What Is Programmatic Advertising And Is It The Future?

I am by nature a very curious person especially when it comes to the world of marketing, advertising and branding. Be it the latest mobile technology or the newest social media platform or whatever, I am usually instantly drawn and my curiosity piqued.

So when I heard about “programmatic advertising” I knew I wanted to learn more. As I began to delve into it, I learned of some very interesting statistics related to it and specifically real time bidding (RTB). According to the IDC, “spending on real time-bidded display advertising will accelerate at a 59% compound annual growth rate through 2016, making in the fastest growing segment of digital advertising over the next few years.” programmatic adv

I am surely no math major but it doesn’t take an Al Einstein to know that anything that’s expected to grow at a percentage of 59% annually is something worth sitting up and taking notice of at the very least.

I know of at least one major brand that not only took notice, but put it into practical application and implementation: Kellogg.

Last November Brandon Gutman of Forbes had a conversation with Bob Arnold, Associate Director of Digital Strategy at Kellogg, on their experience with programmatic advertising and media buying. According to Arnold, Kellogg has “seen tremendous results when using programmatic buying” and that “depending on the brand, the digital media ROIs have increased as much as six times.”

Again, no math major here but an ROI of up to six times is nothing to sneeze at, to say the least. Clearly there is something to this “programmatic advertising.”

Need To Know

My desire to learn more about this incredibly exciting form of advertising was all-consuming. It was eating me alive. It kept me up at night. It was driving me crazy.

Ok, perhaps I was a tad melodramatic. Sorry. that’s the screenwriter in me.

But I did want to learn more and as luck would have it I was introduced to a man named Gurbaksh Chahal who is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of a company called RadiumOne. Their platform, as it says right on their home page, “is designed for today’s real-time,programmatic media landscape.”

They’ve worked with such brands as Hyundai, Nature’s Recipe and Disney Resorts.

Perfect.

So I set up a time for a Q&A with Chahal to learn more, what with me being naturally curious and all.

Had to start out with what I thought was the obvious first question – wanted to get his personal definition. And then learn more about his company, what they are doing in the arena and how they are different. And also what he thinks marketers are doing wrong when it comes to advertising in the digital space.

SO: What is “programmatic advertising?”

GC: Programmatic Advertising is the automation of the buying and selling of desktop display, video, FBX, and mobile ads using real-time-bidding. Programmatic describes how online campaigns are booked, flighted, analyzed, and optimized via demand-side software (DSP) interfaces and algorithms.  Our platform powers today’s real-time approach to advertising, reaching 26 billion impressions each day across 700 million users from its own proprietary first-party products.

SO: How is RadiumOne different than other companies/platforms?

GC: RadiumOne is different in how it weaves in social signals as well as campaign performance when amplifying and delivering advertising campaigns across the Web. It captures first-party social intent data from its mobile applications Ping.Me and social sharing and URL shortener tool Po.st and then combines this information with our intelligence layer Sharegraph, to reveal not only the right audiences, but also the first and second degree relationships that are also most likely to respond to a particular ad. If a consumer gravitates to a Hyundai advertisement, it is likely that his friend is also interested in learning more about the same brand. RadiumOne is also the first-to-market for hashtag targeting, creating a way for brands to leverage the public hashtags people use on Twitter to target them with relevant display ads on mobile and desktop.

SO: Tell us more about the “hashtag targeting technology” and how does, if at all, Facebook’s recent announcement that they are looking into incorporating hashtag technology, play into all of it?

GC: Advertising is moving towards capitalizing on “now moments.” We launched our innovative hashtag targeting technology back in Q4 of last year with great success. We found that people are already engaging in online brand conversations on social channels like Twitter, but to date, no one had found a way to monetize this form of social interaction. We are the first-to-market for this targeting technology to allow brands to purchase hashtags like keywords are purchased in search advertising, and then serve ads to the people who are explicitly using these terms.

While Facebook has begun to evaluate the potential of using hashtags just within their social platform, as an FBX integration partner We create a social feedback loop so that we can pull from campaign data across the Internet, from external social channels and then back into Facebook. Hashtags can encompass much more than just a company or a brand name. They can convey an emotion, a category or theme. For example, during holidays like Valentines Day, an advertiser like flowers.com or Mars may wish to target users who tweet #love, #commitment or #gift.

SO: What is the single biggest mistake you see brands making right now in the digital space when it comes to advertising?

GC: Connecting the dots with big data. Data has always been big but, it’s about capturing the right elements from a “big data” set and making it work that shows ROI. They can connect their earned media to make their paid media that much more smarter.

SO: Anything related to Big Data comes with it an issue of privacy. What do you say to brands who voice concerns over the use of Big Data as it relates to privacy?

GC: The beauty about our targeting technologies is that they are entirely opt-in and private. The targeting options are based on anonymous data that is collected over time and may range from targeting a user’s general geographic location to targeting involving a user’s interests and similarities between people. This data may be used to identify and predict the sites and groups of people that are most likely to create a response to an advertiser’s campaign.

Ok, your turn.

What do you think of programmatic advertising?

Have you ever heard of it before?

Have you ever used it before?

Will you consider it moving forward?

And do you think this form of online advertising is in fact the future?

Sources: The DrumAd Tech AustraliaForbes

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via TwitterLinkedIn or Email

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