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Programmatic advertising in 2023: A starting guide for advertisers

Saurabh Khattar, Country Manager of India at Integral Ad Science (IAS), writes about programmatic advertising, its benefits, factors to consider, and the latest technologies that make it the need of the hour

Saurabh Khattar

An essential element for the modern-day marketer, programmatic buying has become the backbone of digital advertising.

Programmatic, in simple terms, means using automation in buying and selling media. It can apply to anything from display, digital out-of-home, CTV, audio, gaming, and more.

Often, a room of advertising professionals can be divided into two parts, i.e., one that favours programmatic advertising and the other that is apprehensive about it, because of a lack of education, awareness, and transparency.

In 2023, ad spends in India are estimated to grow at 15.5% in 2023 to reach Rs 1.46 lakh crore as per GroupM’s This year, Next Year (TYNY) 2023 report. I expect Indian marketers to increasingly leverage the efficiency of data-driven buying to effectively, and appropriately, reach their desired audiences. 

Strong emergence of Programmatic

Programmatic advertising is a process that happens at scale, and in fractions of seconds, covering the entire spectrum of digital advertising such as buying, selling, and ad placing into an algorithmic decision. 

According to The State of Programmatic in JAPAC 2022 report, programmatic investment and revenue within the Japan and Asia-Pacific (JAPAC) region are surging, with over 70% of firms increasing their programmatic activity from 2021. The report particularly found that India is once again the most actively surveyed nation in terms of increasing programmatic spending and revenue, with 90% of respondents reporting an increase, and only 4% suggesting a decrease.

In the current macroeconomic situation that we find ourselves in, marketers face the ever-growing pressure to justify their ad spending, reduce wastage and deliver ROI. This is where programmatic advertising puts the advertiser in control, allowing them to manage and measure the effectiveness of their digital campaign since it helps optimise the digital campaign to avoid ad spend wastage.

The gambit of digital advertising, with its sheer number of options, can make it feel like an impenetrable process to understand. Let's look at some factors marketers need to consider when opting for programmatic advertising.

Ad verification solutions help to deliver efficient digital campaigns and drive efficiencies

Ad verification tools help marketers to create more impactful digital campaigns. These solutions ensure that your ad is displayed in the proper context, on the right websites, in the right area of a website, and seen by the right audiences, i.e., by a human being.

One of the key issues addressed by ad verification is ad fraud. While ad fraud rates continue to rise across all formats and environments, a report found that advertisers, who utilised ad fraud solutions in India, were able to mitigate ad fraud and maintain a stable year-on-year metric. Reports have also shown that ad verification tools help brands to generate an ROI boost and recapture ad budget with reduced invalid traffic. 

These solutions help you analyse your digital campaigns analytically, showing what percent of your online ads served their purpose. However, the total amount of traffic you received for your ad does not necessarily mean that the ad reached your target audience. This is extremely handy when calculating a more realistic reach for your campaign. Ad verification helps you filter out the traffic that wasn't delivered to your target audience. 

The need for neutral/independent/third-party vendors when running Programmatic-focused campaigns

The grey cloud of "transparency" has always hovered over programmatic campaigns, however, the ad tech world continues to take steps to mitigate this challenge. Opting for a neutral/third-party vendor when running programmatic-focused campaigns helps provide advertisers with a more granular, holistic approach instead of implementing a simple binary (on-off) solution, giving them more control over their digital campaigns. 

 For example, the most significant advantage is the scale and the various media quality solutions they offer instead of tackling only one or two areas. Diving deeper into programmatic advertising with the help of a neutral/ third-party vendor means accessing the following features for your digital campaigns to achieve efficiency as well as gain more control with the help of media quality solutions such as:

  • Brand suitability and brand safety
  • Fraudulent activity and fraud prevention
  • Ad viewability
  • Geo-targeting
  • Quality path optimisation

Determining your programmatic advertising goals

At all stages of the sales funnel, the focus on quality is imperative for marketers - the same audience in a low-quality versus a high-quality environment will elicit vastly different results. Relevant and safe environments with strong attention and time spent will aid awareness metrics, building brand recall where the association is critical, whilst also driving conversions lower in the funnel where users are triggered into acting. Brands that succeed will be the ones that will focus on quality and balance this with efficiency-seeking.

Advertisers who treat programmatic as a science, with small refinements, robust planning, and adapting to results while questioning common beliefs will succeed against those who just go along for the ride. While programmatic buying has become the backbone of digital advertising, it still faces scrutiny from advertisers concerned about transparency, brand safety, and evolving targeting challenges. Accounting for 68% of total global digital media spending, programmatic tactics will be expected to deliver results.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)


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