3 Trends, 1 Challenge — A Look at Programmatic Advertising

By: Lora Polich Jul 15, 2022

3 Trends, 1 Challenge — A Look at Programmatic Advertising

Three Top Trends in Programmatic Advertising For 2022

Like pretty much everything else in the world today, programmatic advertising is changing fast. It’s better and, thanks to AI, smarter than ever before. Potential students have shifted their media consumption habits and that means higher education marketers have new opportunities (and some renewed challenges.)

We got together with our friends at MiQ to discuss their Programmatic Trends for 2022 Report and what it means for higher ed marketing. You might not be surprised to learn that Omnichannel, Audio, and connected TV are hot topics for 2022 and beyond. What may be less clear is what this means for marketing today and in the future. Here are the three trends we’ve identified as having the most immediate and long-term impact on effective awareness marketing efforts through programmatic advertising.

Trend 1: Programmatic Advertising on Connected TV (CTV)

It wouldn’t be an overstatement if we claimed that 2020 was the year of CTV advertising. Why? First, the number of cord cutters and cord nevers grew substantially in 2020. As our Marketing Benchmarks Report revealed, the total number of OTT households has increased 22% year-over-year. 

By 2021, the number of households with at least one internet-connected TV device grew to 82%, according to MiQ. Meanwhile, the percentage of adults who watch video on a TV via a connected device has stayed close to 40%, well above the pre-pandemic high of 31%. 

It seems like new streaming platforms are popping up every day. Meanwhile, some existing platforms, like Disney+ and even Netflix, are expected to add new advertising options. So now is the time to get your CTV approach in order.

Advertisers are shifting their spend to reach cord cutters. Almost 80% of advertisers are looking to boost ad investment across CTV according to the MiQ report.

Of course, cost is an essential consideration for advertisers running programmatic ads on CTV. Fortunately, smart targeting can help minimize costs while maximizing return on investment. Plus, unlike linear tv ads, marketers can pause campaigns in the moment to respond to cultural events. This protects the brand from seeming callous or out of touch.

Many marketers are seeking out opportunities for incremental reach using CTV campaigns. The large variety of data points from CTV can help you uncover new audiences. Still, measurement and attribution are a challenge on many channels.

Trend 2: Programmatic Audio Turns Up

As people spend less time commuting, streaming radio is becoming a more attractive programmatic advertising prospect. Not to mention, it seems like suddenly everyone has a podcast. Weekly podcast listenership increased 17% since 2021, according to MiQ.

One opportunity here is that podcasts often take a narrow focus. This means you can advertise programs or certificates to the podcast audience with confidence that they are interested in these topics. It’s a valuable opportunity to promote programs in health, engineering, law, and more.

Channels like SoundCloud and Spotify let listeners discover brands alongside new music. Spotify has seen an increase of 30% in ad-supported monthly active users since last year. They may grab an even bigger piece of the market with Car Thing, a hands-free device for listeners on the road.

Trend 3: Activating Omnichannel Options

Omnichannel is high on the list for marketers in 2022. Omnichannel marketing allows marketers to provide potential students with a seamless experience by delivering consistent messages across multiple platforms. A large percentage of marketers are using omnichannel to manage their CTV and audio strategy. It lets them bring the brand story to life and drive brand recall by creating consistent messaging across the internet.

Omnichannel exposure is a major challenge for marketers with programmatic display campaigns. Figuring out how to best allocate your ad spend and measure results is a complex calculation. With omnichannel, you can make adjustments on the fly based on each channel’s performance. That may be why one in two marketers globally believe that incremental reach and campaign optimization offer vast opportunities.

To seize these opportunities (and face the challenges) marketers are choosing ad partners who can offer analytics, reporting, and creative support.

Measurement, Attribution, and KPIs, Oh My!

We’ve touched on this a few times, but it bears repeating. Measurement and attribution still aren’t as transparent or as easy to unpack as marketers would like. Models that worked in the past (CPC and last-click) may not be as insightful in the modern landscape. 

With omnichannel in play, potential students are likely to hear marketing messages in multiple ways across several formats before they convert. CTV and Audio, for example, are less likely to result in immediate action but do contribute to overall brand recognition and awareness.  Marketers need ways to measure the cumulative effect of all channels. 

One way to measure the effect of programmatic advertising is through control markets. While executing a programmatic marketing campaign in one designated marketing area, you make no changes in another similarly sized area. Any uptick in traffic, branded search volume, branded impressions, overall inquiries, or Google Search Trends can be more confidently attributed to the programmatic campaign. 

Marketers might also monitor mentions, engagement, video metrics, and audience sentiment in the target area compared to the control area. For extra insight, marketers might apply brand awareness surveys before and after a campaign to measure brand recognition and recall.

For some campaigns and platforms, measuring reach and attention might be better indicators. That’s certainly true for education. 

Could we instead start by talking about measurement and reach, as we do at the beginning here, and then discuss how marketers can measure this in programmatic advertising and how they should be thinking about it?

The First Step is the Most Important

The conclusion is clear: colleges and universities must stay agile as potential students shift away from traditional media. That means being where your prospective students are and engaging them with messages that connect. Your future students live in an interconnected omnichannel digital world that offers the exact content, information, and entertainment that appeals to their unique tastes. 

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to take the first step into the world of omnichannel digital advertising. Aren’t sure what that first step should be? Ask EDDY. Our team of programmatic marketing experts has been leading the way in these emerging platforms for years. We’ll help you grow brand awareness across emerging digital platforms and make sure you’re part of the consideration set when students start their education journey.