With technology tracking our digital footprint in a “big brother” kind of way, consumer profiles are becoming crystal clear. And with this deepening reservoir of online consumer data comes opportunities to target audiences more precisely than ever before.

Advanced access is allowing us to serve ads that are hyper-targeted to specific consumers, delivering messaging that is far less disruptive, more interesting, more valuable and even flattering. As a result, the advertiser is reaching their audience in a more financially efficient and trackable fashion and the consumer is not irritated by a barrage of irrelevant messaging. A win-win for both.

What is Programmatic advertising?

As technology takes over our lives, our every move is being recorded, from the tracking of cookies on internet browsers to mobile location tracking to purchases going from cash to card. All these data points are collected by data warehouses and then aggregated into consumer profiles to be bid on by advertisers. In a nanosecond, the automation of algorithms can combine a series of data points to not only reveal the targeted audience, but also identify the best time and place to serve the message to these pre-qualified market segments.

While we might find it a bit creepy that big brother is tracking our consumer habits in this way, the advantage is that it aligns our online experience with our interests, introducing us to goods and services that match these interests in a more efficient and less intrusive way. After all, who wants to be served a fast food ad while reading an article on health and nutrition? One study showed that 71 percent of consumers prefer personalized ads.

Global programmatic investment has grown 52 percent since 2013. It is expected to reach $21 billion this year and grow to $53 billion by 2018. Programmatic is already the preferred way of trading digital display, reaching 70 percent in the United States in 2017. That is a trend that needs our attention now.

Is programmatic right for you?

Because of data analysis and campaign preparation costs, programmatic advertising requires a higher entry-level investment price-point than direct buy display advertising and social media promotions. However, when looking at the results on the back end, this investment can start making a lot of sense. The numbers that really matter are the ones that measure how hard every advertising dollar is working for you.

Brands that implement programmatic advertising versus deploying Google and Facebook alone have seen a 200 percent better performance in sales lift – from a 1.5 percent increase to 4.5 percent.

Programmatic gets your ads in front of the right person at the right time, significantly improving conversion rates. So while investment can be higher the front end, the amount spent per conversion can be far lower than other more shotgun advertising approaches.

Find out more before diving into the programmatic pool

Programmatic media can be complicated to learn and understand. In fact, 44 percent of the marketing industry understands very little or nothing about programmatic planning and buying. So before diving into any programmatic campaign, ask lots of questions, explore how the channel can be applied to your objectives and set KPI metrics at the outset by which the investment will be measured and evaluated.