February 17, 2021

Programmatic Media Buyer: Josh Meah & Company


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A modern-day programmatic media buyer specializes in using the latest AI and machine learning based online tools to optimize ad placement and targeting. Contact Josh Meah & Company today if you want to get an idea about how much you can improve your advertising ROI and business bottom lines by using our services.

Programmatic advertising example from The Economist

In 2014, The Economist generated 650,000 new prospects, plus a return on investment (ROI) of 10:1 with a successful programmatic advertising campaign. The brand awareness also increased by almost 65%.

Why Hire A Programmatic Media Buyer

Programmatic advertising has been around for over a decade, but the progress and easy accessibility of AI and machine learning based media buying tools and the rising level of awareness about the benefits of programmatic have led to its explosion in recent years. By the end of 2021, almost 88% of all US digital display ads will be served programmatically. 

The advancements in technology have been so fast that most businesses have been unable to keep up. Only 18% of advertisers use a full stack of ad tech to manage in-house programmatic real-time bidding. Almost half of brands surveyed (47%) embrace a hybrid of in-housing and outsourcing. They develop their own programmatic media buying strategies while outsourcing technology to programmatic media buyers. 

The other half simply has to rely on the services of a programmatic advertising company. So, if you don’t know much about automated media buying, you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Programmatic Media Buying?

Programmatic media buying refers to the automatic buying of digital ad space simultaneously across multiple media networks and platforms in an efficient, targeted, and transparent way. Programmatic advertising is not restricted to a particular network. So, Google Ads cannot be called programmatic advertising, although it can serve your ads across multiple Google properties and millions of its partner websites.

Types of Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic media buyers can buy at least five types of advertising space.

  1. Programmatic Display: Display ads are served automatically across ad networks (such as Google) via RTB (open auction), PMP, or Direct bidding.
  2. Programmatic Social: Programmatic ads are placed for social media advertising on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media networks.
  3. Programmatic Video:  Programmatic ads can be placed on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and other video hosting platforms.
  4. Programmatic Native: Visually appealing and info-rich sponsored content that matches the format of the platform on which it is displayed.
  5. Mobile Programmatic: Mobile programmatic, the automatic buying and selling of mobile ad inventory, is the fastest growing type of programmatic advertising.

Benefits of Programmatic Media Buying

Programmatic advertising allows companies like yours to unlock the following benefits:

  • Increasing click-through and conversion rates of your ad campaigns
  • Reducing the cost of customer acquisition
  • Freeing-up teams from the burden of manual media buying
  • Working smarter and having more time to focus on things that really matter
  • Taking advantage of the latest machine learning technology to predict customer behavior for real-time targeting
  • Gaining more transparency and control over your campaigns
  • Increasing your reach through synchronized cross-channel campaigns
  • Saving on ad exchange and DSP fees
  • Gaining additional data for insights and analysis, improving your campaigns and offers
Example of Audi's programmatic advertisement

Audi used programmatic advertising and more personalized ads to achieve conversion rates four times higher than traditional advertising. (Source)

Technology for Programmatic Media Buying

The market is full of programmatic advertising platforms. They are called ad exchanges and bring together advertisers, publishers, data, and ad servers. Some of the world’s leading ad exchanges include Google AdX, OpenX, PubMatic, MoPub, AOL Marketplace, Rubicon Project, and Smaato, along with many others. The components of an ad exchange include the following types of software:

  • Demand Side Platform (DSP): A Demand Side Platform (DSP) is the bridge between an advertiser and an ad exchange. Advertisers can set up the variables and data points that they want to use for displaying their ads. When correctly configured, a DSP makes sure that your ads are shown to the right people at the right times on the right channels, so you may maximize revenue and ROI. 
  • Supply Side Platform (SSP): SSP is software that allows ad networks publishers to sell display, mobile and video ad impressions to advertisers in real time, automatically. It ensures that ad space is always sold to the highest bidder, so that a publisher maximizes revenue.
  • Data Management Platform (DMP): SSPs and DSPs need data to sell or serve ads. A Data Management Platform (DMP) collects, stores, sorts, and serves data as requested by the SSP or DSP.
Example of a demand-side platform's webpage

MediaMath is one of the leading Demand Side Platforms, along with Amazon AAP, LiveRamp, Choozle, BrightRoll, as well as many others.

