Programmatic is like that difficult teenager that’s finally grown up and matured into a fine adult. One that, even if you’re ashamed to admit it, you’d like to be friends with. Today it’s not just jabbering on and on about the sale of remnant inventory, but having intelligent discussions that explain the advantages of PMP, programmatic direct sales and even automated guaranteed. What a difference a few years makes!

These new concepts in programmatic advertising mean that the industry has come a long way from display ads. Publishers have more control over not only who’s buying their inventory, but what kind of advertisements are displayed on their webpages. This, along with the advent of new ways to buy and sell placements, has resulted in tangible results with regards to creative, formatting and the display of ads. So now, thanks to the sophisticated adult that programmatic has become, publishers are able to propose premium placements and more brazen ads that feature rich media creative formats like skins and full-page takeovers.

It’s been obvious for a while now that both SSPs and DSPs have stepped up their game, allowing companies and agencies to display innovative creative to a precise, targeted audience. It’s clear that premium placements, roadblocking and the homepage takeover can be truly effective ways to captivate and engage viewers, build brand awareness and strengthen brand affinity, especially when viewers are correctly targeted. Hence the reason why the phrase “programmatic branding” is popping up everywhere nowadays. But how do marketers really feel about it? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Programmatic Branding’s Appeal

Smart’s data shows that buyers are ready to use programmatic sales to purchase the very high-impact formats that drive branding campaigns. Statistics show that these formats generate a CPM four times higher than the average! They already account for 5% of our inventory since we added them as an option this fall.

The market supports the trend: an April 2015 joint study conducted by Quantcast and MediaMath found an increase in programmatic spending for branding: almost two-thirds of marketers surveyed said they were running programmatic advertising campaigns specifically for branding objectives as opposed to direct response. So, advertisers seem to be really into programmatic branding. According to the same study, most of them see increased efficiency, reduced advertising costs and increased in ROI as major benefits.

So, is programmatic branding just the next “hot topic” or have advertisers adopted it as a real branding solution for the long run? According to the Quantcast / MediaMath study, it’s far from being just the flavor of the month: by 2017, the same marketers cited above said they are planning to increase their programmatic ad spend by an average of 37%.

Those are impressive stats.

When, as a publisher, your advertisers are happy, your inventory sales go up and your revenue increases, it sounds like the silver bullet! But there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

Executing a Roadblock and a Full-Page Takeover for Programmatic Branding

So, how exactly has the supply side put in the work to make programmatic branding possible? Well, let’s take a look at the full-page takeover as an example. This roadblock gives an advertiser 100% Share of Voice, allowing the brand to utilize a combination of ad formats such as banners, display ads, a full-page skin and rich media.

With the amount of money going into these takeovers, companies usually pull out all the stops, displaying original and captivating creative with the goal of building brand awareness and, eventually, converting the viewer.

It’s easy enough to display a full-page takeover when selling a placement the traditional way, but it’s an advanced maneuver in programmatic, one that only a seasoned full-stack ad server like Smart can execute. Developing this type of automated sales option requires years of experience, a deep knowledge of the supply side, control of campaign pacing algorithms and the ability to mechanize the tools necessary for the process. So, what makes setting up a roadblock for a programmatic branding campaign so challenging?

In short, when you enable roadblocking on a page, you impact all the campaigns that could have been displayed on the said page, so the tool executing these actions needs to have insight into all possible candidates, whether they be direct or programmatic buyers. This all-encompassing platform needs to be aware of every single commitment and constraint tied to the publisher’s ad lines. Only then can the roadblock be properly executed.

So, it seems as though programmatic has got it figured out! Publishers’ initial worries about the inability of the demand and supply sides to effectively and efficiently communicate are no longer an issue. Advertisers are running brand-focused campaigns right now, and plan to continue doing so.

It’s clear that high-value advertisers are winning out, just like the publishers, who now have the option of assuring their inventory sales and CPM through the newest buying option, programmatic guaranteed.

When you have a holistic yield platform like Smart available, what’s stopping you?

Photo by Wojtek Witkowski