When most think about programmatic, the first thought that comes to mind is digital display ads. It’s no coincidence that programmatic spending continues to surge as overall digital ad spending is eating up greater portions of marketing budgets. However, programmatic spans far beyond the digital space.

Programmatic encompasses print, TV & OOH

What often gets lost in the complex nomenclature that is all too present in the industry is that programmatic is simply an automated way of buying media. That means the technology can be applied to any number of media, including the offline variety. That’s right, TV, out-of-home (OOH) and even print media can be transacted programmatically.

As a matter of fact, Time Inc. has recently begun to sell the inventory of its magazines programmatically, which includes the likes of People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. The thought behind Time Inc.’s new business strategy is that the ability to buy print programmatically could help attract ad budgets to the medium.

There’s also been a lot of banter surrounding programmatic TV. Although the industry is far from where it’ll be within a few years time, strides are already being made. For example, ESPN has begun selling some of the ad space for its popular SportsCenter show programmatically.

The first 30-second spot was sold at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night, but this is simply the first inroads on what will be a gradual process. Programmatic TV will grow the same way its online counterpart has – first through excess cheap inventory, slowly gaining access to more premium spots.

The other non-traditional area where programmatic will continue to gain traction is within OOH advertising. Programmatic allows advertisers to buy digital OOH inventory while taking into consideration their overall digital media plan by connecting the media consumers are viewing on their personal devices with OOH media spots in public locations.

The programmatic advantage

As adoption rates continue to rise and the tech continues to evolve, programmatic will eventually cover nearly all media to create a holistic control panel for all of an organization’s media buying and/or selling. Having the ability to merge together all forms of media into a single stack would have tremendous benefits for marketers.

Aside from having the initial return of the ease of being able to automate all media transactions, it will also help advertisers better integrate campaigns and draw cross-platform insight, creating a comprehensive view of overall ad performance, as well as eliminate silos and allow for data to flow more freely through organizations.

Laura Desmond of Starcom offers up insights as to why marketers should strive to unite digital bought media with more traditional forms of media, “if you’re a marketer, do you want your programmatic decisions siloed and balkanized from everything else that you’re doing? No. You want it integrated.”

Integration will be at the heart of programmatic progression. Programmatic will be the “media glue” that holds everything together. This means uniting data points from both different campaign types and bespoke organizational departments. This will lead to more efficiency, better optimized campaigns, more precise spending and insights and may one day even lead to the solution of the cross-platform tracking conundrum, as advertisers will have a clearer sight into the complete customer journey.

As programmatic grows to encompass more types and larger portions of media, the technology will realize its true potential and create unforeseen opportunities and advantages for advertisers.

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