The article below was originally published in Forbes here.
Since the early days of the pandemic in 2020, digital advertising has undergone quite a number changes with a few clear-cut trends emerging. The impacts of mobile advertising became evident for advertisers as the number of users increased massively worldwide according to every major outlet that tracks these metrics. Additionally, the importance of automated, programmatic media buying to reach those very users encompassing elements of AI (artificial intelligence) or machine learning started to become clear for advertisers, agencies and media buyers.
To say those two trends didn’t happen as a result of having hundreds of millions of people as a somewhat captive audience would be naive. However, the merits of programmatic advertising in terms of reaching mobile users stand on their own and will long be felt as life returns to normal for everyone.
Some statistics here are relevant. Estimates for 2021 range from $90 billion to well over $120 billion in ad spending on Programmatic alone. If the forecasts are correct, that would mean that close to 90% of digital display advertising dollars — and close to 70% of ALL digital advertising — would be spent programmatically this year worldwide.
One might stop short of saying that anything is “recession or pandemic proof”, but consider that from April to July 2020, Programmatic ad buying grew by 11% year over year. This statistic by itself is incredible given the ease at which advertisers could pause their ad buys to cut back spending in a pinch, which is what initially happened. The ease at which they could continue and accelerate them, though, proved to be a big factor in the channel’s growth ultimately.
Now, layer those statistics on top of the explosion of mobile usage around the world and its pretty clear that having a programmatic ad solution to reach users who are largely on their mobile devices is the end game for advertisers.
It begs the simple question: why? What is the reason behind such a massive trend towards automated or programmatic ad buying?
It’s always “on”, and always optimizing. No matter what time of day, programmatic solutions facilitate real-time bidding and management of your ad buys consistent with your target audience using data that feeds machine-learned algorithms. It isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of solution because of the value of having an expert interpret the data, suggest creatives, and optimize campaign parameters consistently is critical. But there’s little to no slow-down involved when changing or testing elements of your ad buy.
It’s fast. The more data that feeds the machine faster, the better. Programmatic ad buying scales faster than any human or set of humans ever could. Once targets and KPIs are established, the machine is able to deliver ads based on data to hit an advertiser’s goals and can scale up (to achieve higher user acquisition levels) or scale down (should customer service become taxed, for example) accordingly.
There is little to no “wasted spend” because it’s smart and yields high quality, targeted consumers. Often, we see *new* findings uncovered through data that our clients might not have known about their target audience. There’s tremendous value-add to having a layer of artificial intelligence that is real-time and can pick up on trends and data.
These three major benefits only scratch the surface. The point here is that if you’re not allocating budget towards the Programmatic channel, it’s likely you’re going to be left behind. 83% of advertisers are expected to earmark budget towards just this channel alone. If you’re new to this type of advertising, or simply need a fresh look at the trends in the industry and what to expect, I’d urge you to align with a respected 3rd party partner who can help you. The industry changes fast, and there have been massive changes for advertisers related to data, consumer privacy, and more in the past year alone. It’s a lot to keep track of — but the rewards of aligning with a partner in the mobile programmatic space are worth it.