Programmatic Spend Reveals Greater Planning

Programmatic advertising has outgrown its original reputation as a place to pick up cheap remnant inventory at the last minute. As brands and agencies try to meet consumers where they are, they are finding the need to look across the media landscape for the same customer on a number of different devices and on a variety of platforms.The consumer has become, quite literally, a moving target, and there is simply no other way to build scalable campaigns without the automation and reach programmatic can offer . Although the retail and CPG industries have been in the forefront of this movement, they’re followed closely by travel, telecom, and financial services — all fields in which competition is fierce.

As a concomitant, the RTB environment has grown to include much more than simple display advertising. You can buy pretty much any kind of advertising in real time now, even video. From January through April 2014, display advertising remained fairly constant, but all other data-driven marketing channels grew, according to Turn’s Advertising Intelligence Index. Across all the channels, the competitive advertisers are beginning to plan in advance and stabilize at higher levels of spend.

Turns study reported a decrease in the volatility of spend, as well as growth in the number of dollars spent. This information reveals that marketers are planning in advance for cross-platform campaigns, rather than operating through trial and error and merely reacting. Once marketers recognize that they have to  leverage data and approach planning with a new appreciation for cross-channel impact, smoother spend is a natural consequence.

Compared to the same period in 20o13, Turn saw far less budget allocated at the end of traditional marketing quarters this year—advertisers are planning programmatic strategies in advance and are preparing better for seasonal patterns and variations in the marketplace.

It’s about time marketers approached their media buys more strategically, and thought more about how to execute programmatic campaigns for maximum audience effect across channels. More marketers are entering every channel, in every industry, leading to stiffer competition for available inventory. They are getting smarter about harnessing data and targeting spending to find customers across the media landscape. The degree of volatility still varies across channels, but Turn says mobile, social, and video are all converging toward the stable, consistently high level of competition that we’ve seen in the display market for some time now.

If you’re not already running a cross-channel integrated marketing campaign, leveraging audience data and your own customer data, you’ve lost your advantage in the programmatic market.