How A Programmatic Media Buyer Helps You Select the Best DSP

Unless you are a Fortune-500 Company, you’ll need a third-party DSP for participating in real-time bidding. Bigger enterprises can design their customized DSP, something that is out of reach for most small businesses. A programmatic media buyer helps you select the best DSP for your business needs. Here are some of the factors we consider at Josh Meah & Co when selecting or recommending the best demand-side software:

  • Your target audience
  • Your desired reach
  • Alignment between the DSP, your segmentation, and targeting data
  • The cross-channel reach and publisher relationships of the DSP 
  • The quality of customer support a DSP provides
  • Support for the DMP and CMP by the DSP
  • The ability to prevent programmatic ad fraud
  • Fee structure and transparency

Ways to Buy Programmatic Media 

A programmatic media buyer should be able to assist your company in setting up and automating media buying in the following ways.

  1. Real Time Bidding (RTB): Most programmatic media buying is conducted through a process of real-time bidding. It means that ad prices are decided within the time that it takes a user to click a link and open a webpage—less than 100ms.
  2. Private Marketplace (PMP): Similar to real-time bidding except that only selected advertisers can access private marketplaces. PMP advertising is slated for double-digit growth in 2021, mainly because it’s much less prone to fraud than open auction RTB.
  3. Programmatic Direct: Sometimes a publisher skips auctions altogether and offers ad space at a fixed CPM directly to advertisers or agencies.
  4. Programmatic Guaranteed: Programmatic Guaranteed is a type of media buying where the media buyer commits to buying a fixed number of impressions and the publisher agrees to deliver the same for a set price. 

Programmatic Media Buying Process

At Josh Meah & Company, we follow a three-stage process for programmatic media buying. 

Pre-launch Stage

Planning is the most important phase of the programmatic media buying process. We must understand your customers, goals, and business model before we can target the right digital channels and serve relevant ads that generate traffic and conversions. During this stage, we

  • Use a modern ad-tech stack comprising customer insight tools to identify your target audience and the best ways to reach it
  • Research your competitors and their media buying strategies to uncover whom they targeted, what worked as well as didn’t
  • Work with your team to design a customized creative strategy including the topics, timings, format, and goals of the content you’ll need
  • Design a media buying strategy that includes the types of advertising, media networks, and targeting parameters, looking at contextual, behavioral, and demographic targeting as well as retargeting
  • Select media outlets for open auction bidding and suggest the best DSPs to advertise on them
  • Negotiate prices for PMP and direct programmatic advertising
  • Decide the budget and plan how the campaign will be executed
The Programmatic Advertising environment.

Programmatic Advertising Strategy (Source

Launch Stage

At this stage, the media buyer must ensure effective ad delivery and transparency. It should monitor the campaign continuously and make improvements by allocating more resources to the channels and ads that work while pulling back from those that don’t. During this phase, we

  • Monitor the performance of RTB, PMP, Direct, and other types of programmatic campaigns and balance the advertising mix to achieve the best performance
  • Respond to changes in customer behavior and competitor advertising and then align the settings, budget, and media outlets with real-time market conditions
  • Determine attribution of marketing actions, and in which combination or sequence, influence a customers take certain actions
  • Track placement to make sure that ads appear in the right places, before the right audience, and at the right time
  • Use industry knowledge, strategies, and tools to detect and prevent mobile ad fraud
Evolve your analytics with Amazon QuickSight's new APIs and theming  capabilities | AWS Big Data Blog

Amazon’s AWS Quicksight dashboard—what a typical programmatic dashboard looks like.

Post-Launch Learning Stage

Programmatic media buying is based on data and, in turn, yields tons of data. Once a campaign is over, we slice and dice the data and measure the performance in terms of delivery, ROI, customer engagement, channels, and networks. We draw meaningful insights that you can use to optimize future campaigns and to improve your value delivery processes. While we analyse the data, we ask the following questions:

  • Which inventory delivers the best combination of response and cost for a given audience? 
  • Which buying strategies work best?
  • What changes need to be incorporated into the DSP when bidding for impressions?
  • Which creative designs worked best and which ones did not perform well? And why?

Do You Need a Programmatic Media Buyer?

If you want to take advantage of programmatic advertising but don’t know much about it, Josh Meah and his team can help. Contact us to learn more about our programmatic media buying and advertising services and the results we can expect to achieve for your business.

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