It goes without saying that the number of consumers who are using mobile devices is growing every day. And while this can be great news for marketers who want to reach their target audiences on mobile, the vast advertising environment created by the plethora of mobile apps and devices out there can pose a problem if brands aren’t utilizing programmatic mobile technology.

If you’re a marketer, you’ve more than likely heard the term, “programmatic” pop up during conversations with your colleagues. And while you may nod your head in agreement that programmatic is an exceptional advancement in mobile ad technology, you may not know exactly what it is or even how it works.

How do I know this? Because you’re not alone! Many industry professionals don’t know the ins and outs of programmatic mobile ads – just the fact that programmatic is an important industry buzzword.

While programmatic advertising isn’t necessarily new, the technology has only just recently become mainstream as it offers marketing professionals even more data points that can help them develop targeted advertising campaigns as mobile audiences continue to grow.

But what exactly is programmatic mobile advertising? Do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of this hot piece of mobile ad tech? And, most importantly, should programmatic advertising be within your marketing strategy? Let’s find out.

Programmatic Advertising, Explained

In order to understand the basics of programmatic advertising, you must first take a look at traditional digital advertising methods. In a traditional sense, digital advertising can be a slow process as it relies on the manual processing of ads: requests for proposals (RFPs), negotiating, plus manual insertions of orders (IOs). This method can take a long time, especially when dealing with hundreds of thousands of orders.

Plus, with traditional advertising, it can be tough to control purchased ad inventory. This, in turn, limits your ability to optimize campaigns for better audience targeting.

And because no one has time for manual-anything in the fast-paced mobile ad world, automated technologies are making things easier on advertisers by saving them time – and their mobile advertising campaigns from completely bombing.

One such technology is called programmatic advertising — or automated ad buying. It’s a helpful tool that allows advertisers to reach the right audiences, plus automates the media buying process.

With programmatic advertising, advertisers can buy exchange inventory through programmatic means by using a Demand-Side-Platform (DSP) to connect to an ad exchange to bid on inventory sources. The DSP then provides the required scale to reach a large number of ad impressions; breaking through the clutter of ads that aren’t relevant to the target audience.

Programmatic advertising technologies can also ensure that advertisers get the lowest cost possible when it comes to mobile ad inventory. All of this helps to deliver better campaign results.

The Downside of Programmatic Mobile Advertising

While we have established that programmatic advertising on mobile can be an effective way to reach your target consumers much more quickly and efficiently, you should also consider the cons before moving forward.

In the mobile ad industry, there is a growing concern that programmatic advertising doesn’t offer the best quality of ad inventory.

While an advertiser can get a low cost of inventory by using programmatic methods for ad buying, this also means that their ads can get placed on unfavorable sites and apps that people haven’t heard of, or sites with high levels of fraud and low levels of viewability. Thus, programmatic advertising can sometimes be associated with low click through rates.

Plus, transparency has been an issue with advertisers when it comes to programmatic ad buying.

But do these cons mean you should forget about adding programmatic advertising to your marketing strategy? In one word, no. Because there are better ways to approach programmatic mobile ads in order to ensure you are receiving quality inventory and reaching the customers who matter most to your brand.

The Best Approach to Programmatic Mobile Advertising

So, which should you choose when it comes to programmatic ad buying: an in-house DSP or third-party DSP? It’s not a simple question to answer because you also need to think about adding a Data Management Platform (DMP) into the mix.

The Mobile Majority offers an in-house DSP to buy inventory programmatically, and also an in-house DMP to help with audience targeting. Paired together, the DSP and the DMP offer a level of pre-bid awareness that companies who are using simply a third-party DSP do not get.

To put it plainly: the paired technologies can filter out the not-so-stellar inventory sources, sites and apps that are plagued with poor performance.

The programmatic advertising transparency issue is also alleviated by using the integrated technologies because you’ll know exactly where the ads ran and the performance they received. Plus, the integration can target audiences much more effectively due to the free flow of data between the DSP and DMP.

So, no matter what app or site your customers are on, they’ll see your ads; alleviating the burden of solely using ineffective, content-based advertising methods.

The end result? A technology stack that provides ad network quality impressions at the cost of an exchange with publisher direct transparency.

So, should programmatic advertising be within your marketing strategy? Sure. But just be ready to integrate a trusted DSP with a DMP to get the most out of your mobile advertising campaigns.