In 2014, £1bn was spent on programmatic advertising in the UK - representing nearly half of all display advertising revenue and a 28% increase on 2013.

All signs point to ‘programmatic’ buying becoming the future, so what do you need to know to ensure you continue to maximise the effectiveness of your digital advertising budgets?

What is Programmatic Advertising?

First of, let’s look at what it’s not. Paid advertising campaigns have traditionally been run manually - a marketer creating an account, determining which audiences they want to target (based on demographic, location, interest, etc.) and then implementing it as part of a chosen channel (the Google Display Network, for example).

Once the campaign is up and running, they will analyse performance and optimise their approach in order to ensure that views, clicks and conversions are maximised. This is repeated periodically, in order to ensure that the campaign remains as tightly-targeted as possible.

As campaigns grow, this process can begin to take up a large amount of time and resource. Marketers naturally want to ensure that budget is maximised and reach fully extended, but such levels of campaign management can often prove somewhat of a stumbling block.

Programmatic advertising, on the other hand, manages a campaign ‘automatically’, with dedicated software being responsible for purchasing ad space and optimising budget spend. This is based on analysis of campaign performance by the programmatic application, managed inside predefined limits specified by a marketer.

What are the advantages?

Programmatic campaigns can be used to target multiple networks at the same time, across many devices (desktop, tablet and mobile, for example). This can be achieved in a few simple steps, affording advertisers more time to focus on defining the right strategy and creative approach. It also allows resource to be used to maximise campaign testing and devise a more effective approach.

Campaign results can then be better monitored as data from various networks is combined into one overall report. On analysis of this data, the programmatic software can also make its own informed decisions with regards to optimisation and implement these changes.

The time and resource that programmatic advertising saves can be invaluable for marketers. Not only does it allow for more focus to be placed on defining a more effective strategy, attention can be paid to analysing and optimising the campaigns that are currently in place in order to ensure that budget is maximised and the highest ROI generated.

Next steps for your digital ad spend

Having assessed the many benefits of programmatic advertising, it now forms part of our service offering. We apply it to the display and video advertising campaigns we deliver across 25 networks and marketplace, including: Doubleclick by Google, App Nexus, Open X, Pubmatic, Rubicon and Switch Concepts.

In a series of upcoming posts, we’ll be examining programmatic advertising in greater detail and exploring the more technical elements of this approach. In the meantime, we’d love to discuss whether programmatic advertising is right for your business.

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