What is Programmatic Advertising?

Posted by Steve Johnson on Feb 26, 2019 5:17:41 PM
Steve Johnson
Find me on:

You’ve probably heard the term, you may have even used it, but do you really know what programmatic advertising is? If not, read on. We’ve been running programmatic campaigns for our clients for over 5 years and, in fact, Sparks were the first UK agency to use programmatic for recruitment – so we know the technology inside out!

Programmatic advertising is, quite simply, using automation in the process of buying and selling media. In the past, multi-channel campaigns would be painstakingly planned and executed by media planners, but now, software can do a lot of the hard work for you.

Programmatic advertising now accounts for c.75% of global ad spend within B2B marketing, and it was only invented in the last decade!

Programmatic can be utilised across most media channels, including TV, audio, out of home and online. We have worked across all of these different media, but where we have most regularly used programmatic software for our clients is online display advertising. This system uses machine learning and big data to identify the best online inventory to run display advertising. The beauty of programmatic is that most providers deliver ads in ‘real time’. The software assigns a value to each individual click by using cookie data to see who is viewing a page, and how they compare to a perfect candidate by using lookalike targeting. Once the system has worked out what that potential click is worth, it then bids against other advertisers across a number of exchanges and, if the bid is successful, the advert is displayed. This entire process takes place in hundredths of a second!

As well as employing lookalike targeting, we can also overlay this with other targeting to ensure that we’re filtering down even further to only show ads to the most relevant of people. For example, we’re currently planning a campaign for one of our global clients to attract tech professionals across the UK as well as in Barcelona and Milan. To do this, we are recommending to geo-target the main tech hubs in each of these countries (and potentially other tech hotspots in Europe) as well as tapping into Reed data, LinkedIn data, TGI survey & Nielsen panellist data and Yahoo! domain data, where relevant, across the target countries.

New call-to-action

Different programmatic providers work in different ways, but one of the key features of some of the suppliers we work with, is that the platform actually uses artificial intelligence to ensure the system is consistently learning as a campaign runs, essentially meaning your advert is continually being optimised to be shown where you’re getting the best conversion rates. We almost always find with programmatic campaigns that the clickthrough rate goes up and the cost per click goes down, the longer a campaign is running.

Over the years, we have run highly successful programmatic campaigns for clients across a variety of sectors such as O2, Pizza Hut, WHSmith, Morrisons, Clarks, Wagamama, Monarch and Sainsbury’s. We have also worked with a number of different suppliers of programmatic, such as Rocket Fuel/Sizmek, Nano Interactive, Ve and Crimtan, so we have in-depth knowledge of this medium, and can ensure that we’re using the right provider for your bespoke campaign needs.

If you want to find out more about programmatic or think you have a current recruitment headache that this technology could help cure, please get in touch.

Topics: Social Media, Candidate Attraction Campaign