Programmatic Buying: Really The Right Way To Go?

Programmatic buying has become quite popular in the world of digital advertising and marketing lately.

Just how popular? Well, in a recent blog post on eMarketer, the industry insiders opined that, “programmatic buying has begun to rewrite the way digital ads are bought and sold.”

As the eMarketer blog goes on to explain, marketers and advertisers are increasingly purchasing ad inventory through automated technology, which can allow for real-time response to customer actions – and often at a lower cost than traditional ad-buying methodology.

Digiday and digital advertising technology provider OpenX recently surveyed media buyers and publishers across North America, and found that 70% were already conducting some level of programmatic trading. The study also revealed that 77% of those conducting programmatic buying planned to do so even more over the next year. 

According to the study, not only are more and more media buyers using programmatic methods, but a good number are also considering replacing their direct relationships with publishers with programmatic trading. More than one-third of media buyers surveyed said they were at least “somewhat likely” to do so, and another one-third seemed willing to entertain replacing their direct relationship with publishers with programmatic buying – but wanted to see the results first.

Here at Amplitude Digital, our official position is that we are always open to implementing things like programmatic buying and real-time buying platforms via various technology partnerships – but would never, ever buy into replacing direct buying entirely.

In fact, we find such an idea to be extremely myopic. As always, the best solution for media buying is a mix of media solutions targeted to your audience – not the other way around.

Apparently, we aren’t alone in this position. The Digiday/OpenX survey revealed that 3 out of every 10 media buyers “seemed certain they would not move entirely to programmatic buying.” While that’s far from a majority, it’s certainly a strong show of support for sensible and traditional methods that have been proven over time.

Specific concerns publishers cited with programmatic buying included not being able to protect their pricing or brand image, and losing control of cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Publishers also said they wanted to protect their relationships with media buyers, protect the publisher brand itself and maintain control over ad quality.

We would also add that by not utilizing direct buying relationships with various sites, you and your business would be missing out on a variety of custom programs, such as sponsorships or other creative executions – some of which are now referred to as “native advertising,” yet another white-hot industry buzzword.

What do you think? What is your position on programmatic buying? And have you had any experiences with real-time buying platforms you’d like to share – good, bad or otherwise? Let us know in the comments section below this blog post. We’d love to hear from you on this one!

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