Global programmatic is here: and what you should do about it


Programmatic media has grown dramatically in the US market in recent years, and 2015 looks like the year programmatic definitively goes global. With advanced tech changing media in global markets, it’s important for companies to be ready to take advantage of it, using lessons from early adopters.


According to eMarketer, programmatic ad spend reached $10B this year, and is projected to double by 2016. Meanwhile, 55% of brand and agency respondents to a recent Ad Age survey said they already have a global strategy in place. Do you?


Why is this happening?


The global expansion of programmatic is driven by the same factors driving its growth in the US — it increases marketing efficiency while lowering cost, by letting marketers to deliver the best message at the right time and in the right place.


Taking programmatic global will enable the creation of global standards and allow for more accurate campaign optimizations in local markets. As the industry continues to grow, eventually higher-quality inventory will be sold through programmatic, increasing the consolidation of tools and vendors across markets and improving the ability to obtain a holistic view of customer engagement worldwide!


There are challenges.  


Though the principles of programmatic are the same universally, regional variations make global programmatic a little more complex.


For instance, media inventory available, privacy regulations and popular formats and devices vary per region. Some less sophisticated markets have fewer media choices, resulting in more reliance on premium media buys and makes programmatic more expensive and less beneficial. Media regulations and media consumption is also different across regions. In markets such as China, where there are strict rules regarding where traffic is allowed to go, programmatic strategies may be less effective.


The availability of data in some markets poses another potential problem with using programmatic globally. Second and third-party data differs per region and sometimes isn’t available at all. Because programmatic requires such data for much of its analytic and audience segmentation capabilities, this could be a problem in areas where such data isn’t available.


Despite the challenges, there are big benefits to launching a global programmatic strategy. With programmatic, you gain the ability to target individuals rather than audiences. This can help marketers target customers in local markets that they otherwise might not be able to find.


Overall, as the technology continues to evolve and marketers improve their global programmatic strategies, look for the ROI on programmatic to increase in 2015. Follow these practices for a successful global programmatic strategy:


  • Less is more: Choose one, trustworthy partner that you can have a higher-level relationship with, rather than multiple programmatic partners. Having a strong relationship with one partner means they will do more than just prevent pixel fraud and make sure the data is correct. A closer relationship with your programmatic partner means more attention to your campaign, so you can be more confident ads are running in the right places. For global campaigns where you have less control over what’s running, this reassurance is important.
  • Adapt to different regions: Don’t assume the same execution will work across multiple regions. Each market can have unique needs and trends, while marketing strategies and business objectives might also change. Make sure your programmatic strategy is built on flexible technologies and uses variable standards so that you can optimize it for local markets based on the partners and data available.
  • Think individuals, not publications: A key benefit to using programmatic globally is that it helps target audiences, not just websites. For marketers not familiar with a local market, this capability is extremely helpful for creating successful campaigns. To use this targeting tactic effectively, be sure to avoid whitelisting too many sites. Though it can be tempting to whitelist in order to avoid undesirable publications, too much whitelisting lowers volumes, increases prices and doesn’t leave room for optimization.