During a Spotlight presentation at the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, Ashley Bast, VP marketing at Acuity Ads, helped attendees understand the importance of programmatic buying and how marketers who learn to embrace the technology will be well-prepared for the next wave of marketing.
Bast began by putting the relatively new programmatic technology into context as the next in a firmly rooted history of media technology shifts. Beginning with unsolicited telegraph offers in 1864 and leading up to the first banner ad in 1994, Bast reminded attendees that even these perceived drastic shifts (at the time) were eventually widely embraced and became the new normal -- which is what Acuity Ads predicts for programmatic.
Next, Bast explained that while the "what" of marketing hasn't changed and is still firmly rooted in data, insights, and brand strategy, the "how" constantly becomes more sophisticated and effective. As the ways in which marketers reach consumers constantly change, so must their use of available technology evolve to best accommodate this shift. Marketers who don't understand and leverage these changes will get left behind, and Acuity aims to educate and guide marketers through the understanding of programmatic and how marketers can use the technology to build one-to-one consumer engagements at scale.
Programmatic is an automated process of executing media purchases via real-time bidding and programmatic direct. Bast explained that traditional advertising is like "selling surfboards to the landlocked," lacking relevance and wasting valuable impressions on consumers that have no use or interest for a particular product. Acuity Ads' Programmatic Marketing Platform is able to adeptly identify online consumers by demographic, geography, interests, behaviors, and other key traits to effectively target the best online audience for a given campaign. In the example of selling surfboards, Acuity's platform would target consumers who live near the beach, engage with surfing-related content across multiple devices, and could even deliver ads based on whether the weather is sunny in the consumer's location.
For marketers concerned about the "newness" of this technology, Bast pointed to other industries that have used machine-to-machine learning to simplify processes and create a significantly better consumer experience, as noted by examples in the financial and travel industries. He reminded attendees that it wasn't long ago that travelers had to visit a travel agent during business hours to purchase a paper airline ticket -- a process that has been exponentially simplified with the introduction of online travel sites.
Similarly, Acuity Ads' programmatic technology can drastically simplify and improve marketers' efforts by breaking down existing marketplace silos and delivering the right ads to the right consumers on multiple devices, building meaningful engagements and ultimately driving sales. Bast also predicted that technology is evolving so quickly that soon online and offline data will be linked and measured together, enabling marketers to truly compare apples to apples under one platform. He cautioned attendees that failing to embrace programmatic technology will hinder marketers' ability to perform once silos are broken down.
Bast closed by reinforcing the following takeaways for marketers to embrace programmatic and Acuity Ads:
- The "how" of marketing has changed, but the "what" remains true.
- Machine trading and automation is already proven in other industries.
- All media will eventually be sold through programmatic.
- Marketers must move away from silos.
- Marketers need to understand the language of programmatic.