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Programmatic Branding: A Multichannel Approach

Programmatic Branding Moves Advertisers Away From Just Direct Response

September 21st, 2016   ||    by Todd Wasserman   ||    No Comments

Programmatic branding may sound like an oxymoron—that impression, however, is a reflection of programmatic’s relative newness. As with other forms of Internet advertising, such as banner ads and search, the first-use case is direct response.

Since the medium is proven as a direct-response vehicle, many marketers pigeonhole it that way. The fact that it’s easier to prove ROI with direct response than for branding ads often solidifies this misconception. This dynamic is changing though. A recent report from Econsultancy, in association with Quantcast, found that 62 percent of marketers polled ran programmatic advertising for branding objectives, noted eMarketer. Proponents of programmatic as a branding vehicle said that they liked it for its increased efficiency, the ability to optimize and target the right audience in real time, and its ability to cut costs overall.

In fact, there’s no reason why programmatic shouldn’t be considered a branding vehicle. Its ability to glean insights and target appropriate audience segments at scale make it ideal for upper-funnel as well as lower-funnel campaigns.

New Faces in Programmatic Advertising

One fairly recent convert to programmatic branding is the auto industry. Automakers typically rely heavily on broadcast TV buys. However, in an election year, TV prices are higher.

A longer-term trend is that consumers depend more and more on digital media to make their buying decisions. The average car buyer makes just two in-person visits to dealerships when they’re considering a purchase, but about a quarter of buyers use their mobile phones daily to research their options, according to research from Millward Brown. Some 27 percent of consumers do most of their auto research on a mobile device, according to a study by Ipsos commissioned by Facebook. The trend is especially notable among millennials: Some 45 percent of the group are mobile-first auto consumers.

Those figures have prompted some automakers to consider programmatic TV as a vehicle to reach the demographic. For instance, DataXu, the marketing analytics technology firm, ran a programmatic TV campaign with an unnamed luxury auto brand that was trying to reach millennials and saw engagement and completion rates that were 40 percent higher than average, noted WardsAuto.

Programmatic Across Channels

The auto industry isn’t alone in noting a consumer shift towards digital media. US adults spend about 12 hours a day consuming media across all devices, according to eMarketer. In 2012, the average adult spent four hours and thirty-eight minutes watching TV and ninety-eight minutes per day on their mobile devices. In 2018, eMarketer expects those figures to change to three hours and fifty-five minutes and three hours and twenty-three minutes, respectively. In such a landscape, consumers don’t always differentiate whether they saw an ad on a TV, phone, tablet, or desktop.

The important factor is relevance. Given the data available today, such relevance includes the consumer’s relative position in the purchase funnel. Showing direct-response ads to someone who is in the awareness stage and likely won’t buy a car for a few years is a waste of money for an automaker, but branding ads might make sense. The same is true for marketers across all categories who wouldn’t consider using all their TV spend for a direct-response campaign.

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