programmaticsolutions

Programmatic Advertising: The Future of the online advertising landscape

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 23 September , 2019
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    • 8 min read

Programmatic advertising is considered to be one of the biggest digital marketing trends in 2019 and Google has predicted that 60% of its advertising budgets will be put towards programmatic by the end of this year. Although programmatic advertising has taken over a fair share of the digital advertising space, there is still a level of uncertainty among many marketers. The main reason for this is the lack of information when it comes to programmatic advertising and the reluctance in letting go of traditional advertising methods. So how can programmatic advertising help you take your customer reach to the next level?

What is programmatic advertising?

Today, two important factors that play a crucial role in the success of a business is its marketing techniques and digital advertising tools. Earlier many companies were dependent on offline mediums of advertising, but in recent years digital advertising has become the primary means of marketing for many businesses. Programmatic advertising is taking centre stage when it comes to this type of marketing. 

‘Programmatic’, as the name suggests, is the use of a program or software to buy digital space/inventories. Not only is this process more cost-effective but it is also incredibly efficient. There was a time when the process of advertising involved numerous sub-processes and human negotiations that resulted in a lot of delays. But with the use of artificial intelligence, programmatic advertising has made ad buying in the digital space easier than ever. 

How does programmatic advertising work?

In its simplest form, programmatic advertising is an automatic bid on advertising inventory which happens in real time. This is known as real-time bidding. It gives the owner of the ads the freedom to create and optimise the adverts to their liking. However this type of programmatic advertising is just one type, there are other programmatic types that guarantee impressions from specific websites. This is referred to as programmatic direct. 

When a person engages with a programmatic ad, the website publishing the ad bids for an impression in an auction of the ad in the marketplace. This auction is run among the different advertisers who want their ad to be displayed on the webpage. The brand with the highest bid wins. 

Although this auction process may seem time-consuming in theory, the system is automated and the entire auction can happen in milliseconds that it takes for the web page to load. The bids of each of the competing advertisers is pre-programmed into the system. When the customer clicks on the ads, the advertiser will convert this into a sale.

To learn more about programmatic advertising check out our video on how can it help your brand scale your digital marketing efforts. 

Types of creative formats for Programmatic advertising

When it comes to programmatic advertising, there are many different ad formats that companies can use so that they can create the largest impact and scale using creatives. 

Here are a few:

Native video

Many brands prefer native ads because they can be customised to meet the look and feel of the publisher’s page. This can result in better visibility and higher engagement with the ad. Native ads also allow you to reach the market quicker because a set bundle of assets are used to fill in the ad templates.

Youtube ad

In today’s mobile-first world, it can be hard to grab the attention of the audience. Bumper ads a quick and efficient way to give the viewer snippets of your product or service while they are on the go. Insteam ads, on the other hand, can be skippable or non-skippable, based on the objective of the advertiser. These ads are optimised with the help of AL and ML for better traction. They also have the added advantage of tracking post-view floodlight activity conversions for a specified attribution window. 

Lighbox ad

Lightbox ad comes under responsive ads which have the ability to fit to any ad space depending on the display screen. Lightbox ads typically contain galleries with images and videos that enable the customer to effectively engage with the ad. Moreover, lightbox ads streamlines the ad engagement which can be done by clicking or tapping on the ad that is displayed. This way it prevents any accidental engagement.

App Promotion ad

The app install platform helps you to create an ad that helps in increasing the number of app downloads. You can promote your app by creating an interstitial ad containing images or youtube videos, catchy title and suitable description. App Install ads are designed to create awareness about the app and also allows users to directly install the app by engaging with the ad.

Parallax ad

Parallax ads helps you create a distinctive and creative ad display. By utilising the parallax animation effect, you can display different images in layers with description. Users can view the entire ad only if they scroll down screen. Unlike other types of ad, the engagement is measured with the number of users scrolling down for complete information, even if they do not click on the ad.

Audio ad

Audio ads helps in brand awareness for reaching to a wider audience thereby increasing the number of leads. With the availability of different platforms like spotify, Apple music, google play and many more, leveraging audio ads will be a potential ad strategy to improve brand reach.

