Automated ad buying—a.k.a. programmatic advertising—is on the upswing in APAC, gaining market share due to its effectiveness and efficiency. According to Boston Consulting Group, the region’s overall market for digital and video ads will be worth $US19 billion in 2020, with programmatic taking a 36% share.
The same research found programmatic advertising to be 50% more efficient than traditional approaches for publishers, and 30% more efficient for advertiser and agency-buying teams.
Damon Scarr, head of sales for Adobe Advertising Cloud in Asia Pacific, agreed. Investing in programmatic advertising is a “smart and effective way for marketers to leverage their existing martech stack within their external digital media spends,” he told CMO.com.
“As the advertising landscape becomes more complex across our region, marketers are increasingly looking towards technology to solve challenges in campaign activations,” he said. “APAC marketers are looking for solutions that allow them to accurately and automatically target audiences, locations, and devices based on real-time insights.”
In part, the growth of programmatic advertising is linked to the rise of the smartphone as the dominant means for APAC citizens to get online and consume content. According to eMarketer, smartphones are now the primary type of phone used across APAC, and by 2021, penetration will hit 62.4%, spurred by improving Internet coverage and speeds as well as more affordable device options.
Bottom line: Programmatic advertising is now big business. Not only does it automate the placement of digital advertising by intelligent software, it also leverages demand-side platforms for better targeting, reporting, and time to market.
Layla Hur, general manager of Nasmedia, South Korea’s biggest mobile performance marketing agency, noted that via programmatic more types of specific and sophisticated audience buying is now available to satisfy advertisers’ needs.
“The market is sending a positive signal that the performance of programmatic advertising can be immediately reviewed when changes are due to various targeting conditions in setting or executing a campaign,” she told CMO.com.
The rise of programmatic advertising also has led organisations to re-evaluate how they create, buy, and analyse their campaigns, in addition to investing in data analytics to understand whether they are effective.
Billboards Have A Programmatic Future
Despite its analog heritage, out-of-home (OOH) advertising is more digital than ever these days, with thanks to smart billboards and digital signage. A shift to programmatic ad buying is the next logical progression, and initial steps have already begun in APAC.
For example, Malaysia bank brand Maybank launched the country’s first programmatic OOH campaign, promoting the golfing tournament Maybank Championship 2018, while e-commerce giant Alibaba has invested $2.23 billion in Focus Media, which has outdoor digital screens in China, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Outdoor advertising has some inherent strengths, such as reaching large audiences quickly. Unlike other digital inventory, which is bought and sold on impressions, the one-to-many nature of OOH requires some statistical know-how to be an accurate element in a programmatic campaign. Finding consistency in measurement methods may be an upcoming challenge for platforms, but there are reasons to persist.
Namely, ads on buildings, bus shelters, and street furniture can’t be skipped or blocked and have the kind of brand safety that comes with a fixed location. What’s more, with digital signage, creative campaigns can be connected to external data feeds where changing weather conditions or sports results can prompt relevant ads, which, in turn, can be enabled by speedy programmatic selling.
Gateway To AI
Another area where the technology behind programmatic advertising is evolving is in the increasing use of artificial intelligence to place campaigns on targeted mobile material. Melissa Librandi, general manager of marketing and communications at Discovery Parks Group, said the Australian holiday parks operator is looking to implement AI-assisted campaigns in the not-too-distant future.
“We’ll realistically be using artificial intelligence in the next 12 to 18 months,” she said.
AI will help Discovery Parks Group achieve a fully integrated campaign, where search is targeted in the same manner to digital advertising. “In addition to this targeting of digital, what you see in the cinema and on television will also be integral with the same campaign and the same messaging,” she said.
This means going to the right segment of customer at the right time, which will allow Discovery Parks to achieve a much greater return on investment for its advertising spend.
“Our goals in advertising in the next year are to have a seamless and integrated approach to our digital advertising, and to ensure that our digital advertising is meaningful to the right segment, to the right customer, in the right place, at the right time,” Librandi said.