Why Buyer Clout Matters in a Programmatic World
The rise of programmatic media buying to a point of nearly complete dominance has been well documented throughout the years. With mobile being the new poster child of programmatic – eMarketer projects that by next year, 75% of all programmatic display ads will be mobile, with programmatic video following suit – it is becoming increasingly relevant in the user acquisition space.
While “programmatic” still tends to carry the notion of the future of advertising as a free marketplace for algorithm-driven, hyper-targeted campaigns, it is important to keep in mind that programmatic advertising today is both diverse and truly ubiquitous. If you log into your Facebook Ads Manager and set up an app install campaign, you are making a programmatic media buy. And in the widest sense, “programmatic” is simply the automation of certain aspects of the media buying process. This automation can make media buying faster and more efficient, and allow for the consideration of granular data at scale for better buying decisions. But oftentimes, programmatic is not the auction of individual ad impressions on a truly open exchange via Real-Time Bidding that many associate with the term.
In their Mobile Programmatic Playbook, the IAB published a classification of various programmatic markets, mapping the different options for the media buyer as a function of the parties involved in the process.
It is interesting to note that the aforementioned media buy through Facebook – the largest programmatic player – can take various forms of the “Private Auction”, even though it is possible to buy at a fixed price. Likewise, most programmatic inventory you’ll encounter on mobile will not come from an open exchange where a cloud of individual publishers competes for ad dollars in a way similar to the advertisers competing for inventory.
For mobile media buyers, this means that the majority if not all of their programmatic inventory will continue to come from a limited number of distinct media sources that resemble a setup of the traditional ad networks, as well as direct publishers. It also means that they can build direct relationships with these distinct media sources, who have an interest in building an offering of premium inventory based on their proprietary first party data.
At the same time, a relationship with each media source – be it direct or through an agency – gives mobile advertisers the opportunity to better leverage their buying power. Based on their clout, they can negotiate better deals, guaranteed performance or exclusivity, or get first look privileges on inventory that’s high in demand while benefitting from a streamlined, programmatic buying process.
In this scenario, mobile attribution adds transparency to the user funnel beyond the media buy. As an unbiased third party, your attribution platform delivers tangible KPIs that help you hold your media sources accountable for the traffic they deliver. And finally, mobile attribution is pivotal in generating your own first party data, which can be leveraged to optimize your programmatic acquisition and re-engagement campaigns. Ultimately, programmatic success hinges on data, and mobile attribution plays a crucial role in this equation.