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Beyond Programmatic Buying There Is Programmatic Creation

Programmatic Buying is one of those big fancy buzzwords that are moving around the industry and driving people crazy for some time now. At the moment, the use of programmatic ads is still at a low level, but that is no reason to underestimate its true potential. Let’s have a look into the future of TV advertising.

To explore this potential, one needs to see beyond Programmatic Buying to something that could be called “Programmatic Creation”. While the first one describes the process, where an advertising spot is automatically placed, based on the best target audience fit, Programmatic Creation additionally tailors this same spot to optimize its effectiveness.

Just think of the following example: As Fernbach et al. (2013) found out, the right degree of explanatory complexity is very important when marketing a new product – but it depends on the cognitive reflection of the audience. In other words: If you talk to experts, increase complexity; if you talk to novices, decrease it. Let’s say that some data analysis found two perfect spots to place an ad. We are buying them and have already optimized our marketing budget. To this point, we are talking about Programmatic Buying. Now imagine that we are selling a new car and one spot is at a quiz show, while the other one is at a car manufacturer documentary. Based on more data (like the information at the beginning), the ad is automatically adjusted. One is pointing out the awesome new driving experience, while the other one describes all the technical features. Here, we have created two different ads, based on the specific environment. We achieved a way better efficiency and sales outcome by targeting the ad almost 100% to the audience. That is no longer just Programmatic Buying, but rather Programmatic Creation.

So, is this really only some future talk? Not entirely.
The necessary information is already there, one just needs to collect them – may it be scientific research or just some handy A/B tests. Programmatic Buying also still exists. If you combine them with some smart algorithms, you have a powerful engine (like we did with Placedise ;-) ). What is still missing in this picture is the ability to adjust content on the fly. Of course, you can simply create a lot of different ads for all the different possible audiences, and this will be necessary (Unliver lately did so, see here). However, many adjustments should and could be done by the machines as well. Technology that dynamically renders products into existing audiovisual content or changes parts (like text) of banner ads is already available (e.g. Mirriad). The big challenge will be to consider those many possibilities while creating awesome advertising campaigns. It will no longer just be about having some smart idea of a 30 seconds video, but taking all those channels and adjustments into account. In fact, that is one of the hot spots where awesome and creative advertising experts will be needed in this upcoming programmatic environment.

Need one more example? Imagine the following: Due to the analysis of historical data and empirical studies, we know that we can achieve a tremendous shift in attitude (and that’s the brand’s main goal) for product X if we add a background product placement to the TV series Y in scene Z. Now imagine this to be analysed, planned and executed fully automated within seconds!

What is the true potential of “Programmatic”?

It is not just about finding the best place to advertise instead of always picking “prime time”. It is about focusing 100% on the audience. It is about providing a perfect user experience – from the first contact to the final sale any beyond. It is about efficiency in every aspect and last but not least about lifting advertising to a new level. Even the possibilities are already there, it will take some more years until the technology can be really used at a larger and automated scale – but the future shines bright.


Some more background facts about this post:
First, this post focuses on Programmatic in TV and Video. Second, some days ago, the German expert ad magazin W&V published an article by Marcus Weber about „Programmatic Creative“ (see here). Just then, my article was reviewed by an US magazine. In the end, it got rejected there and now at least made it to my blog. Bottom line: Seems to be not only me, who recognizes this trend… ;-)

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