But what about the buyers? And should we still have to ask that question?
According to a recent report from Forrester and the ANA, the answer is clearly yes. The research found that less than a quarter of marketers had used the technology, and 29% had heard the term “programmatic,” but didn’t understand it.
Perhaps this is commentary on an industry keen to talk about the dizzying numbers behind the data and speed of real-time bidding, but lacking on clear and simple explanations of the benefits for buyers.
Understanding the automation of the buying and selling of advertising needn’t be like studying rocket science. Anthony Rhind, global chief digital officer at Carat has compared it aptly to an ‘operating system’ for advertising. And just as your Mac or PC has various applications, so does an automated advertising ecosystem. Just like Windows or iOS, it also crosses various screens, devices and media – from desktop to mobile, video, native and more.
And for those of you reading this and still wishing for a more basic explanation, we have Advertising Age to thank for it’s feature ‘Explain it Like I’m 8: Programmatic.’ The article offers an eight year-old’s explanation, noting that the difference between conventional media buying and automated media buying is like the difference between writing to Santa vs. ordering your present online.
While we’re on the subject of defining automation in the simplest terms, it’s worth talking through the four major trends going on in our industry. These ‘four pillars’ will add a little colour and wrap more context around the combined benefits of automation.