Tired of all the acronyms? What actually is Programmatic Advertising?

12th Jun, 2020
Author image
Ruth Chapman
Group Managing Director

Programmatic advertising is a sexy new term being thrown around by marketers and advertising agencies, but it often gets shrouded by a mist of cryptic acronyms that can leave you overwhelmed. So let’s cut to the chase and answer this: what is programmatic advertising, and do I need it for my business?


What is Programmatic Advertising?

programmatic advertising


Instead of looking at Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram as individual separate channels, programmatic advertising allows us to buy and measure across all channels as if they are one.

Programmatic advertising is a term widely used to define the automated nature in which digital media buying and selling now takes place. In the complex world we live in, consumers are on multiple screens accessing multiple channels all throughout the day. As advertisers, we are expected to be everywhere, at all times, trying to reach the clients we want. It is a big ask.

Programmatic makes it easy to keep up with today’s consumers, making use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to buy advertising off multiple channels in real time. This allows us to react faster, learn faster, update our message and target faster, measuring success across all channels in a more meaningful way.


So how is it different to “regular” advertising?

Rather than executing media buys through manual negotiations and insertion orders, digital technology is used to bid inventory. Programmatic advertising is B2C, targeting the end user, and ensures resonance and breadth of messaging across all digital touchpoints to improve overall user experience, from awareness to acquisition.


What kind of conversions does it generate?

When you’re working online, you don’t always know where exactly to attribute the sale. Programmatic advertising is often used for brand awareness campaigns; so how do you relate this to direct sales? Well, programmatic advertising amalgamates all the information so you can see what’s working best.

When you buy through an umbrella and bring multiple platforms together, you are putting dollars behind brand awareness.


But isn’t it the same as Google?

display network


If the Google Display Network is the yolk, programmatic advertising is the egg. Programmatic advertising encompasses Google, along with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and a host of other examples. It uses a number of different ad formats such as banners, videos and native articles (articles fitting the form and function of the surrounding editorial content on a webpage).

They look “native” to the page and are often written by the publisher’s staff so the article matches the tone and voice of the rest of their content. You may have seen these kinds of articles at the bottom of your news sites when catching up on your current events.


How can my business benefit from it?

Buying advertising on sites one-by-one is much like watching black and white TV. Given that the advertising possibilities are endless, brands need technology to target, segment and reach their audiences with the right message at the right time, across all ad spaces and screens. All so that their message isn’t lost in a sea of clutter.


Is everyone using programmatic advertising?

advertising on devices


There are 7 billion people in the world consuming media on 4.7 billion websites. More than ever before, consumers are at home (and in the right place, at the right time), primed to buy your product. In fact, AusPost stats from April show that consumers are more confident, with increases in multiple areas. Programmatic advertising is essentially replacing billboards and bus station ads.



Statistics from iab show that 65% of brands are currently purchasing programmatic advertising. If you’d like your business to remain competitive, and are interested in discussing the possibilities it entails, give us a call today.

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