Programmatic buying: the new buzzword of the advertising industry. Ask for a definition of the term, however, and the response is almost always vague. In layman’s terms, “programmatic” covers various technologies that allow an agency to automate the buying and optimizing of advertising with little human intervention. At present, this method of buying media space applies predominately to digital display advertising.
According to Dov Calderon, Emerging Media guru at Converge Direct, this process is widely accepted and highly anticipated from a digital agency standpoint, due to the ability to leverage multiple targeting tactics and inventory sources within one platform, the capability to bid on audiences in real time (RTB), and the option to layer on 1st or 3rd party data.
While programmatic buying is becoming standard within the digital space, industry innovators are trying to understand if and how this technology can be applied to traditional offline media, specifically TV. Programmatic buying will allow advertisers to purchase “audiences” rather than traditional programming. Companies such as Turn and AOL’s Adapt.tv have already launched a programmatic TV using first and third party data to build and reach specific audience segments. AudienceXpress has introduced an automated system that enables agencies and their trading desks to purchase ads into premium programming. Another possible benefit of programmatic buying for TV is it may allow for multi-touch points of the right/same audience across multiple screens.
There is some work to be done before programmatic buying becomes the norm in TV advertising. Technology needs to be perfected, additional inventory must become available, advertising and television industries must accept the changing landscape, and most importantly, media buyers must be willing to accept that the upfront parties may not be what they use to. While agencies are only testing the programmatic waters today, eventually programmatic buying will be a core aspect of television sales.
VP, Director of Strategy