If you’re like most publishers, you’re already buying ad inventory programmatically. Even if you’re not quite there yet, you’re at least convinced of the benefits of programmatic and ready to dive in. But which programmatic advertising channels are you using or planning to use? Have you picked the right ones?

Your advertising dollars are like eggs, and each programmatic channel is a basket, so you know exactly what not to do. But how do you know which of the many baskets you should be putting your eggs in? 

Whether you’re a big brand advertiser or one of the little guys, you need to focus on a few key programmatic advertising channels to keep up in 2021. We discuss each of those channels below. Read on to learn more. To get access to Playwire’s exclusive group of high-quality publishers, reach out to our team.

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Programmatic Advertising: What Publishers and Advertisers Need to Know

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1. Connected TV

Connected TV (CTV) is one of the most promising and highly desired programmatic advertising platform today. A CTV is a device that enables you to stream video content. Think Roku, Apple TV and video game consoles.

With an increasing number of affordable CTV devices, it’s getting harder to find an American household that doesn’t have access to this mode of media consumption. And the proof is in the ad spend - eMarketer estimates that advertisers will spend $6.73 billion on programmatic CTV ads in 2021. That’s a 54.4% increase over 2019 and around 29% of the total expected spend is on programmatic video ad.

2. Over the Top

While CTV refers to devices, over-the-top (OTT) advertising refers to channels on those devices. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are a few of the largest examples of OTT channels, but there are hundreds of thousands more. 

OTT and CTV are linked to one another, but they are not the same thing. As a programmatic advertising platform, however, OTT is benefiting from many of the same trends as CTV, increased viewership being the primary one. 

3. Podcasts

Programmatic audio is on the rise. Podcasts have been popular for a while, but when COVID-19 hit, their popularity went through the roof. This trend was true across age groups, but it was especially visible among the coveted younger demographics. While 18% of people in all age groups said they were listening to more podcasts during the pandemic, 26% of millennials said the same thing.

This trend is likely to continue, providing access to a key audience advertisers want to reach. 

4. Mobile

You simply can’t ignore mobile. In the U.S., 85% of adults own a smartphone, and that figure is up from just 35% in 2011. There’s no sign of this growth in smartphone ownership slowing down. Programmatic ad buying on mobile channels like apps gets your ads in front of a lot of people.

Programmatic Ad Channel Considerations

Content like the list of programmatic advertising channels above is fun and easy to read, but it can gloss over some of the nuances. Let’s take a look at two quick points of clarification on this topic.

Channel Trends may Differ by Location

The above list primarily discusses advertising in the United States. It’s important to keep in mind that the programmatic advertising channels that deliver the best results may not be the same in every country or region.

For example, in Asia, the most popular mode of media consumption is mobile. That may mean that advertisers trying to reach Asian markets should focus on mobile programmatic channels above other channels. 

Meanwhile, the strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rule in Europe heavily limits programmatic advertising that relies on targeting ads to particular consumers. That means your choice of programmatic advertising channel in this market may come down to sheer viewership and usership numbers rather than access to particular demographics.

Why No Display Ad?

Display advertising is a dominant force in the programmatic landscape. So, why didn’t it make our list of top programmatic advertising channels? 

The display ad is still dominant, but there's just so much of it in use today, advertisers are being very picky about how they leverage the channel. For example, programmatic guaranteed (PG) in display is still in high demand, but in order to get the programmatic display ad dollars you have to have premium supply as a publisher. Buyers will not buy a PG display ad across inventory they can find on the open market.

As the landscape changes, we are seeing that everyone loves video, so a lot of the ad spend that once went to display advertising is finding its way into OTT, CTV and audio. There is already evidence to suggest that display is taking a hit, while other channels are growing. 

This isn’t to say that no advertiser should spend any portion of their ad spend on display. But it does suggest that some of the newer or more innovative programmatic channels are going to be especially important to incorporate into your strategy.

Get Exclusive Programmatic Access to Premium Inventory with Playwire

Programmatic advertising is here to stay, but the programmatic advertising channels that work best for advertisers change all the time. Today, you can hardly go wrong with CTV, OTT, audio and mobile, but getting access to the best inventory on those channels is a challenge for even some of the largest advertisers and agencies.

With Playwire, there is no challenge - only opportunity. Our team offers advertisers brand safety, custom creative, viewability and simplicity they can’t get anywhere else. To claim your place on our exclusive platform, reach out to our expert team today. Contact Playwire online or give us a call at 1-561-206-4621.

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