Flipbook

Flipbbok is a unique way to grab the attention of users with a short video on the mobile screen. This video is as short as five seconds and if the user is interested to learn more about the video, they can tap on the clipping to view the entire video. The video clipping plays  while the user is scrolling down and and while scrolling up the video plays in reverse. Similar to parallax ads, the engagement rate is measured by number of users scrolling, even though they do not click on the ad.

How can your business do Programmatic advertising?

Many consider Programmatic advertising to be the future of digital advertising. A report by Magna global stated that by the end of 2019, 50% of all advertising will be Programmatic. 

So how can your business do Programmatic advertising? Like traditional advertising, there are many factors that a business needs to consider before they implement this. They include:

Set goals

Once you know how and where you are going to implement the programmatic ads, the next step is to set goals. You need to know what you expect to get out of programmatic advertising such as the conversion rate or the click rate and set goals accordingly.

Study the market

As with any medium of advertising, the first step is to study the market. Programmatic ads appear on webpages, apps and audio-video content, to name a few. So, you need to know what type of web pages your customers are visiting as well as what competitors in the same space are doing. This will give you a better understanding of what webpages to target based on the audience personas identified.

Take up a full-funnel approach

Programmatic advertising is a great way to put your brand name out there, hence, it is crucial that your ad appears in the right places to the right audience. It is a good idea to take up a full-funnel approach and target the audience based on the consumer's journey. Pick out the information that brings out the essence of the brand in the ad.

Select your audience

DV360 provides comprehensive targeting options in order to fulfill the campaign objectives. Advertisers have the option of choosing Google-provided audiences for no extra cost, along with first-party audiences or purchase third-party audience, based on the campaign goals. 

How to use your company’s data to your advantage?

With the help of data available on the market, the brand needs to gather behavioural insights to run a successful programmatic campaign. There are three types of data that come into play when thinking about programmatic advertising. The first would be the data collected by the marketer on the customers. The second would be the data gathered by an advertising agency who would use the information to help the brand build its programmatic advertising strategy. The third type of data, also known as third-party data are reports that can be purchased by any company online. 

Brands need to pay close attention to the data they collect as it can give them valuable insights into customer patterns and behaviour. Programmatic advertising can then be targeted based on scale and accuracy. If the target audience is small, the accuracy can be intensified on a small scale or vice versa if the target audience is large. 

When it comes to retargeting existing customers, it is important to use programmatic advertising to give them a story behind the brand rather than information about the product or service as you would with a new customer. But don’t focus solely on retargeting, your programmatic advertising campaign needs to be optimised from start to finish to keep the customer engaged at all times.

Challenges of programmatic advertising

There are many challenges for online advertising and programmatic is no exception to these challenges. Although programmatic advertising is slowly gaining traction, the concept is still in its nascent stage. This is mainly because of lack of information about the concept, where and how to use the technique. 

The next big challenge is , having invested money in ads, it is a natural expectation for brands to reap maximum benefits. But what if your ads are viewed by bots and not real audience? This is called as the AdFraud where your investment on advertisements yields no results. Here is where research and knowledge plays a key role in displaying your ads to the relevant audience. You should make sure that your ads are displayed on reputed and trusted websites, for which you should be sure of the website. 

Brand safety plays a prime role in securing your ads on the webpages. Here are some brand safety methods that you can incorporate for your programmatic advertising.

Brand safety measures

One of the key concerns for many marketers today is brand safety. In recent years many brands have become more vigilant about safety measures which were spurred by the many ads being placed next to political and violent content that often took the focus away from the brand’s message.

Here are a few important tips advertisers can use to ensure that their programmatic ad buys to protect the brand name. 

Invest in private marketplaces

It is recommended that advertisers leverage their relationships with publishers and run ads in the private marketplace (PMP). This is an effective way to purchase programmatic ads because you know exactly who you are purchasing the ads from and where the ads will be placed.

Opt for premium placements

It is crucial for advertisers to escape the vicious cycle of posting their ads in fraudulent and irrelevant websites. Your advertisement should protect the brand’s reputation by making sure you place your ads on premium and trusted web pages. Using brand safety you set a platform for the right audience to engage with your ad.

