You may have noticed that Buzzfeed created, well, a bit of a buzz in the online publishing industry lately for an unexpected reason.
After years of pushing back against banner advertising, the media giant has embraced them once again. The reason? While “native” style advertising, custom-written and designed to fit with the look and feel of the editorial content performs very well, it’s also extremely difficult to scale. This is due to the simple fact that it’s highly time and labor intensive for publishers to accommodate.
With ad profits shrinking, BuzzFeed has gone full circle and reintroduced not only banner ads, but programmatic banner ads.
Before we look at why, let’s take a look at what this means.
What is Programmatic Advertising?
Programmatic ad buying basically means cutting out the ‘real person’ element and instead using a machine to buy ads for your site. Using specialized software, you skip the usual process of human negotiation, RFPs and manual insertion orders completely. Instead, you set the parameters you want, and let the computer do the hard graft of selecting and placing the kind of ads you’ve specified alongside your content.
How it Can Help
Any kind of automation can help streamline your workload and save you time and money, but when it comes to ad placement, it’s a no-brainer.
Once you’ve figured out what kind of ads you want on your site, how much you expect to earn and so on, physically managing this process for every new ad placement is pretty inefficient. Far better to redirect your resources towards the stuff that taxes the gray matter – content creation, editorial strategy, marketing and so on.
Why the Resistance?
Given the benefits, you might reasonably wonder: why isn’t everyone jumping on board? The simple answer is that programmatic advertising, as with any automated alternative that removes skill directly from the equation, tends to get frowned upon – at least, at first.
Right now, some in the publishing industry are reluctant to embrace programmatic advertising because they feel it lacks the prestige that comes with landing a big-name client through hard graft, networking and negotiation.
But the fact is, more and more big-name brands are switching to programmatic advertising anyway. Take Target, Unilever and L’Oreal to name but three. From an advertisers point of view, it’s an easy, straightforward, simple-to-scale way of assigning your marketing budget while keeping a firm grip on expenses and overseeing all your ad spend in one place.
And, of course, wherever your clients go, it makes sense to follow.
Building Programmatic Ads Into Your ROI Tracking
The great thing about programmatic ads is that they are highly predictable and rapid to place, making it infinitely easier for you to keep track of what you’re earning, as well as what you’re spending. Lead times shrink and payment structures are simplified, meaning it’s simpler than ever to keep tabs on important things like ad revenue on a single page of content – and of course, ROI.
Remember, though: to get the most value from this, whatever programmatic ad provider you choose to use must be fully integrated with your content distribution platform. This platform must be able to aggregate your data in one place, allowing you to monitor and measure all your campaigns centrally, without leaving the interface. It must also allow you to keep track of all the different ads you’re working with, and – crucially – give you a way to attribute each revenue path to each source of cost.
By getting all your data and your analytics in one place, you can truly harness the potential of automation to become a lean, mean, profit-generating machine.