Making explanations of programmatic less problematic

By Paul Hindle, Carat Perth


Cobblers have the worst shoes, right? Similarly, some consumer marketing and communications practitioners leave much to be desired regarding their ability to communicate between interdisciplinary peers. Strip out plain English then add in jargon and corporate speak. We’ve all seen it.

Case in point. Hands up who can explain programmatic? Quiet please down the back; I meant who can explain it in a manner that their grandmother might be likely understand it? Ah, thought so.

If you consider what follows remedial and simplistic then this article is not written for you, so please feel free to skip it. However, if you have always found prior explanations to be somewhat tech-heavy and opaque, I hope this helps.

Programmatic Just Means the Use of Data and Software
‘Programmatic’ is often misconceived to be a product, an ad unit, even a media channel. It is none of those things. It is merely a catch-all term used to describe a range of software that make more (semi-) automated and data-driven the purchase, creation, and delivery of digitally based advertising, including video, banners, social, native, audio, etc.

Programmatic advertising therefore is largely automated and is informed by data. As is the case for all types of advertising, it consists of two core components: programmatic creative and programmatic media. Programmatic creative is the automation of much of the routine and repetitive parts of the online ad design process. It is particularly useful for generating a large volume of personalised ads (i.e., DCO – dynamic creative optimisation). Programmatic media is the automation of buying and selling of online advertising space (and, increasingly, ad space on other media channels too), as opposed to making manually based purchases direct from publishers.

Think of: Chicken Cacciatore
To cook this dish, I could go to my local supermarket to buy the chicken, onions, tomatoes, and the other ingredients. This would be a direct purchase and I would carry them home myself. If, however, I have a WiFi-enabled smart fridge programmed to automatically buy the ingredients online when my supplies run low, or maybe on given dates or at a given price, and then have them home delivered, then I could be said to have bought them programmatically. Same end use ingredients, just different methods of purchase and delivery.

The complicated ‘purchase and delivery’ software technology behind programmatic is what makes it work, but that’s not the real point. What is of genuine interest is what it allows marketers to do, and what in turn consumers see. It uses multiple data sources (first, second, and third-party data sets) to match an ad purchase at a specific moment for a nominated target audience, and then create and serve a predetermined ad message, all done in real time at a level of speed (milliseconds) and agility beyond human capabilities.

Automated Processes Does Not Mean That People with Skills Are Not Needed
A common misconception is that programmatic software – which is artificial intelligence (AI) based – comes somehow pre-programmed to be intelligent on an advertiser’s behalf. It does not; it is more pupil than teacher and must be taught well to have it perform well. Left alone, AI can often provide advertising investment directions that make no sense because it has not learned all the variables necessary to be predictive. Absent of due diligence and oversight, information can too easily become misinformation, leading to deleterious business decision-making.

Think of: a F1 Racing Car
Programmatic software is a powerful tool. It is akin to a Formula 1 race car, also high-tech, sophisticated, and capable of extreme performance. But the car does not drive itself; it requires an experienced professional racer behind the steering wheel. Likewise, effective programmatic implementation requires experienced professionals with specific skillsets to set it up and to run it. Software is only as good as the people that know how to use it: GIGO applies (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

Carat Perth’s MiQ Programmatic Partnership
Carat Perth, via the dentsu network, has a global partnership with programmatic experts MiQ. This partnership is predicated on four deliverables:
1. Investment into more robust research capabilities that yield smarter insights. MiQ provides a greater degree of strategy and analysis to its programmatic activity.
2. Expanded data partnerships. Programmatic runs on data; it is its fuel. The more data sources available for input, the greater the effectiveness potential. MiQ brings an unmatched suite of global and local data partnerships.
3. Greater cost efficiencies. Due to MiQ’s sheer scale and global presence, it has greater buying power and can often negotiate inventory at lower costs.
4. WA local, on-the-ground team. Our MiQ resources are all FTEs who reside and work in WA, meaning they fully understand the nuances of this market and its target audiences.

Again, I hope this article has helped you, at least a little. If Carat Perth might be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Paul Hindle is Client Partner at Carat Perth.

Originally published on CampaignBrief here

Get In Touch