The balance of digital advertising is beginning to shift. As digital content becomes more available and accessible, the potential of reaching a specific target audience is greater than ever before.
There has been an incredible increase in the percentage of U.S. display ad spending that programmatic advertising over the past few years – programmatic is now “business as usual” for digital display ads. Take a look at this chart, based on Magna Global data reported by eMarketer:
Given these numbers, it’s no surprise that we predicted that programmatic would continue to be a huge trend this year. It’s also why we devoted a panel session at Digital BrainFest 2016 to exploring whether the Mad Men-era of advertising is finally over. That discussion also covered what potential roadblocks the advertising industry could face in an evolution away from the mass advertising model.
Here are key takeaways from that panel, moderated by our own Jeff Puzenski, which included four separate perspectives:
- Ad tech providers
Programmatic’s Impact: Transforming Mass Advertising Into Rich, Strategic Targeting
Programmatic is dominating digital display. This isn’t the case for other media yet, but things are changing.
One key question facing the Is Mass Advertising Dead? How Programmatic Platforms Are Changing the Media Buying Landscape panel was “Where is the programmatic adoption tipping point for non-digital display media?”
One key takeaway from the panel: Programmatic going forward will connect platforms and see traditional media move towards the digital realm.
Using Data to Drive Efficiencies and Revenues
According to the panelists, programmatic is about decision-making based on an intelligent use of data.
One remarked that programmatic-driven advertising is “the start of the quantitative skillset that will be necessary for effective advertising.” Another speaker noted that at its core, programmatic-driven advertising is a way to increase efficiency and decrease the number of marketing impressions – and should not be viewed as a “fill.”
For example, programmatic-driven advertising is attractive to agencies because it’s efficient, more transparent and enables control over a platform that enables insight development, explained a speaker.
Measurement strategies and accountability are key for successful programmatic advertising.
For example, the panel advised its audience to demand more accountability for frequency metrics (which one speaker termed as useless as paid YouTube views),in favor of knowing more about users interacting with marketing campaigns. More accountability and flexibility yields growth over time.
A Future of “100% Programmatic”? Challenges to Overcome
There are roadblocks to navigate on the programmatic journey. As companies go from simply making it work, how can they create synergies and plug holes to maximize value across the enterprise?
One key issue raised by the panel: a lack of understanding about programmatic. As last year’s AppNexus global study revealed, while over a third of respondents believe programmatic is dominant for ad sales, almost half of those surveyed understand very little about how it actually works.
Other big challenges include an inability to buy media due to lack of access, and managing ad fraud. Developing solid strategies for measurement and accountability, both vital to success, aren’t necessarily simple or easy, either.
So is mass advertising dead? Yes, said the experts, when we’re talking about “mass targeting.” Targeting needs to be on an individual basis to be effective. The industry can no longer treat an entire target audience as a monolithic segment.
On the other hand, as one panelist explained, “Mass MEDIA isn’t dead.” As long as you can prove you’re delivering the right content to the right person at the right time, there will be value in it.
Continue to check the Digital BrainFest 2016 Highlights page for additional recaps, videos and takeaways from this year’s event.