Programmatic advertising is described as advertising controlled by computers. The process involves setting a target audience and how much you are willing to pay. Your “bid” will be compared with other companies wanting to target the same people at the same time. The winning bid will have their advert displayed. The losing bid doesn’t get charged but it means their advert isn’t seen either. This process is also called “real-time bidding” as it appears to happen in near real-time thanks to the power of modern computing and algorithms.

Esports is an interesting topic when it comes to programmatic advertising. We recently had a conversation with the division of a beauty company with several recognised brands. The beauty company told us that they only do programmatic advertising when asked the question “what do you currently do?”. They also said their objectives were to increase reach and lower CPM cost.

CPM is the measurement of “cost per thousand views” for an advert and is a standard cost measurement in advertising so reducing this cost makes sense. The more challenging part is that only focusing on programmatic advertising means any esports activation would need very defined targeting. The message for the advert would also need to be extremely relevant to the audience. This made us sit and think about ways to build paid advertising campaigns for esports (not to be confused with influencer campaigns).

We’ve created a short list of considerations and tips for how to include “real-time bidding” into your esports marketing campaigns.

Our tips for programmatic advertising in esports

  • Facebook and Instagram have the ability to target by “Interest”. Use this to target specific game communities and people who have listed the game on their profile.
  • Research what is happening in a specific game community. This enables you to create a message that is relevant to the audience. Examples include World Championships or major tournament events.
  • Use tools like Google Adwords where you can target specific websites. Create a list of specific game community sites you want to target and deliver a relevant message.
  • Update and optimise a campaign. The message about the World Championships can be updated as teams progress or are eliminated.
  • Provide a destination. Create a registration form, giveaway or other incentive with a landing page so you can re-target later.

Programmatic advertising in esports

Philip Wride

Founder & CEO at Cheesecake Digital
Philip is the Founder of Cheesecake Digital and has been involved in esports since 2001. He has written for multiple digital marketing and gaming publications including the BBC and Guinness Book of World Records.
Philip Wride