Get With the Program: What Is Programmatic VOD?

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Get With the Program: What Is Programmatic VOD?

Technology is changing the way we do everything. From vacuuming the house to driving our cars, our everyday lives have been influenced by new innovations.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in recent years is in the way we watch TV. VOD streaming services are the norm now. People can get the shows they want when they want them.

And, they can do it all right from the comfort of their own homes.

If you’re wondering “what is VOD”, you’re not alone. But you’re already familiar with the concept. You just haven’t heard the technical name for it yet.

Our hope is that by the end of this article you’ll see how useful programmatic content can be. You’ll also be prepared to survive in the new wave of digital marketing.

Let’s get going!

What Is VOD?

VOD is an acronym that stands for Video on Demand. This is the way that most people are consuming their TV content these days. Like we mentioned earlier, most people are familiar with this concept.

VOD is the technical term for the Hulus, Netflixes, and Amazon Primes of the world. It’s really not complicated when you break it down. VOD stands for Video on Demand. So, a VOD service is any service that provides you video…on demand.

It doesn’t matter what company powers it. If you can get video content whenever and wherever you want it, you’re using a VOD service.

What Makes VOD Programmatic?

Now you know the basics of VOD. But, much like anything else, VOD has evolved over time. We’re now entering the era of what’s known as programmatic video.

Programmatic VOD is the combination of two modern technologies. It combines VOD digital streaming services with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Programmatic VOD essentially “learns” the viewing patterns of its users and provides them with content and ads that are tailored to their personal habits.

Scary? No, not at all. It’s actually making TV a much more enjoyable experience. Again, this is something you’re already using. Have you ever watched a show and then Netflix says, “Since you watched that, you may also like this”

That’s programmatic VOD. Netflix is using AI and machine learning algorithms to “think” for you. It’s helping you sift through the thousands of hours of Netflix content.

AI is essentially curating Netflix’s content for you to bring you more of what you like. The hope is that you’ll sit in front of your TV longer if you’re constantly presented with shows that interest you. And, based on recent statistics, it seems to be working.

Advertising Becomes Programmatic

Marketers can use the same technology Netflix uses to keep showing you the content you like. 

Years ago (actually not that long ago), marketers would have to interact with other humans to buy media space. Shocking, right? This human interaction made media buying a necessary industry.

Media buyers would talk to their network of broadcast companies and negotiate prices on ad space. But, thanks to machine learning and AI, all of that’s changed now.

Most of the video ads placed now are done programmatically. Algorithms will show you particular ads based on your previous browsing habits, buying habits, and the content you choose to watch.

Programmatic Ads Leverage AI

In this programmatic model, the people are removed. AI Bots are the ones that are buying the ad space now. No more media buyers are necessary.

The bots buy these ad slots based on pre-determined criteria. You, as the ad buyer, set up some parameters. You select what type of audience you want to target, what your budget amount is, and you give the platform access to your ads.

From there, you sit back and let the bots work their magic. The AI and machine learning program will take your ad parameters and engage in real-time bidding. The goal of these bids is to get your ad in front of your ideal customer.

This is the same way Google PPC ads work. The highest bidder for a particular keyword or keyword phrase gets their ad shown. Since that user is already searching for your chosen keyword, you already know they’re an ideal customer for your business.

What’s most amazing about this technology is the speed. All of this AI bidding happens within a blink of an eye. In the time it takes to load your Google search results, the bidding has taken place and the winner’s ad is being shown to you.

It’s kind of cool, right? Now you know what’s going on behind the scenes every time you search on Google.

The Benefits of Programmatic Ads

In theory, this method of advertising is much more effective. Machines are much more effective at communicating than people are. They can easily take the details of your ad campaign and make sure it gets in front of the right customers.

Machines can also increase the precision of your ad campaigns. Increased targeting capabilities allow your ad campaigns to perform better. You can decrease your ad spend while increasing your conversion rates at the same time.

But that’s just one of the benefits of leveraging programmatic ads. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how programmatic VOD can help you in your business.

Programmatic VOD is Effective Across Channels

Programmatic VOD is different than traditional video advertising. It works on data. This means that the same data can be used across a variety of channels.

The same audience that can be targeted on Youtube can be targeted on Facebook and Vimeo. And, since all devices are connected to the internet these days, you can even cross devices as well.

The same video can be distributed on a tablet, PC, laptop, TV, and smartphone all using the same data.

