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Maximising the potential of programmatic advertising

23rd May 2016
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Programmatic advertising, being the latest trend in marketing, attracts a lot of attention and raises the question of what benefits it brings to the industry. I’ve already discovered that programmatic advertising is great. It’s one of the most sophisticated ways to attract attention of your target audience in real-time – it’s the future. It truly has the capacity to protect your media spend and drive efficiency. 

Given the potential of programmatic advertising, it can be easy to get carried away and assume it’s going to solve all your marketing issues. But programmatic is just another method of reaching out to existing and potential customers. To be fully equipped to conduct a successful campaign, you need a combination of an effective channel and reliable data.  

A lot has been written about an explosion of data caused by the increasing adoption of mobile devices in the last years. My colleague Tom Blacksell recently wrote about the phenomenon of ‘infobesity’ – brands drowning in data yet remaining hungry for knowledge and more information. The problem exists in businesses struggling to get to grips and make sense of all that online data. 

The tsunami of information can be dangerous and encourage businesses to rely on first and second party data based solely on digital behaviour. What’s the danger, you may ask? Well, the fact there is an abundance of digital data doesn’t mean it is telling you a complete story. To paint a full picture of your customer, you need the narrative around that person: you need to combine offline insights with online.   

Coming back to programmatic advertising, regardless of whether you’re running an acquisition campaign, retention campaign or reactivation campaign, without the right data to rely on the campaign simply won’t be as effective as it could be. To be able to plan and execute a successful programmatic advertising campaign, it’s necessary to accept that programmatic is only one facet, one piece of the puzzle. In order to build intelligent customer journeys marketers need to discover more about their customers than they can get online: they need to understand the context around those individuals that provides insight into who they are and how they live their lives. 

My advice would be that when you’re choosing which DMP or ad-serving platform to put your money and valuable data into, you need to make sure that platform is capable of utilising all the first, second and third party data that is available.   

Programmatic advertising, with its ability to enable marketers to pinpoint specific user types to show ads to in real-time, is a real asset for marketers. It’s a great channel to deliver relevant experiences to your customers but to achieve its full potential you need the right data to lay the foundation. I would compare programmatic to a powerful tool and the data to its battery. While programmatic offers marketers numerous benefits, it is only as powerful as the data you plug into it.

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