Your Strategic Horsepower for Powerful Media Acceleration
There’s plenty of buzz about programmatic digital advertising these days, but what it really is, how it actually works, and its true value to marketers aren’t always clear or understood. That’s just plain dangerous.
Automatic, Systematic (She’s Superbad Now)
In simplest terms, “programmatic media” refers to the automated planning and placement of online marketing – from search and social advertising to video and other rich content. These systems now allow us to set highly specific parameters on the consumers we want to target and then leverage innovative technology – including algorithms – to optimize selection, measurement and enhancement of media placements.
As recently as a decade ago, placing media for a campaign involved working with several publishers on a one-to-one basis – either digitally or manually. On the other hand, programmatic platforms employ their proprietary algorithms to communicate with many different publishers simultaneously in order to find and reach only those users you want to reach most. Campaign creative is then served digitally based on those algorithms, to ensure the right message is in front of the right people, in the right place, at the right time. (As long as you have the right minds driving it all).
The Turbocharger of Media Engines
One of the most revolutionary (or evolutionary) aspects of programmatic is how it’s empowered us to monitor, measure and assess advertising campaigns and media allocations – in real time – to create economies of scale while reaching your highest-value audiences. Before, we needed to broadcast to a much broader audience to “see what sticks” and then revise our approach, today we can deliver fully customized creative messages with pinpoint accuracy to high-value users certain to find them personally relevant.
That’s one beauty of programmatic. But that’s only half of it. Because the most sophisticated platforms (like ModernImpact’s Intelligent Pixel®) also leverage machine learning that automatically analyzes response data from each campaign, then recycles it like a turbocharger to power retargeting and perpetually accelerated results. It enables us to craft increasingly specific messages to finite audiences – and new look-alikes – so we’re more nimble in presenting those experiences, offers or promotions.
Crash and Burn
Of course, every revolution involves casualties and the technological revolution is no different. As digital experts who specialize in seeing around the next virtual corner, it’s sometimes hard to stay grounded in reality and pull back when necessary. We’re still human, after all, and just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean it’s always better. Technology can do amazing things and no doubt drives our future. But think about a Formula 1 race car: It’s a very powerful machine and, in the right hands, it’s pure adrenaline and excitement. But, put an inexperienced person in the driver’s seat and it can be a deadly weapon. The same goes for digital media: Powerful technology that’s used in the wrong way can also be disastrous.
We’ve all had the experience of being online, interacting with brands that we love, and then all-of-a-sudden being ambushed by that same brand’s online ads everywhere we go. It’s like being stalked by the Big Brother of designer jeans or craft beer. Not because that brand was intentionally trying to breach our privacy – a topic for another blog – but because they were re-serving (and then over-serving) a message to someone who showed a little interest. In other words, they just didn’t understand the best way to drive the technology.
In the Driver’s Seat
While it may take some time for more marketers and brands to find the right balance between all that today’s technology can do, what today’s consumers really want and how to serve them in the right way, it’s important to realize these digital advances are creating a very fluid market – which means we’re always experimenting, constantly fine-tuning and forever adapting to changes in human behavior.
Programmatic media is an amazing machine. Just make sure you have the right people in the driver’s seat.