits of programmatic to the sales process cited by respondents included billing and reconciliation (60%), optimization (59%) and trafficking (52%).
Though publishers and media buyers are enthusiastic about automating the sales process, the parties have different perceptions about the value of bringing audience data into the programmatic equation. Just 67% of publishers in the study noted the ability to overlay audience data as a leading requirement. Yet if buyers were surveyed, a much larger percentage would surely demand such functionality.
For media buyers engaging with dozens of publishers and platforms, the power to automate the IO process is important. But for buyers, the true value of programmatic guaranteed comes from the ability to marry that audience insight and intelligence with premium inventory.
In a September 2013 survey of US executive marketers conducted by Winterberry Group and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 91% planned to use some form of audience segmentation in their programmatic efforts during the next two years. Further, automating the purchasing process was important to 79% of respondents.
For audience segmentation, most buyers rely on either first- or third-party behavioral data. In the Winterberry Group/IAB study, 78% of US executive marketers said first-party behavioral data was the most essential data type for supporting programmatic approaches, followed by third-party behavioral data, cited by 66% of respondents.
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