Programmatic advertising: Is it really the way of the future?

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programmatic advertising

It is important to consider the source when evaluating surveys, studies and white papers. Certainly Dun and Bradstreet — evolving from a traditional credit/business information and business database leads service — has an interest in data-driven marketing and so, in producing a white paper Programmatic Advertising: 2016 benchmarks, budgets and trends, would assert programmatic advertising’s value.

Yet, allowing for the implicit bias, this document should still be worthy of consideration in thinking about your business-to-business marketing strategies.

In case you aren’t aware of what “programmatic advertising” means, here is the definition.

Programmatic advertising refers to the use of automated technology to buy and sell digital media across millions of Websites, as opposed to relying on human interactions to manually secure digital ad placements. In other words, anytime a machine is used to purchase and deliver a digital ad, it’s considered programmatic.

Our business currently earns a tiny portion of its revenue through programmatic advertising. The ads displayed through Google AdSense represent one of the most obvious avenues. However, programmatic advertising goes beyond contextual advertising and increasingly focuses on data about the actual viewership/readership and their demographics.

The idea: Massive, automated advertising purchases can effectively be combined with relatively pin-point demographic analysis to deliver real value and effectiveness.

However, there is a problem underlying this strength: Programmatic advertising fraud.

A lot of advertising unfortunately is finding its way into media that are delivering much less than promised. Sites controlled by bots and scheming fraudsters are skimming off massive amounts of traffic and revenue.

I see signs of this challenge in my voluntary role as a moderator (Top Contributor) on the AdSense help forum. Just today, another scad of YouTube video publishers in Viet Nam are crying “scam” at Google, because they’ve discovered their revenue has been zeroed out. A few years ago, a Google staffer showed me a private forum where the fraudsters were setting up their scheme to trick the system. They were caught.

The trouble is the really shrewd operators work on a much higher and more difficult level to track.

Despite the disturbing ad fraud problem, I would still give weight to the opportunities in programmatic advertising. You can certainly define your objectives and, with some thoughtful planning, achieve measurable results. Just .  .  . be careful.

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