What is Programmatic Advertising?

by | Oct 22, 2014

Is it just me, or did the ‘programmatic’ flood gates open and that is all anyone is talking about right now? This week I think I have received at least one email a day relating to programmatic advertising. I guess I’m just piling on with this blog, but I feel that a lot of the information that I was being sent was not very clear about what programmatic advertising means.


There was a particular video that left my brain numb. Aol produced a series of video interviews with “Programmatic Pioneers,” and one video in that series is with Scott Zalaznik, VP, Digital of Sprint Nextel. I watched this video… I don’t know… three or four times, and I had no idea what he was talking about. You know when someone is explaining a situation in which they were confused or didn’t understand, and they exaggerate by saying, “it was like they were speaking a foreign language… .” Well, I was even more confused, because I recognized it all as English, but I still couldn’t make sense of it. I will fully admit two things: 1) I was watching this video first thing in the morning, and my brain was not ready to consume this information. 2) Zalaznik is probably talking on a Programmatics 201 or 301 level, and I need the 100 level class.


Did you watch the video? Did it make any sense to you? I found a really helpful post from Jack Marshall on Digiday, which is a “… primer, in plain English.” Jack writes that, “‘Programmatic’ ad buying typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs (request for proposal), human negotiations and manual insertion orders. It’s using machines to buy ads, basically.”


Cyberdyne is going to start buying, selling, and placing ads! Ehhh… not really. It is the drudgery, like sending insertion orders to publishers and dealing with ad tags, that will now be automated. Humans with creative minds will still be needed to optimize campaigns and strategize. Programmatic technology will hopefully allow both marketers and sellers to focus their time on building stronger, more effective campaigns, rather than dealing with bureaucracy. In the end, this is a step toward efficiency.


At Transformation Marketing in Lincoln, Nebraska, we strive to put our clients’ content in front of as many potential customers as possible. But it isn’t just about “the most” people seeing an ad, it is about finding the people who are most likely to buy from our clients. If you feel like a lot of people are seeing your ads, but that isn’t converting into sales… it might be that all the wrong people are seeing your ads. Talk to us! So we can start putting your ads in front of the people who should be seeing them.


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