Why programmatic may matter to retailers

As P&G automates most digital media buys, other CPGers need more familiarity with the practice.

August 22, 2014

Food retailers and CPG marketers share a goal – to be better able to influence target customers to buy in real time.

To this end, CPG companies increasingly adopt programmatic (automated) media buys. Procter & Gamble intends to purchase up to 75% of its digital media this way in 2014, and a similar proportion of mobile ads in 2015, Ad Age reports, even though it notes the CPG giant “needs more time and advanced analytics to know whether its digital ads are producing sales [at retail]. That [not being sure of results] is a major reason why the category has generally been more cautious” of using this technology.

Indeed, recent surveys show marketers aren’t well versed yet in programmatic practice. While 54% of marketers say they’ve used it (77% of them for online display and 41% for online video), just another 18.5% plan to do so in 2015. And nearly 40% of marketers claim low or no awareness of this method for buying media, according to an Association of National Advertisers/Forrester survey.  

According to a separate study of senior ad agency executives by STRATA, only eight percent say the industry has a standard definition of programmatic buying; 61% say there is none, and the rest are unsure. Only 12% feel they trust programmatic buying “to properly or accurately execute their ad orders,” reports eMarketer. 

Nevertheless, when P&G leaps, others must pay attention. Published accounts say programmatic is a way for marketers to engage consumers viewing premium content, and to find their target groups on multiple devices (such as tablets, smartphones) as they switch among them throughout the day. Also, the more programmatic experience a marketer has, the more insights it will draw from programmatic as to the value and impact of particular messages reaching consumers at particular times.

Which is why The Lempert Report sees potential value in programmatic to retailers as well – since they increasingly use digital and in-store media to reach audiences throughout their paths to purchase. Retailers have an opportunity to learn from CPG’s growing pains with programmatic, to make their own marketing efforts more effective more quickly.

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