Programmatic: A Growing Part of Social Media Strategy

Previously I wrote about “Paid Social Media: Why You Need It And What Is Available.” In that post I discuss declining organic reach, the importance of adding native advertising to social media strategy and provide a guide to the current paid social media options. In this post I will discuss programmatic – a growing way to buy native ads or paid social media.

You may have heard about programmatic in terms of advertising media buying. Now 72% of U.S. online and mobile display spending is programmatic and it is moving into other media such as online video, TV, radio and even digital outdoor. So it should be no surprise that programmatic is also in social media like Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn. MediaPost reports that social advertising is the fastest growing programmatic channel ahead of display and mobile.

What is programmatic exactly? IAB says programmatic is automated buying and selling of media being sold by “one machine talking to another machine.” Marking Land says programmatic automates the decision process of media buying targeting specific audiences and demographics placed with artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB). Programmatic media buying is in online display, mobile display, online video, social media advertising, and is expanding to digital outdoor, radio and TV.

Monica Lay of Adobe Social Advertising Solutions further clarifies that programmatic advertising has two distinct methods:

  1. Real Time Bidding (RTB): Auction-based ad transactions based on real-time impressions in open and private marketplaces.
  2. Programmatic Direct: Ads purchased via a publisher-owned application program interface (API) like Facebook and Twitter or an existing demand-side platform (DSP) like DoubleClick Ad Exchange or MediaMath.

What difference can programmatic make? More precise targeting and more efficient spending. Dean Jayson in The Huffington Post explains that Programmatic media buying can use online data (like browsing activity) and offline data (like loyalty card data) to laser target the placement of ads. Data brokers match offline data with online data and license data management platforms (DMP) to organize the data and use demand side platforms (DSP) to automate the execution of media buys.

This targeting based on data profile is different than targeting based on content. Jayson gives the example of a dog food brand buying ads on a cute puppy site. Many visitors just like looking at cute puppies, but may not have a dog to feed The marketer pays for impressions to the wrong target and the consumer sees an ad that is irrelevant. Programmatic is more precise by targeting consumers with a history of purchasing dog food (online or in-store).

Programmatic automation also saves marketers time. They set their target audience and forget it. The DSP finds the audience freeing up marketers’ time to focus on creating valuable and relevant content. Jayson says that programmatic data based targeting costs roughly half of content based targeting.

Programmatic brings these same benefits to social media channels. Ben Plomion, CMO of GumGum recommends programmatic in social because he says “to compete in today’s hyper-competitive online media world, you can’t sit back and wait for the traffic to come to you.” Social media marketers run more effective campaigns through automated buying and by reaching a precise audience with highly relevant messages. Plomion gives the example of Red Bull targeting videos to Twitter feeds of people who have viewed extreme sports sites.

Yet programmatic isn’t limited to buying ads and promoted posts on social media networks. Programmatic native advertising enables brands to place sponsored articles and videos directly through publishers like BuzzFeed, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Additionally a recent survey indicates native programmatic budgets are going to programmatic native platforms like Outbrain, Taboola, Sharethrough, Nativo and Bidtellect that place sponsored content across the web. These platforms boost brand content serving up links to sponsored articles with messages below publisher content saying, “you may also be interested in…”

Still programmatic social goes even further. Beyond social network ads and paid content marketing, influencer marketing offers programmatic ad buying. Adweek reports that ROI Influencer Media (representing 10,0000 influencers from celebrities to social media all stars) has partnered with programmatic platforms like Rubicon Project, PubMatic, OpenX, MediaMath and Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange. When buying programmatic ad packages, bundles of influencers appear as options where marketers pay for viewable impressions on influencers’ social media sites and walls. Authenticity is preserved through influencers still having final approval and control over their feeds.

Startups like Fanbytes are offering a programmatic Snapchat influencer marketing platform. Their dashboard enables marketers to bid on influencer ads programmatically buying branded content on influencer’ social media pages, blog pages, and websites. Not all influencers have to be mega celebrities. The startup Gnack offers programmatic buying of user-generated content from Snapchat and Instagram micro-influencers with less than 10,000 followers. These micro influencers can be very effective at reaching niche audiences based on campaign objectives, target demographics and preferred hashtags.

With increased content clutter and declining organic reach attracting an audience in social media can be problematic. But programmatic is an attractive way to boost reach and relevancy. How can programmatic improve your social media efforts?

As Smartphone Ownership Crosses 50% And Mobile Ad Spending Jumps 80% Keep 3 Key Measures In Mind

A new report by eMarketer estimates that U.S. Mobile-ad spending is projected to grow 80% this year, to $2.61 billion. What is driving this growth? The Pew Internet Project just released a report saying smartphone ownership has just crossed the 50% threshold to 53% of U.S. mobile consumers. And people are using those data plans. From 2010 to 2011 U.S. Smartphone data usage was up 89%.

As smartphone ownership increases more and more people are using their phones for search, web browsing and use of applications – that is where mobile marketing comes in. According to the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network. The MMA says mobile now includes advertising and media, direct response, promotions, relationship management, CRM, customer services, loyalty and social marketing. It can also engage to start relationships, acquire, generate activity, stimulate social interaction with organizations and community members, [and] be present at time of consumers expressed need.

The old way of thinking about mobile media is mobile advertising where you bring old school Internet banners and TV ads to the tiny screens of mobile devices. The new way takes full advantage of the new technology capabilities of mobile. It makes marketing on a mobile device interactive. With this definition in mind some of the measures of effectiveness of the Internet are very applicable to mobile media. I believe that ease of use, perceived usefulness and speed of interactivity are all important factors in measuring the efficacy and effectiveness of mobile marketing interaction.

1. Ease of Use is an important factor in measuring its effectiveness whether you are making an iPhone app or a text message pizza ordering system. Is the organization and structure of the marketing app logical and easy to follow? Is the app name or text to address easy to remember? Are the terms and conditions of a promotion easy to understand? Is content concise and easy to understand? Is learning to use the system or app easy, clear and understandable?

2. Perceived Usefulness is another important measure in mobile. People will not download an app, pay attention to rich-media ads or watch a video if it is not perceived as useful to them. Is your mobile marketing going to improve their shopping experience (I.E. get coupons, information at the point of purchase)? Will it increase shopping productivity (I.E. book a flight while waiting in line)? Or will it increase shopping effectiveness (I.E. pick out movies before you get to Redbox)? The best mobile marketing are the ones build around a consumer’s needs.

3. Navigability is also an effective measure because of the new uses of mobile. If voting for your favorite American Idol contestant was hard to navigate less people would do it. Is the layout intuitive and is the order of information clear? By now everyone knows they need to develop mobile enabled websites that meet the navigation requirements of the small screen.

Search, display (which includes spending on banner and rich-media ads) and video are expected to grow their share this year at the expense of SMS, MMS and P2P messaging, which are expected to drop according to eMarketer’s estimates. Search is expected to take up 50% of spending next year followed by banners and rich media at 35%. Video and SMS/MMS/P2P finish out ad spending at 8% and 6% respectively. If you are diving deeper into mobile this year or next, keep the three key measures above in mind.