Published: 28/11/2016 | AUTHOR: Barney Sayce
Programmatic media buying and more specifically optimisation towards conversions is something of a double-edged sword. While it can maximise your campaign results, it’ll also minimise your sleep while you try to get your head around it. The technicalities of how it works and best practices can be a very daunting prospect, however the concept itself is relatively simple. In short, it’s a way of targeting individuals who, through their online activity, have shown that they are of value and likely to convert.
To explain this, while also avoiding the usual jargon and complications, we’ve taken a slightly different approach… truffle hunting.
Programmatic advertising explained
When hunting for truffles, the hunter looks for a number of key signs to show the possible whereabouts of the highly valuable delicacy. Firstly, it must be warm and the soil moist. The hunter will also search for the correct trees, as truffles will not form around all of them. You’d be mad to go looking for a truffle underneath a maple, but find yourself a forest of birch trees and you’re on the right track. Also, truffles rely on animals to disperse their seeds, so if there appears to be a large number of squirrel pits in this forest then it’s probably time to start digging. All of these signs are incredibly helpful in the hunt for truffles but you could find yourself digging for days over a huge area without even the slightest sight of one of these treasured fungi.
It wasn’t long before hunters realised that a pig could do a much better job of finding truffles – with its heightened sense of smell the pig could locate a truffle without having to dig through heaps of unprofitable soil. While this was a breakthrough in the world of truffle hunting, it wasn’t something that was going to bring every hunter overnight success. The pigs needed weeks, often months of training. Their ability to find the truffle amongst the thousands of trees would, at first, be only a slight improvement on what the hunter could do alone, sometimes even a step in the wrong direction. However, as the pig gained more experience it would learn to be more accurate and, as a result, would return more and more truffles to the now very rich hunter. Not only was the hunter now finding more of his truffles, but also he could learn from the pig. The pig had the ability to find truffles in locations that the hunter may have never considered.
Programmatic is a very similar concept. While marketers know who their target market are and can speculate on their online whereabouts, you find yourself placing adverts in front of many people who perhaps aren’t going to click or convert. These people are the endless amounts of soil in the case of the truffle hunter.
The programs used in programmatic advertising have the same job as the pig. They allow us to target individuals (or truffles) without having to target an entire group demographic. Over time the programs will receive more and more data, which will feed into the algorithms and make them increasingly more effective as it learns which kind of people will be most likely to convert.
How programmatic optimises campaign effectiveness
Not only can programmatic advertising optimise the effectiveness of campaigns but the insight we gain from programmatic platforms can be of huge value to marketers and influence our own understanding of our target audience.
Want to know more about what programmatic advertising can do for your campaigns? Get in touch.