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The Growth of Programmatic Has Now Reached Buzzfeed

January 25th, 2018   ||    by Callie Wheeler   ||    No Comments

It’s 2018, and the growth of programmatic we’ve been seeing for years is showing no signs of slowing down. Buzzfeed—pioneer of native advertising and normalizer of the listicle—is the latest publication to wave the white flag and roll out programmatic advertising across its site.

But programmatic advertising has matured far beyond its original manifestation, and its adaptations across ever more platforms are why the industry continues to both talk about and embrace it.

Why Buzzfeed Bit the Bullet

The move came down to two reasons, according to an AdExchanger interview with Ken Blom, vice president of branded distribution at Buzzfeed: advertiser demand and better user experience. Citing the improvement of programmatic advertising over the last few years, the publisher was able to move past the site performance issues it experienced when it first attempted banner ads six years ago.

Although a 2017 year-end review from Forbes claimed native advertising has defeated the programmatic display ad, Buzzfeed is taking a different view.

Progressing With Programmatic

Edwin Wong, vice president of research and insights at Buzzfeed, said the approach is intentional, according to his interview with Digiday. The publisher is working to see how banner ads can work alongside branded content and native advertising. Why? Because programmatic is targeted and allows advertisers to reach consumers more easily.

This desire to reach consumers with relevant content in relevant places is what has driven programmatic advertising forward, from its early days online to its current growth across more diverse mediums like radio and local television.

Reaching Consumers Everywhere

As programmatic advertising has matured, advertisers have embraced its advantages across platforms and mediums. Radio couples scale and reach with the precision programmatic offers; television provides advertisers the opportunity to reach niche audiences on a local and national level; and online ads provide the opportunity to target on an individual basis. Additionally, automation promotes the more efficient use of both funds and time.

Buzzfeed’s recent foray into programmatic ads provides a valuable lesson for publishers. While the growth of programmatic advertising brings with it many changes, publishers must strive to always keep their audiences in mind. User experience and authenticity of use were Buzzfeed’s priorities—and programmatic can be a tool to help maintain and improve these.

In a piece on the year ahead, Folio shared advice from publishers, including some on change management: While the media landscape is constantly transforming and exploring new products, the focus should be on the consumer. By keeping the reader, listener, and viewer in mind, broadcasters, publishers, and advertisers can ensure programmatic is accomplishing what it intends—providing the right person with the right content at the right time.

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