GeoMinds: Small Business, Big Opportunity: Why SMBs Should Harness the Power of Programmatic
ExtendTV's CEO makes the programmatic case for SMBs and local advertising.
By now, every marketer has at least heard of programmatic. It’s one of the fastest growing segments of digital advertising, which last year had total revenues of $11.6 billion in the first quarter alone, putting it on a trajectory to surpass television by 2018.
Programmatic is claiming a growing share of marketing budgets because it’s efficient, flexible and scalable. And it doesn’t matter whether your brand is global, national or local — companies of all sizes are flocking to programmatic. But it’s small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) that stand to gain the most from embracing programmatic advertising.
Small Companies Need Big Data
National brands already have sophisticated methods of aggregating multi-screen and cross-platform data about customer behavior. Major players like Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble can turn to in-house research teams or consultants for market insights. Now, with the right programmatic partner, local businesses can also harness the power of Big Data to better understand and market to their customers.
Programmatic solutions can aggregate information like online behavior, demographics, and geo-location data to assess how likely an individual is to respond to their ad unit. The best programmatic platforms also collect and analyze data about an ad campaign’s performance, tracking exactly where their ads appear and the results they yield. They can automatically eliminate websites and mobile apps that aren’t performing, and retarget their message to outlets that deliver results.
Data is the foundation of modern marketing, and programmatic provides small and mid-sized businesses with data targeting capabilities comparable to those used by big brands, while offering actionable insights about how to optimize ad spend.
SMBs have limited marketing resources, so effectively targeting potential customers is critical. This is where algorithms, the rules that guide programmatic media buying, come into play.
Let’s say a family-owned juice bar in Montclair, New Jersey wants to run a campaign. Naturally, they’re looking for people within their geographic region. But they specifically want customers who are interested in healthy diets, organic food and fitness — perhaps people who are exploring a lifestyle change. Algorithms can consider all of these variables, so SMBs don’t waste money targeting the wrong viewers. The cornerstone of programmatic is being able to define an ideal audience, down to very granular details.
However, precision isn’t just about targeting an audience on a single platform. The best programmatic providers allow advertisers keep up with customers as they move from TV to web to mobile, tailoring messaging appropriately.
Equal Access to Inventory
In most local media markets, the number of available impressions on a single website or mobile app likely wouldn’t satisfy an advertiser’s objectives. But programmatic platforms have access to tens of thousands of websites and apps. With this breadth of inventory, programmatic platforms can instantly find sizable audiences for local advertisers, something that would be impossible for SMBs to do on their own.
Programmatic advertising also levels the playing field when it comes to competing for inventory. A marketing executive at Ford Motors might be able to reach out directly to Fox to buy ad placements on their website. But a Ford dealer in Peoria, Illinois can’t do that. If a local business tried to contact individual publishers, they probably wouldn’t get their call returned. And even if they did, local businesses generally can’t secure placements in a single market, or even a few markets, unless they’re very large — or are working through an agency that has significant buying clout.
So programmatic is often the only option for local businesses looking for high quality ad placements across a variety of publishers. Fortunately, it can be the most effective option as well.
Publishers are putting more and more inventory into programmatic, which gives them an efficient and effective way to sell their ad impressions, not only to big brand advertisers, but to local businesses as well. Without programmatic, these publishers would find it hard to efficiently sell their inventory to a multitude of local advertisers. (It’s the same problem that advertisers face when trying to buy impressions from many different publishers.) This access to local advertisers opens up a substantial new pool of revenue for publishers to monetize their content.
For local publishers, small to mid-sized businesses will be a significant source of revenue in the years ahead. At the same time, the previously untapped SMB market can provide both national and global publishers with an additional source of local advertising revenue.
A Big Win for the Little Guys
By allowing SMBs to target their desired audiences across a wide network of publishers, both large and small, local programmatic provides a win-win for both. And with the right partner, small to mid-sized businesses can run successful, efficient digital campaigns and thrive along with the big guys in a rapidly changing media environment.
*Mark Goldman is Co-Founder & CEO of ExtendTV, a leading programmatic media buying platform for local advertisers.
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