We let the facts do the talking.

The growing dominance of programmatic PR

Like most industries in today’s age, PR is witnessing a growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI). From how we operate to how we evaluate our success, AI has allowed us to make massive strides in refining the way we target our communication to the right audience. It has also led to an increased use of Programmatic PR, which uses programmatic audience targeting technology, through which we can push PR content in different formats such as articles, infographics, and videos, towards relevant audiences in locations and placements that are appropriate to our readership.

In essence, it blends in the PR content and messaging within the native content of the platforms that is preferred and trusted by the audience most valuable to the brands. The PR messaging is tactically positioned to resemble the native content of the platform, so it is not as intrusive as traditional advertising to the overall experience of the target audience. It also breaks through the clutter and selective perception of ads, which allows for higher viewership and more credibility to the message.

A big advantage of Programmatic PR is the ability to include a link that can lead the viewer to the brand’s website, social media channels, or the digitised version of the published content. In addition to the informative nature of the PR content, the added journey through the link allows you to continue the conversation and track users. The use of AI and clever data algorithms also ensures the messaging can be adapted based on how the viewer progresses through the links. It ensures the right message is delivered at the right place, while tracking allows us as a PR manager to measure the impact of our messaging. The whole process is incredibly efficient and has several organic benefits, such as:

  • Increase in interest, leading to a rise in web searches and website visits.
  • Higher domain authority for your website if the content is uploaded as a blog or an article.
  • Higher ranking by Google for the relevant keywords versus competitors.
  • Increased chances of getting discovered on all platforms through synergy in the keywords among website, social media channels, and programmatic PR.

Now, I will be talking about its benefits for different audiences, in different situations, and how the current environment in the COVID landscape has encouraged brands to finally embrace Programmatic PR.

The larger consensus among PR managers is that for a B2C client, Programmatic has proven to be highly effective for performance than brand marketing. B2B clients are a completely different ball game, and therefore the benefits and challenges also vary accordingly. While in a B2C environment the buying decision-maker is a single entity or an individual, B2B decisions involve a team of people which means that decisions take longer as more people need convincing. B2B conversions are also harder to track given a transaction cannot be credited to a single article, positive impression, or instance.

Programmatic PR for B2B brands, therefore, is an ongoing process that requires the delivery of the PR message through a wider range of content and different platforms over time. Given the longer decision-making process and at times long purchase cycles, the Programmatic PR strategy needs to be more elaborate to nurture the positive impressions for a longer period. Is it a challenge? Yes. But if successfully tackled through an effective Programmatic PR strategy, it can do wonders for a brand’s reputation and business.

In the current environment because of COVID, there has been a significant uptick in brands’ interest in adapting programmatic PR. Brand managers are encouraged to adopt new strategies that they haven’t considered in the past, due to a strong emphasis on return on investment and attribution in marketing budgets. Due to a recession-like environment, where sales are relatively low, brands do not just want the customers to know about them, they also want customers to act on their awareness about them.

Programmatic PR, therefore, with its low-cost methodology and nature of delivering hyper-targeted results, is perfectly suited for the current times. It offers a tremendous bang for the buck, and with people spending more and more time online during the lockdown, there has never been a better time to go programmatic.


Reem Masswadeh is Client Services Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |