Programmatic advertising takes the layers of competition that exist in publishing and makes it work better for everyone involved. Publishers reach a more receptive segment of ad buyers, advertisers target the right customers, and customers get a personalized experience. But for all of the industry buzzwords, there are still a lot of publishers (and buyers) who aren’t quite sure what it all means. In short, programmatic equals more revenue and a better ad value.
Digital ad space competition between newspapers has grown to a fever pitch in the last several years. But programmatic levels the playing field. You don’t have to be a major player to get more revenue from a broader swath of advertisers. And you don’t have to suffer through underutilized ad inventory.
Newspapers can now offer audience pinpoint-targeted reach at scale. And because it’s automatic, the whole process is more seamless and much more cost effective.
The State of Programmatic Advertising Today
Advertising has always been about reaching the right people. For advertisers, making the best ad buy means getting the right ads in front of the right people.
For publishers, it means reaching advertisers who might not otherwise be interested. Programmatic advertising does both.
What’s happening now is the natural evolution of programmatic’s earlier days. Just a few years ago, a collective of newspapers including the New York Times, Tribune Company, Gannett and Hearst collaborated on QuadrantOne, which was one of the first programmatic ad-buying networks.
QuadrantOne folded in 2013, says The Wall Street Journal. Programmatic technology outpaced QuadrantOne so quickly that WSJ says it “struggled to adapt.” La Place Media, a programmatic collaborative in France, has enjoyed more success. And earlier this year, Nucleus arrived on the scene. It’s the brainchild of Gannet, Tribune Publishing, McClatchy, and Hearst.
Using Big Data, programmatic advertising enables a level of efficiency that wasn’t possible before. Advertisers can make ad buys with newspapers in markets that they might not have considered (or have been able to afford). And publishers can reap big rewards in selling ad space to buyers who are much more likely to be satisfied.
Results are what matter, and programmatic improves ad performance. Did we mention that it’s automatic?
Best Practices on How to Structure Sales
There’s no single programmatic approach that fits every publisher. There’s no approach that fits every ad buyer, for that matter. But it’s the flexibility of this technology that makes it work so well for so many. For example, you might offer an open auction or private auction. Or maybe auctioning ad space isn’t right, either.
Programmatic advertising offers four basic methods for getting the best results, both for publishers and buyers.
Open Exchange lets anyone bid on the advertising inventory available at a wide range of publishers at the same time. This is the basic programmatic method, and it can be fully automated. Neither buyers nor publishers have to be involved.
Private Marketplace is what it sounds like. This is an invitation-only real-time bidding or RTB event that one or several publishers might participate in. Advertisers who get the invite can bid on the best inventory.
Programmatic Guaranteed tweaks Open Exchange. Publishers and buyers can negotiate on a set price for a select chunk of ad inventory.
Preferred Deals work between a publisher and individual buyers. This usually costs more, says TotalMedia, and it’s more like traditional ad sales with a high level of hands-on involvement for all parties.
There’s no universally right or wrong way to structure ad inventory sales. It’s this flexibility that lets publishers make the most out of all inventory.
Who’s Succeeding With Programmatic Advertising?
As you might expect, early adopters included some of the biggest names in the industry. QuadrantOne and Nucleus exemplify that. But the whole point of programmatic is bringing everyone at every level into the game so that all inventory and all publishers have a good shot at success.
Dallas Morning News is focusing on the value that they can offer to buyers. Their programmatic strategy has taken off like a rocket. Joe Weir, VP and chief revenue officer for the DMN, tells the International News Media Association, “It’s about how do I bring you the most scale and the best technology to make your advertising buy as efficient as I possibly can and help grow your business and improve your ROI with this advertising investment?”
The company says that it can “reach 96 percent of online adults in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.”
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) lists several major newspaper publisher names among the programmatic success stories. Tribune Publishing and Metro U.S. are just two of several.
WAN-IFRA offers a report filled with case studies on the success of programmatic. If you’re a member, you can download it for free.
But the appeal of programmatic isn’t just for those bigger publications. That’s really the whole point. For example, if you operate a niche job board at your publication, programmatic advertising lets you sell the right ad inventory using the right type of sale for the right ad buyer, who can then target the right job candidate. It’s results-driven, and it doesn’t require a major ad sales department.
Programmatic advertising is the trifecta. It helps publishers sell more ad inventory to more buyers who can reach their targeted audience more effectively. It’s all based on Big Data and what it tells us about the publication’s audience.
Targeted ads perform better. And programmatic lets publishers offer the most streamlined way to get it.