Whitelists

In contrast to blacklisting certain websites, you can also whitelist them. This is a list of sites that are safe to run your ads on. This may seem like a time-consuming task but there are many exchanges that require websites to complete an intense inventory approval process.

Make use of exclusions in your targeting

Not only do you focus on targeting relevant audience, you should also be aware of your negative targets. Under brand safety tools, you can exclude certain web pages from showing your ad, considering the site to be unsafe for your ad to be displayed.

Ad fraud verification services

Advertisers can use the services of third-party vendors to prevent ad fraud. This feature is present under the "brand safety" tab where you can choose between leading providers like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify and Adloox to prevent your ad from being showing to fraudulent websites while saving up on advertising dollars. 

Is programmatic advertising the future?

Programmatic advertising is definitely on the rise in India in 2019 largely because of the efficiency it provides. Traditional ad campaigns require a lot of iterations and can either be a hit or miss. But with programmatic ad campaigns, brands don’t need to worry about their ad expenditures. The program ensures that money is spent in the best possible way. All you need to do is enter the required information into the software and you are all set. 

Programmatic advertising uses customer’s data and company goals to create and set ads to effectively target the customer base. This type of ad buying frees up more time from brands and agencies that they can use to think more creatively about the customer and how programmatic advertising can be leveraged to engage with India’s next billion Internet users.

 


9 digital marketing trends in India that will shape 2019

  • Divya Premkumar
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  • 25 February , 2019
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    • 6 min read

It’s no secret that the world of digital marketing is constantly in a state of flux. What works today might be completely obsolete tomorrow. If your brand is still continuing to use the same techniques in 2019 as you did in the previous year, expect to see declining results. To ensure your brands stay on top of its digital marketing game this year, here are nine of the most important trends to stay ahead of.

An explosion of vernacular content online

The online space in India is set to get even more colourful and diverse. As even larger numbers of users get access to low-cost internet and affordable mobile phones, there will be a greater demand for internet content in the languages they understand best. To cater to this growing internet audience, brands need to push vernacular to the front and centre of their digital marketing strategy. Right from their websites, to their apps, social media campaigns, performance advertising and even social media listening, Indic languages should be the focus.

Speaking to regional audiences involves more than just taking a brand’s main communication and translating it into various languages. Instead, it requires them to develop communications aimed specifically at these audiences, keeping their unique needs, challenges and desires at the core. Only by doing this can they create that all-important personal connection with consumers. 22 Languages, one of the top vernacular startups, is designed specifically to help brands reach out to a larger audience in vernacular languages.

Read our case study on How Multilingual Ads Helped Generate Higher-Quality Leads With Lower CPL to learn how vernacular techniques can produce unprecedented results for your brand.

Growth of voice search

The seeds of voice search were sowed back in 2018, but it is in 2019 that this trend will fully come into its own. Today, it isn’t just mobile that’s driving voice search, but the proliferation of smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Voice Assistant. The push for voice search will also be coming from the other end of the spectrum, from users who are just starting to use the internet or who might not even know how to type. But regardless of who the audience for voice search is, one thing is certain: SEO as we know it will have to change. Traditional keyword research will become obsolete since user queries will be completely different when using voice search. Voice also means that position zero, the ‘featured snippet’ will become even more coveted. 99% of voice search results draw from the featured snippet, so content creators will have to focus even harder on optimising their content for Google to pick it up. 

Be sure to watch our detailed video on a complete guide to Voice Search Marketing for more tips and insights.

Videos and interactive content

While videos have been around for decades, they have only recently started exploding on digital platforms and social media. In 2019, if your brand doesn’t have a strong repertoire of engaging, high-quality videos, you could be missing out on a sizeable audience. YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine, can become even more essential in 2019. Through techniques like YouTube SEO, brands can ensure that their content is visible to relevant audiences. For tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

But the importance of videos extends beyond just YouTube. Videos on landing pages and in emails have been shown to improve performance and conversions. Facebook is also witnessing a growing popularity of videos. In one survey, around 44% of respondents admitted to watching at least 5 videos every day on the platform.

