Thought Leadership

Advertising automation: Your media buying compass

July 31, 2015
By Marketing

As automated buys become “less of a fringe player in the world of advertising technology,” we wanted to take an in-depth look at the current attitudes, beliefs, and experiences of advertisers with regards to automated buying. Through a series of in-depth interviews with some of the brightest minds in media, representing a cross-section of companies that included online retailers, consumer packaged goods, financial services, television providers, and media agencies, we’ve identified the prevalent motivators for increasing automated spend, as well as the challenges that exist within the space.

The results of our study show that while many advertisers are embracing the transition to automation and are experiencing huge success, there are still many lagging behind.  During interviews, the primary explanation for this lag was revealed to be a gap in education. In 2014, the Association of National Advertisers surveyed 153 marketers and found that only 26% said they knew what programmatic buying was and had actually used it. The other 74%  varied among being completely unaware, somewhat knowledgeable but unclear, or in need of education.

The advertisers who participated in the study also cited a variety of internal and external misperceptions, category hurdles, and operational challenges that are the new realities of the automated media buying ecosystem. Most frequently mentioned was the complexity that comes with the abundance of players. “There are so many vendors who are buying programmatically and then adding proprietary data analysis to warrant charging huge markups,” said a digital lead at a major consumer packaged goods company.

Some parties were also cited for having biased agendas. These comments were particularly pervasive when made in reference to media agencies.

In his panel at Cannes Lions Innovation, Jay Sears, SVP of Marketplace Development at Rubicon Project focused on how brands are retaking the reins of their media budgets and strategies by, according to Morgan Stanley, “putting more than 20 media agencies in review totaling $26 billion.”

In “Automation: Your Media Buying Compass,” Rubicon Project provides an outline for brands to become better informed and more empowered when making decisions about their automated spend.

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