admin-ajaxA year or two ago, South African brand managers would have given you a resounding ‘uh?’ if you had mentioned programmatic media buying (PMB) to them.

Fast forward to current times and you are witnessing the rapid transformation taking place in how today’s brand manages are purchasing advertising media, defining their target audiences and delivering direct, dedicated information to their customers.
Armed with programmatic media buying skills they know exactly what their customers want, when, and how. What’s more, using its automated rules for buying and optimising media, they are benefiting from its efficiencies of time and money.


In 2013 this targeted ad selling hit $12 billion, it will somersault to a predicted $32 billion in 2017 and is expected to be the only way media will be purchased.

Media buyers have access to far more data than ever before as they reach wider and better targeted audiences. With the speed of sales generated by click-through and conversion rates, PMB allows demographic, behavioural and contextual targeting and remarketing to niche audiences. Constantly refining audience targeting means more metrics. With more metrics comes more measurement of cost per conversion (CPC), effective cost per thousand (CPM) and overall online reach and scaleability to support inbound marketing strategies and calculate the return on investment (ROI) of marketing efforts. Lead nurturing is one of the most powerful aspects of programmatic as it is capable of identifying exactly where people are in the sales journey.

Brand efficiency
For brands, its means no wastage of brand budgets and more accountability of spend for CMO’s. By empowering brand managers and marketers to align organisational workflows to PMB’s automation technology – capable of working faster than any human capabilities – it allows creative teams time to focus on formulating more relevant and engaging campaigns for their target audiences.

South Africa, having already embraced this relatively new trend, is experiencing a steep learning curve that is supported by an increasing understanding and uptake of its benefits. However, there is still a lot of confusion around what PMB is exactly. One such misconception is that PMB is only about real time online bidding.

Programmatic is a term that includes everything from behavioural and intent-based targeting to real-time bidding and exchange-based buying of media inventory.

More specifically, it provides a brand manager with the ability to take a specific ad or campaign, set parameters on where, when, how, and who will see it. It measures impressions online and sets the pricing for what the buyer is prepared to pay to an online publisher or DSP (Demand Management Platform) to market the product. eBay is a succesful example of this.

Accurate optimisation
With access to the many publishers, such as Google,  a Supply Side Provider (SSP) uses computer algorithms to maximise access to the different publishers’ space inventory to provide the best pricing, and most accurate audience optimisation, for the brand.

Using a variety of data partners, the SSP identifies and buys a custom exchange for the brand, and so Real Time Bidding (RTB) begins. The bidding takes places in milliseconds for every digital ad space on the page based on the product’s previously set parameters and price limits. The winning advertisement displays its product on the customer’s screen and gets its impression seen.

Digital solutions agency Atmosphere Orange’s Craig Uterman explains: “We can micro-manage the outcome of a campaign based on the data that we collect on a daily basis. Digital media’s dramatically shortened response time allows us more transparency and the flexibility to quantify campaign successes, or identify what is causing a campaign to fail and rectify the issue within a very short period of time.”

Reach and ROI
It is imperative that brand managers now start taking advantage of PMB’s efficiencies and better understanding the benefits of its wide, targeted reach and accuracy of data across all media channels. “Programmatic allows users first hand access to targeting and reporting tools and information they wouldn’t otherwise have, which can help them take ownership of the success of their campaigns and maximise ROI,”  advises Ted Dhanik, president and CEO, of US based digital agency Engage:BDR.

Guidelines for brand managers eager to get on board will require a shift from the traditional negotiation skills of a media buying professional towards more analytical and technical skills,  which is where agencies like Atmosphere Orange comes in. Their industry knowhow ensures that via reporting, you pay attention to

Brand managers see efficiencies in automated media buying

Programmatic media buying in South Africa targets audiences with efficiencies in both time and brand spend for increased ROI

quality by constantly refining, targeting and optimising your media. You won’t be making a bad purchase or paying for un-viewable ads.

The technological advancements, control, and cost efficiency gained through PMB is shaping the future of digital marketing.

‘South African Brand Managers Embrace PMB’ is written by Mercedes Westbrook of


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