As videos gain momentum, multiple video formats are also being developed and explored. Interactive videos are emerging as a popular option due to the higher user engagement they deliver. In these videos, users are required to take some form of action which can influence the video. This could be either in terms of the content displayed or the storyline that the video takes. Apart from interactive content, live videos are also creating a stir. Currently, they are available on Instagram and Facebook, while YouTube is also starting to introduce it. Live videos are a great way for brands to showcase ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage and develop a more personal connect with their audience.

Smarter interactive chatbots

Chatbots have been slowly making an entry from 2017, however, chatbots in 2019 will be more intelligent than ever before. Most chatbots currently have a limited script, usually offering a fixed set of options that users can choose from. Once the query is narrowed down, users are often transferred to a human representative to resolve it. With the advent of AI, however, chatbots are likely to completely replace the human aspect previous involved. They are programmed to be smarter, respond to a wide number of queries in a meaningful way and resolve issues without requiring any human intervention. In fact, through AI, chatbots are likely to be able to keep up a long conversation with users without coders having to input a long script beforehand. As the technology matures, you can expect chatbots to become even more ubiquitous as brands capitalise on their low cost and higher efficiency. 

AI for better audience targeting

AI isn’t just for smarter chatbots; it is also becoming the most accurate way for brands to identify their core audience and develop core messaging for them. Through a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence, predictive customer analytics can eliminate much of the guesswork involved with digital marketing.

One way they do this is by assigning a ‘lead score’ to leads generated. AI can analyse large volumes of leads at a time, identify common patterns, group them into various buckets based on their behaviour and help you create hyper-personalised content for them. Since personalisation is key to nurturing leads, AI can almost certainly lead to higher conversions for marketers. AI can also identify similarities in current consumers and generate custom targeting options that marketers can utilise to ensure more accurate delivery of ads. This will help improve the quality of leads generated via digital. 

UX and AMP for desktop 

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) was a crucial mobile ranking factor for websites in 2018. In 2019, the importance of AMP will not be limited to mobiles alone. Google recently made AMP available for desktops versions of websites as well. With this feature, users will be able to enjoy the same speed and easy navigation that AMP offers even while browsing on their desktop.

With the introduction of this feature, it’s time for brands to re-look at their website and how user-friendly it is. By making their websites (or at least critical, content-heavy sections like blogs) AMP-friendly, brands might be able to enjoy greater visibility on search engines. Since AMP pages are also easier for users to navigate through, an improved UX can encourage them to spend more time on the website and learn more information about the brand.

Find out how AMP landing pages helped us achieve a 33% lower cost-per-lead.

Growth of Programmatic Advertising

In 2019, almost 65% of all digital media buying will be programmatic. Programmatic is without a doubt the most cost-effective, efficient way for advertisers to purchase digital ad space. Unlike previous methods which required human intervention and manual bids, programmatic algorithms can determine the best media mix and automatically purchase it. This technology enables marketers to reach a scale previously unthought of. They can target larger audiences over a wider variety of channels with absolutely no time or effort lost. Since it can optimise in real-time, markets can do a lot more with their budgets and reduce their cost-per-leads.

Decline in organic search and traffic

With every new SERP feature that Google introduced, organic traffic takes a hit. Click-through-rates have been steadily dropping and 2019 will be a continuation of this trend. Answer boxes, for instance, answers a user’s query without them having to actually click on a link. So while your page might show up on a featured snippet, you might not notice a significant rise in organic traffic to that page.

So does this mean the sun has set on the SEO empire? Fortunately, no. This just means that marketers will need to re-align their SEO strategy. For example, they will need to start focusing more on creating brand awareness and driving up brand searches. When users start searching for your company’s name, Google cannot prevent users from clicking on your website. It also means tailoring your content specifically for higher click-through rates. You need to give users enough information that Google picks it up and displays it, but not enough for their curiosity to be satisfied. If users are only getting half an answer from your snippet, they are more likely to click on your page to get the full information.

