A DC Advertising Agency Discusses Programmatic Media: Creepy, yet effective.

When talking about trends in advertising it is almost impossible to avoid the topic of Programmatic Marketing. At first I was pretty stumped on what exactly ‘Programmatic’ even meant. I spent hours online trying to understand programmatic and real-time bidding (RTB) while I was actually being targeting by both all along. That’s right, programmatic marketing got to me before I got to the bottom of it… weird right? 

To make things simple, here’s what happened.

I let a friend borrow my laptop while they were at my house without knowing what websites they were visiting. Within the next week almost everything on my Facebook page was furniture-related. One site was trying to sell me beds another was selling me couches. I noticed this change because it was different from what I normally see on my newsfeed. As it turns out, of course, my friend was moving and used my computer to browse new furniture.  

This is a solid example of real-time bidding. Back in the day, lets call it pre-programmatic, everyone who logged onto a website saw the same advertising. A company who sold surfboards would be advertising to not only people on the coast but people who didn’t even live within 1,000 miles of a beach. In other words, the company was throwing money away by advertising to those not so potential customers.

Brilliant right? Not completely. Programmatic is known to have both pros as well as cons. 

The Pros are pretty obvious. You are reaching a very specific target audience. You also have much more creative control, you can know in an instant what is working and what isn’t. You also lower your cost-per-thousand (CMP) since programmatic buying is often less expensive than direct publisher buys. 

The Cons. You are not always going to know exactly who you are marketing to, so it’s harder to keep track of how effective your advertisements actually are. As is the case with most digital marketing, Ad fraud is quite common with programmatic. Also, such as in my example, you may not always be targeting the right people, such as in multi family homes or offices with single computers.

Though programmatic is not always the answer I believe we can learn a lot from the CONCEPT of programmatic marketing. Don’t try to sell your product or your brand to someone who has no need for it! Figure out sites that your potential clients are most likely to visit, and start from there. 


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