Programmatic buying refers to the automated process of buying digital ad inventory. It enables marketers to deliver ads to the right audience in real-time and is very much the future of online display advertisement. In this blog post, I will answer some of the common questions related to the subject:

Is it necessary?

For marketing teams who purchase a lot of digital ad inventory, programmatic buying is very much a necessity. Instead of contacting each media you want your ads to appear on, you purchase the space through a dsp or a media agency.

Through the dsp, you are able to set certain criteria for your purchase and make sure that your ads reach your target audience. For some platforms, you have to do real-time bidding to secure the ad inventory, but that's not the case with Facebook Ads API and Google Display Network.

Read also: 6 Real-Time Marketing terms you should know    

We can categorize the benefits of programmatic buying into three:

  1. Increases the quality of the traffic
    You only pay for views that match your set criteria. This will probably result in fewer views in total, but in return, they're more relevant. As a result, you should get a higher click and conversion rate on your ads.
  2. Decreases time spent purchasing ad space
    Programmatic equals automatic. The buying takes place in real-time, and you don't have to spend time negotiating with sales people. You do however need to spend some time familiarizing with the software, but once that is done, the buying will happens automatically
  3. Gives you more control over your purchases
    It's normal for sites to set a cap on how many times your ad can be shown to the same person. Buying ads the traditional way may result in some overlap, which means your ad, for example, is shown 30-40 times instead of 20 per person. Programmatic buying gives you complete control.

How to get started?

Firstly, you need to decide on your criteria for ad space purchase. In other words: who is your target audience?

  • Where do they live?
  • What age/ gender are they?
  • What kind of platforms or sites are they active on?
  • What time of day are they active on these platforms or sites?

This is information you probably already have, but it doesn't hurt to reassess your buyer personas before finalizing the criteria in a software solution.     

If you want to get into real time bidding (RTB) you should acquire DSP software. This is currently not an intuitive plug and play solution, so if you don't have the right competence in-house you will have to acquire external help.

Read also: Why you should organize your marketing team like an editorial staff  

Are there any disadvantages to programmatic buying?

Programmatic buying is still very much reserved for companies who publish a substantial amount of digital ads. Competence and commitment is crucial for achieving success. Make sure you choose a professional company when purchasing ad space, so that you don't become a victim of ad fraud.

That being said programmatic buying is an important tool for delivering relevant ads to the right target group in real-time. If you want to learn more about real-time content creation you can have a look at our guide: