Birds eye view

Why programmatic buying isn’t the end for traditional advertising methods

By Ben Foster, Managing Partner for Digital 

Innovation doesn’t make established best practices redundant. Everyone thinks that once there is a new way of doing things that, the old will disappear instantly, but the reality is that there is a considerable delay between early adopters and the mass market. The current trend is that with immediate effect, AI will automate everything, people will lose their jobs and ways of working will fundamentally change. Whilst I agree that is the direction of travel, it will be a more steady evolution for many outside the tech bubble.  

But this isn’t yet another AI article clogging up your newsfeed; I want to talk about programmatic buying. Much like the current AI chat, when programmatic buying of OOH became possible, people spoke as though the old approaches would be wiped out quicker than the Dodo. It wasn’t the case, nor will it be the case for the foreseeable. Whether it is traditional print and paste, bespoke murals, or just traditionally bought digital OOH, they all still have their place on media plans. But if that’s the case, then why bother with pDOOH when it’s a higher CPM? 

pDOOH does have advantages around greater control over what messages appear where and when. It takes dynamic creative to the next level. It allows planners to use audience location data to buy individual sites based on when there is high footfall of their target customers. Its agility lends itself to reactive campaigns, extensive creative testing and campaigns targeting niche audiences where there would otherwise be substantial wastage. However, there are roles for traditional OOH to build cost-effective reach and frequency and bespoke executions to build PR and fame. In fact, for most plans, they will still make up the majority of spend.  

What about programmatic audio? Well, a lot of the same points apply around price, audience and user cases, but there are other advantages. Buying audio this way can be an excellent entry point for lower-spending campaigns needing tangible outcomes. We can track site visits on the same device, undertake brand uplift studies and even use special formats to engage audiences, such as Adswizz Shakeme.  

And finally, the much talked about Connected TV a platform allowing advertisers to get on the hero screen of the living room without Clearcast approval. Unsurprisingly, all the same points apply yet again, but there are interesting opportunities around targeting both lookalikes and sequentially cross-platform at a household level – also, measurement around incrementality driven by different channel exposure combinations. 

So is programmatic the new default way to buy? Absolutely not. However, for the right brief, it can be an interesting test within our 70:20:10 planning model and in 10 years time, it will be the core approach to buying, probably with AI at its core!