Computers vs. Humans: Media Buying in the 21st Century

Imagine a world where computers make decisions about where and who to target on traditional and non-traditional media. They handle the entire media-buying process, from building and maintaining relationships with vendors, to setting up insertion orders, to placing and optimizing ad buys. This may seem like something out of an oddly specific sci-fi movie, but it’s a reality for brands buying media in the 21st century. Programmatic buying provides brands with an alternative to buying natively on ad platforms, but it’s worth looking at each before deciding which process is right for your brand.

Programmatic Buying

Programmatic or automated buying involves using software to purchase traditional (TV) and non-traditional media (display and social). It requires less manpower than manual ad buying because it groups all of the buys on one dashboard, which means fewer media contacts, insertion orders, minimum spends, and logins and passwords to remember. Most platforms can be bought on a managed or self-serve basis which depends on your brand’s budget and how much time you have to manage campaigns. Depending on the type of service, brands may work with a dedicated team that will assist in the media buying process from strategy to creating ads in the platform. Using an automated platform has a cost, which is usually a percentage of the media budget, and this can mean having less available to spend on the media buy. Now that you have a brief overview of what programmatic buying is and how it works, you may ask, “When should my brand use this platform?” Programmatic media buying is great for those who have numerous clients and not much time for campaign setup and management.

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Social Code and Nanigans Advertising Automation Software Platforms

Buying Natively

Another option for brands is buying directly through the social platforms such as Facebook Power Editor, Twitter Ads, and Pinterest Ads. In some ways, this can be similar to using an automated platform because brands are able to create, schedule, manage ads, and pull insights (Facebook Ads Reporting, Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Audience Manger, etc.). So how is native buying different than using an automated platform? Buying natively means managing vendor relationships, which can be more work but is great for channel-specific strategic recommendations and getting the latest information on new product offerings. You’ll also be given early access to use the latest product offerings before programmatic platforms have integrated these offerings into their system. To learn more about new ad formats, check out 3 New Social Media Ad Forms That Every Brand Should Use. When it comes to budget, buying natively has no fees for using the tool so you can use your entire budget on your media buy. Each network has its own payment system and minimum spends for insertion orders so you may need to juggle multiple invoices instead of just one. So if you have a manageable workload and are interested in in setting up and managing your campaigns closely, buying directly on the social platforms may be right for you.

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Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Dashboards

Now that you have a better understanding of the programmatic and native platforms, which media buying method do you see yourself using? Comment below!

Ignite Social Media