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Lisa Ferranti

November 5, 2019

By 2021, digital ad spend is expected to represent a majority of all U.S. ad spending. (Source: eMarketer). And based on the fact that in 2018, 80% of U.S. digital marketing was done via programmatic advertising, it’s something that advertisers can’t afford not to understand. Programmatic levels the playing field for advertisers, offering great scalability and precise targetability to intended audiences, all at efficient pricing. Flexibility is another attribute programmatic delivers, with built-in real-time optimization and accountability.

Programmatic, put simply

With programmatic buying, all digital advertising is bought in an automated fashion on a multitude of sites vs. directly with publishers. This is accomplished through real-time auctions, and instead of the focus being on which websites digital advertising is running on, the focus is on the defined target audience that an advertiser is trying to reach, and finding them wherever they are online (in brand-safe environments, of course), not just on specific predetermined sites. An advertiser’s message will only be served to users who meet the criteria that defines the target audience. The target can be any group, the more specific the better, and it’s not just for B2C; B2B target audiences can be profiled and “found” via programmatic through digital marketing outside of traditional B2B channels, when they’re not wearing their professional “hats,” so to speak, and could perhaps be receptive to certain messaging.

Better, faster, smarter

Programmatic allows for efficiency in the process, but not at the sacrifice of effectiveness. Access to 1st and 3rd party data, plus online behavioral data, allows audiences to be targeted very precisely via digital channels. As consumers, it can sometimes feel a bit big brother-ish; in business, access to this data allows advertisers to get close to prospective clients and customers, delivering relevant messaging and content to people who, based on their data profiles, are identified as those who would be receptive to such messaging. And, thanks to data access and programmatic technology, it’s all happening virtually in real time. Plus, programmatic offers trackability and optimization, driving data back into campaigns and getting “smarter” and more efficient over time.

Jumping on the proliferation bandwagon

Programmatic buying has been commonplace for a while in channels such as display, video, mobile and social; it’s also now being incorporated into other digital delivery methods, including streaming audio and connected TV. And based on the latest eMarketer forecast about multi-screen viewing, which estimates that 180.8 million U.S. adults will be two-screen viewers in 2019—meaning that 70.1% of the adult population will use a computer or mobile device to browse online while watching either digital video or traditional TV—it will become more and more critical for advertisers to tap into data and programmatic buying to connect with their audiences, with integrated campaigns, in multiple places. Multi-screen viewing is another trend to pay close attention to, but, speaking of multi-viewing, I can feel your attention beginning to splinter as you read, so we’ll save that topic for another post, another day.

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