Programmatic media buying is one of the fastest-growing markets. It accounts for two-thirds of the digital display spending globally and 85 percent of digital advertising spending in the U.S.

US programmatic ad spending

Figure 1: U.S. programmatic ad spending. Source – Interactive Advertising Bureau

The sky is seemingly the limit for this form of advertising, with advertisers appreciative of the enhanced targeting options and seamless campaign tracking.

However, running programmatic ad campaigns can be difficult. You need a strategy from end to end that guides you to design your ads to reach the right people. This guide will define programmatic advertising, share its benefits and the trends that will shape mobile programmatic advertising in the years to come.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising explained: This is the process of buying ad inventory through real-time bidding options rather than person-to-person transactions in the standard market. It’s a fast and affordable media buying alternative that gives advertisers the freedom to create campaigns in their own time and take them to the market without the restrictions and hindrances of the standard media buying environment.

The main differences between programmatic advertising and traditional media buying are how the purchase process happens and how the ads are placed. Rather than using the agency model that relies heavily on networks within the industry, programmatic advertising allows advertisers to buy media at source. This streamlines the whole process, enabling advertisers to make ad-buying an in-house activity to reduce agency fees and save time.

Ad delivery happens through real-time bidding, where advertisers place bids through DSPs (demand-side platforms) for ad inventory listed on SSPs (supply-side-platforms). This process happens in milliseconds, with the highest bid securing the inventory for their advertisement.

We have explained how this process takes place in detail in our blog, Your Guide to Programmatic Advertising.

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Why do you need it?

While not all marketers have embraced programmatic advertising, industry trends point to a rise in its application worldwide. These benefits are at the cornerstone of programmatic advertising growth.

Specific targeting

Advertising dollars only make a difference when ads are shown to the right audience. Programmatic advertising strategies use targeting methods to place ads on websites and other online properties based on things like:

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Purchase intent
  • Household income
  • Behaviors and interest

Engage a programmatic advertising company to help you set your targeting options when designing your campaign to ensure your ads are put before the right eyeballs.

High-quality data collection

Programmatic advertising collects high-quality data about your campaign to enable you to gauge its performance. The data is collected in real-time, so you won’t have to wait for an excel sheet from your media agency weeks after the campaign has gone live, as is the case with traditional media buying.

This data allows you to adjust and optimize your campaigns to achieve the desired results. It will also give you a clear oversight of your ad spend.

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Traditional media buying relies on old-school tactics like purchasing ad space through sales representatives. Such a process can be very convoluted and time-consuming in today’s fast-paced marketing environment.

The programmatic process is largely automated, thus saving marketers a lot of time. As a media buyer, you won’t have to research the best platforms to host your ad. Instead, an algorithm does all the work for you to make ad placement faster and more accurate.

Resource saving

Working with a programmatic advertising agency when buying media will help you spend your ad budget wisely. Programmatic advertising allows you to set how much you wish to spend to earn impressions. This makes it a measurable and controllable advertising medium. You can adjust your spending based on the analysis of your campaign to boost performance.

Improved media buying and ad placement

Once you set your campaign parameters on the DSP, your ad will be placed on the online properties that meet the requirements you’ve set. Algorithms perform the task of finding an appropriate host for your ad, saving you a lot of time and money.

The advanced targeting options ensure your ads are only shown to an audience that matches your ideal customers. This eliminates the hit-and-miss campaign design synonymous with traditional media buying that was notorious for costing marketers way too much money.

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Mobile programmatic advertising trends

Mobile technologies have become a key driver of many businesses. With the continuous growth of programmatic advertising, here are some of the trends that will shape the industry in the years to come.

Limited ad tracking

Apple announced a raft of new privacy updates planned for 2021. One of the updates is to limit ad tracking, and mobile advertisers should start looking for ways to run campaigns with limited ad tracking. This is a huge shake-up in the mobile advertising industry, and with no solid alternative available yet, advertisers will have to get creative and come up with out-of-the-box solutions.

Improved mobile networks

The launch of 5G networks is set to shake up the mobile communications landscape. The 5G bandwidth is expected to exceed 100GBps, which is 100x faster than its predecessors. This offers more opportunities for dynamic ad designs and larger file sizes.


Artificial intelligence is transforming the mobile advertising scene, and we expect the pace to continue in 2021. AI will help marketers understand their target users better, leading to the development of relevant ads and custom messaging.

AI’s ability to track the entire marketing funnel and collect valuable data on customers’ behavior and tendencies makes it a valuable tool to invest in right now. Engage a growth marketing agency to set up the right tracking tools to help you collect relevant data about your customers that you’ll use to refine your marketing.

Increased investment

Programmatic advertising is one of the growth marketing strategies to look forward to in the coming years. Advertisers are demanding more transparency in the media buying process, and we should expect many of them to ditch the traditional process for the reliable and automated programmatic model.

Global programmatic ads spending

Figure 2: Global programmatic advertising spend 2019 – 2021. Source – Statista

Recent estimates show that programmatic sold advertising was worth $106 billion in 2019. This figure increased to $127 billion in 2020, and it’s expected to grow by a further $20 billion by the end of 2021. The increased spending is attributed to the enhanced targeting that programmatic advertising provides and the incredible insights to help you optimize your campaigns.

Dynamic creatives

The ad creative is the representation of your campaign, and we expected to see more high-quality creatives going forward. Dynamic creative optimization will help marketers grab consumers’ attention and entice them to click on the ads.

Customers are bombarded with advertisements of all kinds when they log into their digital properties. It’s only those who come up with creative ad designs that will capture their attention. Failure to do this will see your target users scroll past your ads and move on to the next interesting ads.

To ensure they don’t miss valuable impressions because of poor designs, most advertisers will opt for creative management platforms that support the production of high-quality and relevant ads for users. Such platforms ensure ads are designed in the correct format to make them appealing and memorable.

And a rise in use

We should expect to see more advertisers buying ad inventory the programmatic way. Traditional methods lack the targeting capabilities of programmatic media buying. Advertisers aren’t assured of success with the manual methods. Most end up losing money by showing ads to people who aren’t interested in their brands because of limited targeting options. The campaign results take long to trickle in, and by the time they get there, it’s usually too late to optimize a campaign.

Programmatic advertising has solved these problems by allowing advertisers to control their spending while showing ads to an audience that matches their target customers. Each ad’s performance is measured in real-time to allow advertisers to make the necessary adjustments to improve their campaigns.

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Programmatic advertising has made it easy to buy advertising space to promote your brand. It replaces the traditional methods that are often manual and consume a lot of marketing dollars without delivering the desired impact.

Programmatic advertising can be quite technical, especially if you haven’t tried it before. Without the help of a programmatic advertising company, you will find yourself making mistakes that limit your campaigns’ effectiveness. The team at Growth Marketing Genie is here to help you avoid such costly mistakes. We will help you design amazing ad creatives and set the right parameters to ensure your ads are shown to the right audience.

Are you reaching the right people with your marketing content? Use our marketing strategy to refine your targeting and connect with the right audience.

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