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Programmatic Advertising: Here’s everything you need to know

Laura Cecil

August 19, 2019

Forget what advertising in the future looks like, let’s start thinking about what it will sound like.

Having the ability to target a customer at the right time, right place and in the right context has always been the focus for brands when targeting customers. Since the outset, programmatic advertising has given companies the opportunity to reach prospective customers in real time, with engaging and relevant content. The various types of programmatic advertising come with different advantages. One of which is programmatic audio, with benefits that are just too strong to ignore. 


The process of ad buying is now cheaper, faster and simpler for companies than ever before and it’s estimated that by 2020, programmatic advertising will account for 68% of digital media globally, as brands now see this form of advertising playing a key part of their media strategies. This comes as programmatic ads are now seen and used as high value inventory for companies to share, via a private marketplace. This allows marketers to offer their ads to a selected group of people giving greater targeting capabilities and decreasing amounts of brand damage. So, it is fair to say that optimising and advancing your targeting through the use of programmatic ad is a key strategy to reaching more potential customers. 


Although both video and audio programmatic have seen huge growth, surprisingly the confidence in the understanding and use of programmatic audio is at a low. Moreover, only 15% of marketers feel confident in their understanding of programmatic audio. This lack of confidence means that the true potential goes unrecognised as people are unaware of the competitive edge that programmatic audio brings, resulting in this form of advertising being underused. 


In recent years there has been an immense expansion in voice activation devices. Globally 100 million Alexa devices have been sold, along with the use Siri being on half a billion devices. This indicates a transitional trend in the public’s attitudes towards voice activation devices and an extensive growth in the market with great potential still yet to be fulfilled. Voice activation devices, such as the Google Home or the Amazon Echo, have recognised the growing market and have enhanced user experience through offering a free music-streaming service for all device owners, but what’s the catch? 

The Amazon Echo has very strict guidelines and regulations in place for what ads can and can’t be used, giving very narrow use for advertising. In early April of this year,  Amazon rolled out an ad-supported version of Amazon Music available for all Echo users. The roll-out of the ad-supported Amazon music has been made as an exception, under the condition that the voice does not sound like or refer to Alexa and that the listeners are fully aware that they will receive ads when using the free streaming-service.  This gives listeners the benefit to listen to a selection of playlists and stations, but more importantly gives advertisers the means to reach new audiences. Despite being in its infancy, voice tech is becoming increasingly popular. It is predicted that by 2020, voice activation will make up 50% of all searches. 


There is also an extensive audience in streaming services on mobile and desktop devices. Spotify alone currently hosts 200 million listeners every month, with only half of this number paying for the premium ad-free package. With the growing number of people using music streaming, it gives advertisers the opportunity to personalise ads based on what the user listens to, making it a much more effective method of advertising. The nature of streaming also poses the benefit that it can be streamed at anytime giving much more exposure to the ad, in comparison to radio and TV that air at specific times. Along with this it gives the freedom to advertisers to be specifically niche with their targeting, as you know what your audience is most likely to be engaged with. 


Spotify and other streaming services not only offer music to users but also give the option for users to listen to a variety of podcasts. Over the years there has been reported exponential growth in podcasts. Research conducted by Acast, the fastest growing podcast marketplace in the world, stated that over the past month a quarter of adults in the UK have listened to a podcast. A further 76% then said they followed up on an ad. 

The use of podcasts gives advertisers contextual opportunities and the ability to reach a variety of listeners and topics covering every interest. Podcasts offer a variety of delivery, from convincing ads read by the host to spot ads. This, as well as its high degree of transparency, is  why 75% of advertisers are planning to increase spend on this form of advertising in the next 12 months


Here at Agent3 we are heavily invested in programmatic advertising, offering our broad spectrum of customers the guarantee of transparency and control over their ads. Using our expertise, we currently offer programmatic display, remarketing and geo-fenced ads, which help to give our customers greater targeting opportunities. Although we do offer programmatic advertising, programmatic audio is a field that we are still yet to branch out to. However we look forward to growing this arm of the business as the capabilities are already in place for us to do so.

It may come as a surprise that programmatic audio has yet to live up to its huge potential. This potential that allows one to express a brand’s personality more easily, leaving a long lasting memorable impression than through the written word. So forget what advertising in the future looks like, let’s start thinking about what it will sound like.

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