On Monday, the Daily Mail website ran a full-page ad in The New York Times to promote its “Programmatic Match” campaign. While its tactics are causing advertising pundits to take notice (as evidenced by a flurry of articles announcing the site’s aggressive offer), its attempt to boost programmatic sales is not surprising, considering the sizeable jump programmatic spending has taken in 2014.
The U.K.-based DailyMail.com will be offering a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $1 million) in free programmatic advertising for all money spent on traditional advertising. The campaign will run until 11:59 p.m. on Mar. 31, and during this timeframe the matching programmatic ad credit must be used.
“It’s almost like a gift card for advertising on the site,” explains Jon Steinberg, CEO for the site’s North American operations.
The DailyMail.com is one of the most visited newspaper sites in the U.S. Despite this gain, it lacks exposure in the U.S. advertising community. With its Programmatic Match offer, DailyMail.com hopes to boost U.S. and other international advertising interest. Steinberg says, “We have a giant audience, people love the site, but we’re very much an up and comer on the radar of the agency community.”
This programmatic push is indicative of the widespread change in direction of the digital ad industry. According to Emarketer.com, 2014 saw programmatic spending top $10 billion in the U.S., representing a 137 percent increase for the year, and is expected to double again by 2016.
The DailyMail.com is not the only online news site to target this growing market. Last year saw a radical restructuring take place at the New York Times as well, as it launched a ramped-up programmatic trading strategy to complement its native advertising.
New York Times’ executive vice president of advertising Meredith Kopit Levien says, “We take automated buying and selling very seriously and we needed to do quite a bit of work in 2014 on the plumbing underneath that, making it easier technologically, and to do private and preferred programmatic deals. In 2015 we will continue to do a whole lot of that work improving our technology stack and opening up demand with agency trading desks, and other large sources of demand.”
Predicted trends for the programmatic industry are cropping up from experts across the board. Anthony Hitchings, digital advertising operations director at Financial Times, says, “Expect to see a change in the structure of tech fees with a shift towards a CPM fee rather than a percentage share. Branding spend will see a move from an auction model to a programmatic guaranteed model.”
Another prediction, from Graham Wylie, senior director, EMEA & APAC Marketing at AppNexus Europe Ltd: “Ironically the next big thing is likely to be something as old as the media industry itself. Trusted relationships and premium inventory were the initial foundation of the advertising industry, but have not been part of the initial move to programmatic. Now as the technology matures, these traditional relationships will be programmatically enabled to the benefit of both buyer and seller.”
Concerns surrounding brand safety, ad fraud and viewability are also likely to be addressed by programmatic sellers. As Emarketer.com reports, a recent study by Integral Ad Science identified these as the three most important aspects of media quality among digital media buyers in the U.S. It states, “U.S. marketers are clear that they want brand safety most when purchasing programmatically — the [number one] concern among respondents.”
Programmatic advertising has received a lot of due attention in 2014, which has proven to be a watershed year for the industry. Now, with much of the infrastructure laid, and holdouts becoming the exception rather than the norm, expect to see programmatic ad spending skyrocket over the next few years.
Following the programmatic industry? Read our overview of the programmatic trends to watch for in 2015!