The word of the day is “programmatic.” For digital advertising professionals and marketers, programmatic has been the buzzword of the last several months and likely will be for several more.
Like many buzzwords, programmatic carries varied meanings for different people. But at its core, it means automating the purchase of digital advertising. Machines are making decisions regarding what inventory to buy, when to buy it and where it should be served.
The continuing evolution of the programmatic space will mean more machines learning to make media buys smarter, more targeted and more efficient. All of this machine involvement might lead one to believe that digital advertising will become less personal, less emotional. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Programmatic buying allows marketers to shift from buying placements to buying people. Instead of purchasing inventory on a publisher’s site and hoping the content will attract the right visitors, media buyers are now targeting specific people by demographic, geographic, behavioral and psychographic means. The continual narrowing of targeting capabilities allows marketers to speak virtually one-to-one with their consumers. The message that is delivered one-to-one from a brand to a potential customer will need to connect personally and emotionally to resonate.
Leading business-to-business marketers understand. In the recently published Only Human: The Emotional Logic of Business Decisions, a joint research study from gyro and the FORTUNE Knowledge Group, a majority (61 percent) of executives agreed that when making decisions, human insights must precede hard analytics. Sixty-two percent of respondents contended that it’s often necessary to rely on “gut feelings,” and that soft factors should be given the same weight as hard factors. B2B marketers trying to impact these decision makers will have to appeal on an emotional level to win.
To infuse programmatic buying with human relevancy, consider these five points:
1. Understand your audience on a micro level. Research is the foundation of any successful strategy. Marketing one-to-one means understanding the needs, desires and pain points of an audience on an individual level.
2. Consider the environment in which they are viewing.Whether using IP targeting to speak to prospects on their work computers, geo-fencing trade shows and events, placing display in a purely contextual setting, or serving impressions based on lifestyle factors, consider their surroundings and mindset.
3. Leverage technology to manage the delivery. Dynamic ad assembly and delivery lessens the burden of creating individual messages for thousands of individuals. Keep abreast of technologies that support a one-to-one approach.
4. Don’t forget the UX. Dynamic personalization works as far as the user experience takes it. Encouraging greater engagement falls flat (and can have negative impact) if the landing page, website or automated marketing systems aren’t similarly targeted.
5. Be personal, not creepy. Decision makers want information customized to their individual needs, but likely don’t want to understand exactly how much marketers know about them. Subtle boundaries are important.
The continued growth of programmatic is certain, but the future possibilities remain to be seen. Programmatic will grow in importance for digital marketers, crowding out some direct publisher buys in favor of network buys of micro-targeted individuals. The programmatic purchase of television inventory is on the horizon as well.
The good news is the mechanized automation of media buying will not treat us as soulless robots. Rather, it will allow us to demand a more personal, intimate experience from our digital advertising.
Matt Weinland is a Media Supervisor at gyro, the 2014 Global B2B Agency of the Year. Prior to joining gyro, Matt spent eight years operating a marketing consultancy that developed winning media strategies for B2C and B2B clients. Over his 25-year career, Matt has worked in marketing research, radio, TV, and client-side in addition to ad agencies. His goal is to marry emerging marketing technologies with psychology to develop proven, successful media strategies that can be measured, attributed and replicated.