Programmatic advertising and its role in the media industry

Press Coverage

Programmatic advertising and its role in the media industry


October 21, 2016

Some parts of the world have adapted programmatic advertising, but India still has a long to way to go.

The objective of any advertiser is to connect with the right audience at the right time, with the right media, showing the right creative. And to do that, one needs to practise the art of programmatic.

Programmatic isn’t some new, shiny technology, poised to take over the world. As someone once said, it’s really ‘the gluten of advertising.’ Everyone talks about it, everyone knows it’s important, but, at the end of the day, no one knows what it means, exactly. Programmatic isn’t going to reinvent how we do business, who succeeds and who fails, or which brands forge ahead in the months to come.

It is, at its most basic, machine buying in the digital advertising space—think tapping into software and other systems to buy ads. It’s more efficient, reliable and easier to track and there’s greater potential for increased personalisation, real-time relevance delivery, and, ultimately, less audience waste. With programmatic buying one can just have a machine to contend with instead of a digital salesperson—advertisers can ‘buy ads the way they pick up something on Amazon or bid on eBay.’

BestMediaInfo.com tries to find out the role of programmatic in the media industry.

From a perspective of actually defining programmatic advertising, it started off as something that will track user behaviour and provide them with relevant ads, says John Thankamony, Head Programmatic, Mindshare.


John Thankamony

Thankamony added, “As of 2016, the definition has really broadened, including not just audience behaviour but also automated buying of any sort. Programmatic buying is a more efficient way of buying using tools which have been crafted to ensure that you reach the right audience, have the right measurements in place and effectively get most of your digital advertising.”

Programmatic is a set of tools. When someone says that programmatic hasn’t worked for me it means that the set-up that has been done hasn’t worked for him or her. A client or an advertiser needs to understand where their audience is and where they need to follow. Programmatic will efficiently and effectively allow you to reach them.

Different clients are at different points of their journey and have different requirements. There are performance kinds of clients, there are clients who need reach, and there are clients who ensure that their reach is instrumental to TV and so on.

Thankamony added, “From a programmatic perspective, the challenge and the opportunity is to make sure that we can actually customise our offerings. What Mindshare is looking to do is to meet the clients’ requirements and needs.”

Since the programmatic base is very small, one sees an exponential growth in the market year on year. Marketers are very keen to try it out but come in with half-baked knowledge and unrealistic expectations set by multiple partners in the market – on many occasions end up being disappointed with it.


Tanushree Radhakrishnan

According to Tanushree Radhakrishnan, National Head, Strategy and Programmatic, Performics.Resultrix, “The programmatic industry is at a very nascent stage in India, with many definitions of programmatic floating in the market. Thus far, those providing such services in India have been pure DSPs or a couple of trading desks. Very few marketers exist who have actually used it across the whole consumer journey. The real difference shall arise when data comes into the play and this has not been the case in India.”

Radhakrishnan says the other challenge is the fact that most marketers link programmatic to performance and has search metrics as a yardstick for leads/conversions/sales etc. For instance, they end up seeking targeting above and beyond GDN when trying out DBM with Google. However, lack of rich third party data and adaptation of ad-technology and measurement act as deterrents to adoption.

Adding further, Radhakrishnan, said, “Lack of willingness to share data by clients is not helping the situation either. So greater adoption for the medium will actually start happening when different parties integrate data and advertisers are better equipped to look at programmatic as a better way of buying media and reaching out to the right audience, at the right time and the right moment.”

While TV and outdoor buying through programmatic is still far-fetched, Performics is surely educating its clients and through integration of first-party advertiser data, bringing out amazing possibilities in the digital world. In partnership with a few early adopter marketers, the agency is in process of deploying its own data management platform and investing in data, technology and creative to deliver high ROI for its’ clients. The next couple of years will definitely see an increase in the adoption rate and significant growth in the marketplace.


Anita Nayyar

On the other hand, Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media, India and South Asia, said, “As far as Havas is concerned, we are actually practicing programmatic and have an internal platform also on the basis of which we run the campaigns for clients. The point is that everything is moving in that direction. With monies become restricted, it is becoming important to serve the right fitment to the right person at the right time. ‘Right’ is the word as long as programmatic is concerned. Currently, in India, programmatic is practiced on the digital platform and slowly I think we will see it on television and print.”

As an agency, Havas is embracing programmatic so much so that they are internally training its employees for that. Neena Dasgupta, CEO and Director, Zirca Digital Solutions, felt that programmatic is a buzzword that is interpreted in the most complex ways.


Neena Dasgupta

"Technically, it’s reaching the right audience segment for your ad and customising the communication based on behaviour patterns. It’s basically a display campaign executed using data. Inventory will be traded either programmatically or directly. India is still to reach its potential and is way off from its tipping point in the programmatic space. When I say it’s a buzzword, I am not marginalising its relevance but focusing on the fact that it’s an enhanced means of display execution. The technology behind it is complex, but that is not what gets discussed ever.”

Some parts of the world are already living programmatic but India is nowhere close. Adobe, which has been a key driver of programmatic, has already introduced various tools for agencies and brands to use and make most of. Other digital solutions companies are also doing programmatic but India has a long way to go. While programmatic is only on digital now, it is likely to be replicated to television, print, outdoor and other media.

This article originally appeared on Best Media Info.

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