Advertise With Less Waste

Businesses can use programmatic advertising to advertise more effectively. The ads you run through programmatic VOD aren’t the same as traditional video.

Traditional video marketing is a guessing game. You have to build your customer avatar and then purchase ads during a time slot when you think they would be watching TV. Programmatic ads don’t leave anything to chance.

Programmatic ads run off of behavioral data. They don’t run off of time slots. This means you can target more effectively based on behavior patterns. Now, your business isn’t relying on a “lucky guess” when your ideal customer might be watching TV.

Being able to hone in on your ideal customer in this way means your ads run more efficiently. You’re not wasting money running ads that don’t convert. And, you’re making more money by getting in front of your ideal customer a higher percentage of the time.

It’s a win-win!

VOD Cuts Out the Middle Man

When you use programmatic media buying, you’re leveraging algorithms to do all of the heavy lifting. Marketing agencies can save tons of time and money by not dealing with in-person media buying.

There’s no more need to build relationships with media buyers and advertising sales teams. The whole process of marketing and advertising becomes more efficient. 

All you need to do is provide the data. Once the AI and machine learning algorithms have enough data on your ad campaign, they can do the rest. 

This touches on the bigger issue of robots and technology taking over human jobs. Many people think that they’re going to be out of work because AI and machine learning can do complex tasks like running ad campaigns.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. We actually see this as a good thing. The fact that AI and machine learning can do all of the heavy lifting means more for humans.

Now, the human members of your team can focus on the truly “high-dollar” activities in your business. They don’t have to focus on the mundane tasks of buying ad space. You’ll get more done and you’ll probably have happier employees as well.

Detailed Reporting

The key to any marketing campaign is measuring metrics. Business owners and marketing managers need feedback on how their campaigns are performing. If you add in the human element at this step, it could make things more complicated.

Programmatic VOD ads will allow you to get direct feedback on how your campaigns are performing. The reports generated are data that are communicated from machine to machine. There is no margin for error here.

You’ll be able to tell exactly how successful your campaigns are. You’ll also be able to tell more quickly than with traditional marketing campaigns. This is because you can see updates to your campaign metrics in real-time.

Now you and your team can make faster decisions on which campaigns to kill and which campaigns deserve more of your attention.

Campaigns You Can Adjust On the Fly

As your campaign runs you can change your information in real-time. If you think you need to target a different audience, you can make those changes within your ad campaign dashboard.

Most platforms offer you dozens of data points you can change to hit your target audience. You have the ability to adjust things like age, household income, interests, hobbies, location, and much more.

This gives businesses more agility with their advertising than they’ve ever had before. You can change your entire ad-buying strategy with a few clicks of the mouse. There’s no need for lengthy meetings or negotiations. 

Things to Look Out For

Programmatic advertising is a great business tool. It goes well beyond the traditional advertising methods of just a few years ago. But, just because it’s a great improvement doesn’t mean it’s not without its challenges.

There are a few potential disadvantages you’re going to want to consider when running your programmatic ad campaigns. Let’s take a look at them below.

Loss of Control

Some programmatic ad platforms are ad networks. This means that once you set your ad parameters, it’s syndicated out to a bunch of different platforms. While the plus here is that you hit a lot more channels, it can result in a loss of control over your ad’s performance.

The reporting you’ll see on your dashboard will be a general idea of how the ad is performing. You may not be able to see how the ad is performing on each specific channel.

It’s important to know what type of platform you’re working with. You should also decide what level of control you need for your ad campaigns. How granular do you need to get in your industry?

If you can still perform well with only “high-level” control, an ad network may not be a bad place for you to be. As the saying goes, “to each his own”.

Potential Fraud

The internet is an amazing resource. Sometimes it can be too amazing. If you release something on the internet, chances are someone will try to hack it.

The same goes for programmatic marketing. There have been instances of hackers using bots to drive up ad spending. Some businesses may do this to try and drive any sort of competition out of the market.

But, there’s good news on the horizon! As the programmatic ad technology becomes more sophisticated, safety measures are being put in place. Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, people maliciously manipulating ad spending will be a thing of the past.

Programmatic VOD Is the Future

Programmatic VOD is changing how we interact with the world around us. From “showing us” our favorite shows to changing the ads we see, AI and machine learning are making our internet world more targeted.

If you’re a consumer, this ensures you get more of the products you love. If you’re a business, you need to get in on this trend.

If you have any questions on how to put programmatic VOD to work for you, contact Media Shark today.

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