A few years back every media buying related publication and blog was pumping out stories about programmatic media buying, especially in the digital realm. It was supposed to be this special mix of fancy algorithms and computer magic that would change the way media was bought. In the past few years, the term programmatic media buying has become a phrase that many simply associate with the placement of interactive ads that run on a large network of sites in which the placements are chosen by a fancy math equation that could only be understood by Einstein himself.
Yes, digital advertising has become a lot more algorithm based with direct ad placements receiving less attention and the big networks and platforms receiving more and more advertising dollars, but our #AvoSense says you should never take the person completely out of the mix. With millions of interactive placements available it does make sense to place some dollars with a computer who will generate the best placements at the best times to the best audience, however we should not let the robots take over the valuable lessons we have learned or have yet to learn.
With new technologies emerging every single day, advertisers should not underestimate the value of continually trying out new tactics with their ad placements. Just because an interactive media vendor claims they buy on a programmatic system does in no way mean they are running your placements in the exact same way the programmatic shop across town is running their clients’ placements.
As media buyers and planners it truly is our job to establish great relationships with vendors in order to learn exactly what they’re pitching and what their system has to offer compared to their competitors. At the end of the day, programmatic media buying has simply become a catch phrase that everyone is throwing around. There are still real-time-bidding vendors, vendors who do geo-targeting better, vendors who create the most valuable look-a-like campaigns. The list goes on and although they all may generate placements on a programmed platform, it is still up to the advertiser to decide which vendor is best for each of their client’s campaigns.