Programmatic Display and Search – a match made in data heaven?

Is there opportunity for Search practitioners to learn and augment programmatic display intelligently?

Around five years ago, almost none of the ads on the internet were brought or sold pragmatically, today in 2015, upwards of 80% of advertising online is brought or sold programmatically. There is no denying the growth of programmatic and that it will become a greater part of the marking mix as we start Q.2 of 2015. For many who are seasoned in the Search Marketing space, the roundabout has swung again.

Many moons ago and at the pioneering end post dot com bust, online display advertising was the dominant marketing spend by both agencies and clients direct; spawning sales houses, 3rd party ad-servers and on-going disputes on impression and click counting amongst advertisers and publishers.

Move forward a few years and a small company in Mountain View, California starts taking on the incumbent major paid search player GoTo (Overture & Yahoo!) and start and intelligent auction based PPC platform – AdWords.Programmatic Google Display Advertising

The ubiquitous nature of Google and the virtual no barrier to entry, allowed AdWords to become the only game in town and for marketing budget anyway, caused seismic shift away from traditional ad serving, generic display.

So here we are in 2015. The growth in segmenting (big) data and understanding user behaviour means that we ae in an interesting space. Not quite the Holy Grail of digital adverting but with the growth of programmatic, intelligent analytics augmented with PPC and best practice SEO, are we seeing the renaissance of a new era in digital marketing?

The growth and importance of search is a given. 

Post the large Panda and Penguin updates, SEO is top of the agenda as marketers are forced to understand the link between natural search and sales conversion. In a recent piece (ad link on iProspect survey of 50 brands and 1.1 billion search visits in 2014,  found that brands engaged with SEO saw a rise of 19.8% rise in natural search in that year.

PPC continues its growth with the recent Regalix ‘State of Search Marketing Report 2014’ report into B2B Search throwing up some interesting findings:

  • The survey found that paid search marketing is being used at the top of the purchase funnel, majorly for enhancing lead generation.
  • 68% marketers use paid search to accelerate lead generation; while 63% marketers use it to sell products and services online.
  • Marketers use a variety of tactics for lead generation as a part of paid search marketing. The majority, around 71% marketers use broad-based information keywords to capture prospects at the top of the funnel.

Further to the above, SEMPO’s recent state of search finding show that currently 31% of all Digital Marketing spend is on Paid Search with 18% on SEO, 13% on Digital Display and 11% on Social Media.

The rise or Programmatic Display Advertising

The investment in PPC f the US is anything to go by and according to new figures from eMarketer, US programmatic digital display ad spending will grow a massive 137.1% surpassing $10 billion in 2014, accounting for 45.0% of the US digital display advertising market.

This growth has also been fuelled by Facebook. Google is playing second fiddle to Facebook in digital display. The U.S. market dipping from 13.7% in 2014 to 13.0% this year — and down to 11.1% by 2017, based on data released on Thursday 26th March.

On top of Facebook, Google also has another Social Network snapping at its heels – Twitter. This year, Twitter in the U.S. will take $1.34 billion, followed by Yahoo at $1.24 billion — rising to $2.54 billion and $1.29 billion by 2017, respectively.

With all this data and growth, there are opportunities for search agencies to embrace the growth in digital display by doing what programmatic buyers are learning to do now, getting behind the numbers and applying analytics methodology to target the right prospective customer at the right time with the right message.

Reggie James
Having built and sold various technology businesses over the years, Reggie heads the consultancy and commercial side of the business. Approachable and pragmatic, Reggie previously ran the first dot-com to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange as well as developing business strategies for brands whilst at AltaVista and Yahoo! before launching Digital Clarity. As a passive investor, he is also involved in the US public OTC markets.