Programmatic advertising has for too long been viewed as a pure direct response medium, focused on remnant inventory.
Well, those days are over, and as the likes of Burberry have proven, programmatic branding campaigns are now a reality.
Programmatic, one of the most exciting areas of the online ad industry, has reached a critical stage in its development.
Today it is now possible to run full-service, large-scale programmatic branding campaigns.
The technology has reached such a stage of maturity, driven by full-stack service providers, that brands can run these campaigns across premium inventory on multiple screens, with solid audience data, real-time bidding support and robust metrics.
Brand-building become automated
Think of brand campaigns and you have traditionally thought of massive, blunderbuss-style TV ad campaigns with crazily-priced ads.
But your customers have moved on – TV today is just one of multiple screens they consume their favourite entertainment on, if you want to build your brand in their multi-screen, digital universe, you’re going to need more than video.
You need highly-creative formats with true cross-screen support at global scale. Burberry knows this.
Last month, it ran a customized premium campaign with large takeover units on Yahoo’s home page that were served programmatically.
The campaign, run with Amnet and Adform, delivered ads to consumers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
The sometimes frightening pace of speed in the industry means that only two years ago this campaign would have been almost unthinkable.
Instead, the capabilities of full-stack suppliers means we have what is possibly one of the best case studies to date for the potential of programmatic for branding.
Huge new opportunities for agencies
According to eMarketer, rich media ads smash standard banners when it comes to click through rates.
Engagement and conversion are also far higher with rich media, especially on mobile.
Yet, display advertising accounts for just 30 per cent of digital ad spend in UK according to the IAB’s latest report, however, besides being cheap and easier to create, display also yields more data.
Especially when served programmatically, display ads can be tracked, measured and reported with incredible accuracy.
Agencies, of course, rely on these stats to determine ROI.
This same data can now be delivered for programmatic brand campaigns, as with any display advertising programmatic display yields standard engagement metrics.
Working with the right partners though, brands can now customise their campaigns to only focus on the variables of most importance to them.
This could be time spent on ad and engagement rate, or viewability, or conversion.
Furthermore, data gained from a brand awareness campaign can now be used in later performance based retargeting campaigns — to drive Facebook likes, for example, or Pinterest pins.
The benefits are obvious: agencies can now create highly engaging campaigns and execute at scale without the prohibitive costs once associated with high brand spend.
Programmatic branding is also great for publishers
Remnant can work well for many brands. But you’re not going to see big global brands there. They want premium inventory.
And for good reason: according to our research, above-the-fold CPM increased by six per cent between the second and third quarter of 2014, and in the same period, above-the-fold CTR increased by 23 per cent.
Publishers know all this, but few have been prepared (or able) to make the required investment, whether monetary or human, to meet the challenge of selling premium inventory at scale.
Finally, with programmatic branding publishers can enjoy the same benefits of real-time bidding as on their remnant space — at much-needed premium rates. The benefits go both ways, of course.
Publishers can now open up their own data for use in brand campaigns and also tap into second- and third-party sources — allowing brand advertisers to engage with readers at massive scale.
Brands are the next stage for programmatic
Although only really gaining widespread attention among marketers in 2014, programmatic ad buying and selling has been around for more than five years.
Because it delivered the kind of data that directly informs ROI, programmatic has been popular mostly with DM advertisers.
Benefits like brand lift and awareness were considering beyond its reach.
No longer. 2015 is the year when programmatic becomes a brand marketer’s best friend.
Martin Stockfleth Larsen,chief marketing officer, Adform
Tel: +44 207 240 0433