In the past, businesses have often used methods of promoting products to the largest number of people in the hope of driving sales. Today, businesses have access to more customer data than ever before, and can use this to lower costs through enhanced engagement and reaching specific customers in real-time.
In recent years, “programmatic” has risen into the mainstream as a way to buy digital advertising space. Programmatic is an automated method of buying digital advertising in real-time based on customer data, and it offers a way to adapt marketing strategies to target select audiences to gain a competitive edge online. By enabling the personalisation of content to the most relevant customers, based on data about their existing interests and needs, programmatic provides a way to be more cost effective with marketing investment and boost awareness in key markets.
While this shift towards personalised content makes programmatic appealing, its application differs across industry sectors, and the opportunities and returns that businesses can expect will vary. The key to success is to understand how it can best be utilised for individual businesses.
Financial and insurance
Programmatic is particularly effective for competitive and congested sectors, such as finance and insurance, where the monetary cost of targeted marketing is at a premium. For insurance and finance products, where the window of opportunity can be small, focusing on pre-selected audiences and knowing where not to show a product, can be just as important as knowing where best to invest your budget. Programmatic advertising can offer key insights that can help to power a more dynamic real-time campaign.
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For example, if a customer is buying insurance for a last-minute ski-trip, being the first business to identify this as a buying signal and display relevant content can improve chances of success. Using programmatic to amplify content in front of the right people, at the right time, can make a business the primary source for this information.
Energy and fuel
For energy suppliers and investors, predicting fuel prices can be a challenge, but the price of oil in the open commodities market is a huge factor. By connecting a campaign in real-time to oil prices, bosses could adapt their messaging and online advertising space buying decisions to account for varying customer behaviour. This means that different versions of the same advert can be adapted and targeted to individual audiences. For price-sensitive sectors, such as the fuel market, brands can also tailor messages to adapt to competitor pricing in real-time.
Bringing different data points together means that programmatic advertising gives businesses the ability to target messages to reflect individual user behaviour. For example, a customer who has read content about the advantages of a brands premium fuels can be served messages specifically to tell a story about that product.
Alternatively, brands may take the opportunity to deliver personalised messages to users of a loyalty scheme, designed to upsell the next product.
Global appetite for recording, analysing and sharing data about health and fitness shows no signs of slowing as more personal technology comes to market. The opportunity to use data to understand customer attitudes has never been greater. Healthcare providers can utilise customer data to track the development of health issues and deliver relevant, high quality content to the right people.
In the era where the web has become the default first option for researching information, there is much more businesses can be doing to leverage the wealth of data available to inform their marketing communications. For a health business, being able to adapt a campaign based on real-time insight around the outbreak or spread of a disease, offers an advantage which could put a brand at the forefront of conversation. Equally, by using the online reading habits of healthcare professions across various markets, healthcare businesses can gain a greater understanding of the various digital platforms they should be present on and what will work best.
This will reduce the costs of mass-marketing to a wider audience and boost engagement with active audiences, who are quantifiably more likely to use a product or service.
Embracing programmatic advertising is not just about accepting the efficiency that technology affords. It offers unique advantages and opportunities to react to both market and customer needs in real-time. This means saving wasted capital, by targeting only the most relevant customers for each campaign, and more importantly boosts the potential for return on investment.
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Helena Snowdon is global new business director at iProspect UK.