Programmatic may have started with open exchanges and real-time bidding, but it has now advanced well beyond that. Today, programmatic methods of buying have emerged to meet the needs of brands. A much greater diversity of inventory is now available in display, mobile and video. And with skyrocketing growth rates of both mobile and video, programmatic buying may soon serve the majority of inventory demands across screens.

June 2015

How can brands be there in the moment of opportunity on any screen and in any channel? Programmatic buying helps brands engage audiences wherever they may be at any given time. The most fitting impression for a brand campaign could be on a smartphone, tablet or desktop via display, mobile web, in-app or video. With this reach across screens, channels and formats, programmatic can make a real-time decision to show a mobile video ad to one person while showing a display ad on a tablet device to another, based on what will drive the most impact.

The emergence of premium inventory available through programmatic buying also ensures brands connect with their audiences in brand-safe environments. As newer inventory — like linear TV — becomes available programmatically, brands can enhance their campaigns with high-impact formats. In the not-so-distant future, organisations will be able to use programmatic buying to evaluate premium inventory like this on a level playing field with all other media channels and have even greater flexibility to reach the right person, at the right moment, in the right context.

Consumers don't think about search, display, mobile and video separately, so brands that want to keep pace with the audience shouldn't either. Here's what organisations can do to reach audiences and have the greatest impact.

1. Transition digital buying to programmatic buying

To start, consider using programmatic buying for digital buys where possible. Depending on the desired mix of control and scale, brands can use the optimal buying option, be it open auction or programmatic direct buys.

2. Unify display, mobile and video campaigns

Programmatic allows brands to focus on the audience, and move formats and channels to the background. Take advantage of efficient access to the skyrocketing amount of high-impact mobile and video inventory available through programmatic means.

3. Have multiple ad formats ready to use

Prepare dynamic ads to run in all ad sizes, build them using HTML5 to deliver ads across screens and produce video ads for programmatic placement. Look for opportunities to pair highly creative units to programmatic direct deals. This will allow you to have the most reach across multiple touchpoints.

The advantage in taking these steps is that brands no longer have to decide ahead of time where a message will get the best response. Instead, ads can fluidly reach each person in the audience at the best time, place and channel for that person. If that happens to be in the morning on a smartphone on YouTube, then programmatic buying can deliver a mobile video ad. If that happens to be during primetime TV on a tablet on a news website, then programmatic buying can deliver an HTML5 ad. As audiences adopt new types of connected devices and consume content in new ways, programmatic technologies will adapt to those, too. In summary, programmatic helps you maximise reach and relevancy, working to create the best experience for you and your target audience.