Programmatic advertising is coming-of-age. It has already quietly disrupted the process of purchasing online advertising and television spots around the world. Traditionally, this coveted real estate was handled by a group of intermediaries or salespeople, who worked with internal and external advertising specialists to find suitable placements at an agreed rate. Now, thanks to programmatic, these transactions are handled online and in real time. Similar to trading shares, bids are placed based on set amounts, and advertising budgets are allocated without anyone needing to have a real-life conversation.
Now programmatic is moving outdoors, and into the faces of the mobile public. Outdoor advertising, billboards and signs have gone digital more and more over the last seven years. Originally, it just meant that more advertising could be sold, and that there was more adaptability for advertisers. It also reduced the prohibitive design costs usually associated with pasting up a physical billboard. But this also produced an opportunity for real-time bidding and programmatic advertising methodology. Now, advertisers are being given the chance to bid on physical real estate, rather than the usual virtual spots.
Adquick, a business in the United States that was born in traditional billboard advertising, has recently raised more than $2 million to build a programmatic platform around the billboard infrastructure. This will mean not only the acquisition of digital billboards but also engagement with demand-side platforms or DSPs such as AppNexus and The Trade Desk. It is not yet clear whether Adquick will seek to purchase billboards, or simply lease the rights, especially as there is not enough data to measure the importance of adding real estate investment as a hedge against market downturns in the industry.
Programmatic will become more prevalent, especially as mainstream advertising platforms, such as Google AdWords, incorporate more programmatic technologies into their traditional offering. All of this means that advertising will become more specific, easier to use and far easier to measure.