Friday, April 21, 2017

Programmatic: Garbage in, garbage out.

If you are under 50 you may not have heard that saying before.  But it was a common phrase in the early 80's when computers were first used to select print media.  After we would do a computer run, we would adjust the results by hand to incorporate data that the computer didn't.  At that time it meant adding Southern Living and Sunset to our media plans to compensate for the fact that shelter books under delivered in the south and west.  Had we not made those changes, our plans would have been garbage.

Fast forward 35 years and we seem to have forgotten that lesson. 

In 2016, 51% of digital display advertising was bought by computers.  Growth of 31% is estimated for 2017.  And programmatic buying is spreading to tv, radio, and digital out-of-home. (Elkin, 2016)

But what happens without the human touch?  You end up on the Sleeping Giants boycott list because you are advertising on Breitbart.  Surprise!  Consumers may have not noticed your display ad before, but they are now, and not in a good way.

Similarly, I remember when advertisers were reluctant to go on YouTube because of the exploding Mentos videos.  And yet they are now advertising on racist content and terrorist sites. 

At what point did cheap tonnage come back into fashion?  Given the 80/20 rule, i.e., 20% of buyers account for 80% of sales, it doesn't make sense. 

So I was not surprised when JPMorgan Chase & Company admitted after pulling their ads from YouTube last month and reducing their presence from 400,000 websites to 5,000 that their impressions didn't change.  More importantly I would bet that more targeted reach will increase their effectiveness.  Is it any wonder that they are now planning to reduce the number to 1,000 "human-checked" channels?  (Noto, 2017)

Maybe it's time for you to get human again too.

Elkin, T. (2016, November 28)  Programmatic To Grow 31% In 2017, Ahead Of All Other Channels.  retrieved April 21, 2017, from,

Noto, A. (2017, March 30)  Chase pulls YouTube ads, sees little change in impressions.  Retrieved April 21. 2017, from

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