Programmatic is the the future of digital marketing! Simon Penson from Zazzle Media gives us a clear explanation of programmatic marketing, advertising & media buying.


5 Questions You Can Answer After Listening To This Episode On The Future Of Marketing & Advertising With Simon Penson:

1. What is programmatic marketing and how does it work?

2. What’s the difference between programmatic advertising and programmatic content marketing?

3. Back in the MySpace days, which rapper’s songs would you find on Simon Penson’s profile?

4. How can local businesses cash in on programmatic?

5. Where does programmatic fit into the marketing landscape of the today and the future?

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Don’t tell your competitors, but programmatic is the the next big thing in digital marketing!

Simon is the Founder and Managing Director of Zazzle Media—the UK digital content marketing agency, not the ecommerce gift shop) which is now part of the IPG network. At Zazzle, Simon specialises in building audiences of value for his clients, from search, social and influencer channels. He’s also somewhat of an authority on all things programmatic.

After reading his really thorough article on programmatic delivery, we were super keen to have this little chat. Simon does a great job of explaining programmatic content marketing and programmatic advertising/media buying in layman’s terms, which is especially helpful for those of us who are a bit lost on the subject ??


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What Does Programmatic Marketing Mean?

Programmatic marketing refers to the automated bidding on advertising space in real time, for the opportunity to show an ad to a specific customer, in a specific context.

Think of programmatic as a way to advertise and share content in a similar way to social platforms like Facebook. That is to say, marketers are targeting audiences based not on keywords or the website they’re visiting, but on a more comprehensive stack of data that includes their wants, needs & actions.


How Does Programmatic Work?

Programmatic bidding takes place via algorithms. These bidding algorithms operate during millisecond-long auctions as a webpage is loading.

To best describe the process of programmatic marketing, here’s an example:

  • Dave is looking for doughnut shops online. He comes across an article about The Best Doughnuts in Australia and clicks on it.
  • The article’s publisher GoodFood probably has some information stored on Dave in its Data Management Platform.
  • GoodFood will send Dave’s relevant info to an ad server, to see if they have a campaign that wants to target him.
  • If a campaign is found that fits, then the ad is shown to Dave. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

If no campaign on this server is directly targeting Dave, it then turns to programmatic marketing.

  • The server takes Dave’s browser info, the website URL and the ad type to selected bidders including traders and ad networks.
  • Each bidder has its own algorithm, evaluating the request based on Dave’s data, their own targeting criteria and budget.
  • Once evaluated, the bidder’s algorithm selects the optimal creative (which may be a simple ad or a bit of relevant content) and places a bid.

The Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) are where advertisers lurk, searching for specific types of people and spruiking what they’re willing to pay for each one.

On the other hand, the Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) are where the publishers and media owners hang out, showing off their empty ad spaces and handing out Dave’s relevant data.

May the best bid win!

  • Based on his data and a bidding war that lasted around a fifth of a second, Dave is shown some content for a local cafe.

From there it’s in Dave’s hands.

How is Programmatic Marketing and Advertising Changing Both Big and Small Business?

Hyper-targeted marketing is a win-win situation for both consumers and marketers alike. As a consumer, I personally hate seeing un-relevant ads for family cars and pregnancy tests (I know I’m nearly 28 but jeez get off my back). As a marketer, I look at that and see nothing but dollars down the drain.

Traditional media buyers should be shaking in their boots right about now, because programmatic is a way more efficient and cost effective method of connecting with exactly the right people at exactly the right time. And it can be used anywhere.


“Anywhere that has a hole for advertising can be filled by programmatic delivery.”


There are infinite possibilities for programmatic marketing in the future, even beyond the world of digital content and advertising. With the explosion of targeted digital OOH advertising, it’s only a matter of time before OOH, TV & other traditional media are being bought with programmatic.

Programmatic Content Marketing

Programmatic is not just about advertising and buying banner ads, it’s about delivery. Delivery of really relevant, interesting, personalised content. Content marketing in the last decade has become the best way to build an engaged audience of value.

Outside of organic, owned and earned media (which everybody else is using too), how else can we get our content in front of the people who are most likely to interact with it? You guessed it.


How Can Local Businesses Get Started with Programmatic Marketing?

At first glance, programmatic can seem like a bit of a head spinner if you’re not a complete tech/data/marketing nerd. The good news is that for business owners, there’s really only one thing you need to worry about.

At the heart of every good marketing strategy is the customer. If you’re a business owner or marketer considering programmatic media buying, all you need to be concerned with is knowing exactly who your ideal target audience is.

Programmatic marketing is a seriously specific targeting system, so your market research needs to be seriously up to scratch.

As far as platforms go, Simon recommended some great DSPs for local businesses including admedo, zypmedia, brandzooka & pocketmath. Theres also a MarketingLand article if you need some help choosing the right programmatic buying platform.

While we would never urge businesses to go out and blow their entire marketing budgets on programmatic ad spend (yet), it’s absolutely worth dipping your toes in the water in 2017. As Simon says:


“The tsunami is coming, so let’s try and get ahead of that curve.”


To find out more about today’s guest Simon Penson, follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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