It's time advertisers started using programmatic storytelling as a brand-building tool
It's time advertisers started using programmatic storytelling as a brand-building tool
A view from Nigel Gilbert

More than performance: why marketers should embrace storytelling with programmatic

Digital ad buying has been transformed and performance advertisers have embraced the benefits but Nigel Gilbert, VP strategic development EMEA at AppNexus, explains why programmatic brand storytelling at scale is now a reality for brand building.

A degree of scepticism remains around programmatic's ability to go beyond performance campaigns and effectively build branding campaigns

Programmatic advertising continues to grow at a dizzying speed. A recent ad spend forecast published by Magna Global shows that although the US still represents half of the global programmatic marketplace, several markets in Europe are catching up fast. Programmatic penetration of digital display ads is forecast to hit 59% in the UK by 2017 and reach 56% and 60% in France and the Netherlands, respectively.

Marketers have developed a clearer understanding of the potential of the powerful technology, growing increasingly comfortable with signing off programmatic marketing budgets. However, despite its growth, a degree of scepticism remains around programmatic's ability to go beyond performance campaigns and effectively build branding campaigns.

Performance-driven

Automation is only one strand of the story

Historically, real-time bidding has been a performance-driven medium. With its ability to automate workflow, scale reach, gather real-time data and offer precious insights, programmatic advertising has revolutionised performance marketing, and is now almost exclusively deployed to drive successful direct-response campaigns.

But automation is only one strand of the story. More sophisticated technology now enables marketers to address many of the challenges they face when building a brand online. The same analytics and technology that have powered performance campaigns over the past five years are now able to play a central role in unlocking branding ad spend, ultimately enhancing the full potential of online brand storytelling.

Brand stories at scale

Firstly, programmatic allows marketers to build the brand story quickly and at scale. New technology, that pairs the entire universe of device IDs and user IDs, has been a game changer, enabling marketers to have a better understanding of how people use different devices and channels like mobile, video and social – and, furthermore, how these interact with one another, bringing consistency to brand storytelling across all touchpoints.

Advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum, consumers are influenced by the world around them, not just by what is shown to them on a screen

Secondly, innovative technology can make campaigns more relevant. Marketers are adept at understanding users and smartly segmenting them into specific audience groups, but they still struggle to determine the right time to engage with consumers in order to have the most effective impact. Advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Consumers are influenced by the world around them, not just by what is shown to them on a screen. Environmental factors such as news and current affairs, social trends, cultural phenomena and weather conditions can all influence consumer behaviour. New technology powered by programmatic platforms is able to capture these external events and use them to trigger or adapt advertising campaigns in real time, maximising impact and building meaningful conversations with consumers.

Seismic change for brand building

Moreover, more sophisticated metrics and analytics tools enable marketers to track the effects of audience engagement with the brand more efficiently and in real time. In fact, we are reaching a point where every touchpoint is measured and tracked, giving advertisers an unparalleled understanding of the drivers of each consumer’s actions, anytime, and wherever and however they engage.

Just as programmatic technology has reshaped performance marketing, it has similar potential to bring seismic change to online brand building. The more this technology is deployed to power fast-expanding ad formats, such as native content and video, the more it will become an indispensable tool in telling the brand story creatively at the right time, in the right place, and to the right person – ultimately leading to better, longer lasting engagement. As with any innovation, those marketers looking to gain a competitive advantage should act fast as they join the race to shape the digital ad world of tomorrow.