Decline in organic reach on Instagram

Previously, organic reach on Facebook had taken a hit, with pages showing close to zero reach without paid promotions. In 2019, all signs are pointing towards Instagram going down the same route. As Instagram grows in popularity and adds new users every minute, it predictably wants brands to start paying for higher reach. If your company page doesn’t have adequate promotional budgets, then it’s time to scale up this year. But while showcasing your brand on Instagram might become more expensive, it’s still completely worth it. India currently has around 71 million active users and this number is only set to grow from here. Clearly, brands cannot afford to neglect this audience, paid or otherwise.

2019 is proving to be an exciting year for brands, giving them opportunities to experiment with new ad formats and strategies. By taking advantage of these upcoming trends, brands can gain a strong lead over their competition.

This article was originally published in Campaign India.

If you're looking for more information into digital marketing trends that will shape India in 2019, do check out our co-founder Vikas' in-depth video below.

The great thing about the digital space is that trends are always shifting, making space for new trends to come up. Check out our article on the trends we predict will shape 2020.

Social Beat participates in Google Partner Summit in San Francisco

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 14 November , 2016
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    • 3 min read

It was a delightful day when we got the news of being invited for the Google Partner Summit and being upgraded to a Premier Google Partner. So when the time came, Rohit & I packed our bags and took the journey to cover 13,876 kms from Chennai to San Francisco. The journey was not just the distance, but the fact that at the Summit we were amongst 900 partners around the world, who together controlled about 8% of the global digital advertising spend. It was indeed a delightful experience to be part of it.

"Now is our Moment" was an apt theme for the Google Partner Summit with multiple interactions with senior Google product managers and account managers interspersed with knowledge on how to manage talent as well as clients. It was a holistic agenda to help agencies like us succeed.

While a lot of the inputs provided at the Summit were confidential, we have summarized what we are allowed to share. Below were the 5 key takeaways for us:

  1. Be there in the moment - Being there in the moment in the mobile first world is key and there was indeed a lot of discussion on the usual topics of mobile responsivness as well as website speed. There was discussion around the growing adaptation of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and infact Social Beat has already implemented AMP as well. With the responsive ads that Adwords has launched, the ads become a lot more immersive and adaptable to any device/ad unit size allowing brands to be there in the moment.The challenge with mobile has been that almost 75% of the audience start the interaction with the brand on one device, but complete it on another device. So measurement and tracking of ROI becomes a challenge. Fortunately, some tools like Optimizely help us resolve this.
  2. Measure across devices, channels, offline - Measurement being key, there was discussion around multi device, multi channel and offline measurement since many visitors who search online do visit the retail store. We do have an interesting article on how search can help offline and omni channel retailers in India. While store visits as a conversion metric is already live in Google Adwords, there are many more exciting developments that we can watch out for in the online to offline measurement.
  3. Leveraging Video for Brand Building & Sales - There is no doubt that video is the fastest growing medium in the digital space and many brands are creating engaging yet low cost videos for better brand recall and sales. Lucinda Barlow, Global Director of YouTube marketing pointed out that "There are only two things Americans do more than watch video: sleep & work" and that's the reason why digital video is going to be even bigger going forward. YouTube has lined up some interesting features for ecommerce and omni channel retailers so watch our blogs for more info on this.
  4. Virual Reality / AR - Part of the swag given by Google was the Cardboard which gave us a glimpse into the low cost Virtual Realty but what amazed us was the Google Day Dream (with Pixel) which is a very immersive VR experience and with devices becoming better and cheaper we are surely going to see more of them around. The experience brands can provide via VR is going to be a game changer and we look forward to exploring it. While Adwords is yet to integrate to VR/AR we do see that happening in the near future.
  5. Machine Learning - Machine learning not only refines the experience we get at Google but is also helping agencies like us with programmatic advertising, some of which we have started experimenting with our clients using Double Click. Its only going to get better, allowing brands and agencies to deliver relevance at scale.

Apart from the product learnings, it was amazing for us to network and meet Google Partners from around the world and we even got to visit Googleplex and interact with product managers one on one (though we cannot share the details of these discussions yet).

 


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