We’ve talked before about enabling our marketing efforts with AI and machine learning, and how using these cutting-edge tools can boost clients’ campaigns with almost unbelievable processing and analytic power. And since introducing AI-enabled digital campaigns into the cannabis space last year, we’ve taken the power of AI one step further: Into the realm of programmatic advertising.
We’ll delve into the definition of programmatic advertising in a moment; for now, it’s enough to know that it’s a revolutionary way of harnessing software to automate and streamline the purchasing of online ads. By circumventing the unwieldy human-controlled processes of the past, it frees us up to make smarter, faster, and better decisions about where to allocate your precious resources.
If you’re interested in putting this power to work for your dispensary, now’s the time. We’re going to share a little about what makes programmatic advertising tick, plus talk about four types of cannabis programmatic ads your dispensary should be running. Ready? Let’s dive in!
Programmatic Advertising: Bringing Machine Learning to Digital Marketing
“Programmatic advertising” is the practice of purchasing digital ads automatically via software as opposed to human-to-human negotiations or pre-set pricing agreements.
Even if you don’t know what it is, you’ve already interacted with programmatic advertising. Already in widespread use, it’s predicted to manage some 88% of digital display marketing in the United States by the end of 2021.
Programmatic advertising can be seen as the next logical refinement of real-time bidding (RTB), which brought nearly instantaneous ad auctions and price adjustments to platforms such as Google Ads several years ago. Now, agencies such as Foottraffik who offer their clients programmatic advertising employ proprietary tools known as DSPs—“demand-side platforms”—to connect target audiences with ads via an SSP, or “supply-side platform.”
Programmatic advertising is especially effective at streamlining our precious human input. Using factors such as age, location, user behavior, and other variables, it adjusts ad purchases and placements in near real-time, bringing unprecedented control and efficiency to the messy business of marketing.
So, what kind of ads can programmatic advertising handle? That’s the exciting part: When it comes to supercharging your marketing efforts with machine learning and automation, the possibilities are nearly limitless. Here are four key ways we’ll be employing this game-changing technology.
Cannabis Programmatic Ads Your Dispensary Should Be Running: Display Ads
Like programmatic advertising itself, you’re familiar with display ads, even if you don’t know what they’re called. Sometimes known as “banner ads,” they’re the graphic advertisements that appear in specific websites or apps (“publishers”) that have licensed their digital real estate for this purpose. On Google, the dominant search engine by far, display ads are programmed and appear on the Display Network.
As we’ve written before, one of display ads’ greatest strengths is that they often appear in places that don’t directly relate to your business. This “Surprise!” factor can be remarkably effective in inspiring spur-of-the-moment sales. And controlling display ads via programmatic advertising tools allows for better targeting, faster adjustments, and greater ROI on your precious ad spends.
Like display ads, we talk about targeted mobile ads a lot here at Foottraffik. Why? That’s simple: Because so many dispensary purchases are made via mobile devices, using location-based targeting allows us to identify and target your likeliest customers with ever-increasing precision.
What’s more, harnessing the power of programmatic advertising makes this already-effective tactic even better by fine-tuning ad buys to meet and even anticipate customer use patterns. And because there are no limits on dispensaries using geo-targeted mobile ads, the field is wide open when it comes to leveraging this powerful technology
In one sense, these ads are no different from the display ads we referenced above. Appearing on Google—as well as dedicated video search engines such as YouTube, Bing, and Dailymotion—they’re growing fast in popularity.
Programmatic advertising and video actually have a long history, though it wasn’t always a happy one. Way back in 2017 when the technology was new, a ruckus erupted between YouTube and advertisers upset that their content was being shown on extremist videos.
Rest assured, the platform has come a long way since then. And even if you think producing video content is beyond the reach of the average dispensary, we think that’s going to change in the next few years as—enabled by ultrafast 5G technology—video is projected to become the dominant style of digital ad.
It’s no secret that our viewing habits have changed in the last few years. Even before the global COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in all our plans, the viewership of traditional cable and broadcast TV was slipping. In 2020, research analysts Conviva reported that television streaming in the US was up 26% (and 20% globally). One of the biggest shifts has to do with the growth of what’s known as “Over the top” (OTT) service, meaning TV-style content that is distributed over the internet as opposed to by traditional television channels.
How does advertising in this realm work? It’s called “CTV,” short for “connected television,” and just like those video ads we mentioned a moment ago, it’s set to jump in popularity in the next few years. Some analysts believe that by 2022, some 58.2% of the US population will be streaming video via OTT and/or Smart TV devices in which an internet connection is built-in.
Just like display, mobile, and video ads, you can expect programmatic advertising to play a dominant role here. If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider what role you want to play in this promising and still-emerging marketing arena.
Cannabis Programmatic Ads: User-Friendly Tools and Integration
How can you take advantage of the quantum leap of programmatic advertising? That’s simple: We’re committed not only to offering our clients these cutting-edge techniques but to make them simple to understand and utilize. On the back end, we’ll be utilizing upgraded tracking pixels and other techniques for improving our analysis and reporting. And on the front end, we’ll be offering a reporting dashboard so those clients who use programmatic advertising can track exactly how it’s being used (and how it’s saving them money).
If you can’t tell, we’re incredibly excited about the potential for this new technology. We believe it’s going to allow our clients to earn the maximum possible Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) while pushing them to the very leading edge of dispensary marketing.