We’re living in a very connected world these days. Think about it – from the moment our cell phone alarm chimes in the morning to the constant scrolling through social media during the day to the streaming TV shows we watch at night, we are always online. And though many of us only see the great videos, pretty websites, and informative content, you may not be aware of what’s going on behind your screen. Data collection is happening with every swipe of your screen. It’s pretty impressive, fascinating, and scary. Because yeah, Big Brother does watch you… or at least marketers like me do.

So what happens with all that data we collect? We deliver our message to you. And when I say “to you,” I truly mean TO YOU. Thanks to programmatic advertising.

What Is Programmatic Advertising?

In simplest terms, programmatic advertising is a machine delivering ads to a very targeted group of online consumers. Sounds like every other advertising channel out there, right? Well, yes and no. Let me break it down for you.

You may have an understanding of some digital methods marketers use to get their message to you, such as social media advertising and Google Ads. Through these methods, the advertiser has to make a bid so their ad can be shown to a targeted audience. But like eBay, the auction is a fickle beast, and you need someone to monitor these ads on a constant basis to make sure you stay within budget and you get a decent ROI.

Programmatic advertising is a similar concept but it takes out the human element and relies on the machine to handle the bidding process. It’s pretty complicated, so I’ll continue to keep it simple just so you have an idea.

Advertisers use an AI program to purchase ad slots on publishers’ websites. The machine will then use algorithms to evaluate the visitors on that platform based on the user’s behavior, geolocation, cookie data, and other information. Taking all that data, the machine will then determine what ad should be shown to which user.

Advertisers use something called a demand-side platform (DSP) to assist in the ad buying process and a data management platform (DMP) to add any third-party user data they may have to strengthen the targeting capabilities of the machine. On the other side of the coin, the publishers use a supply-side platform (SSP) to manage their ad inventories. So, when it comes time to show an ad, the SSP works with the DSP to determine what ads are shown to what user.

Still with me? I know I got really technical there so here’s all you really need to know.

You’re shopping for a pair of sneakers and went to a brand’s website to do some research before purchasing. You left the site without buying the sneakers and the brand is not happy about that. Through tracking data on the website, that brand now knows where you’re located, how you found the site in the first place, and what you were looking for on their site. The marketing team takes all that data, plugs it into the AI program, and generates an ad meant to drive you back to the brand’s site to buy those sneakers. So the next thing you know, that brand’s ad keeps popping up while you’re playing your favorite game on your phone or streaming a video on your television or while reading a really good article on this one website you frequent.

Makes you want to disconnect everything and become the next Henry David Thoreau, right? Before you do that, you should be aware of how effective programmatic advertising can be.

The Value of Programmatic Advertising

First, bravo on getting that Thoreau joke! If you didn’t, I’ll leave this right here.

And second, programmatic advertising is far from perfect. One of the major problems with programmatic ad buys is fraud. According to the Association of National Advertisers, in a poll of 317 US marketers, 37 percent of the respondents say that fraud is one of the worst aspects of programmatic advertising. And with no one monitoring those campaigns, how do you know for sure that your ad is being presented to a human being?

But as time progresses, it’s becoming more effective and is now being hailed as the future of digital advertising. Programmatic advertising is easy to scale, to target, and to convert in the most efficient manner possible. The ads are relatively cheap and can reach your target audience anywhere on the world wide web.

Ready to Try? We’re Ready to Help!

If you’re interested in learning more about programmatic ads and maybe want to take a test drive, we’re here to help! Just reach out and let’s talk!