While quite a bit is said about the ever-increasing share of digital ad dollars being spent programmatically, which is expected to reach nearly 88% by 2021, not enough attention is given to the experience of the marketers behind these purchases. Are their teams prepared and comfortable within the platforms they use? Do the tools at their disposal paint a clear picture of the customer journey? Are they satisfied with the overall toolset and experience?

Improving Programmatic Marketing Understanding

The programmatic ad buying experience needs to be improved to be more approachable to mid-market advertisers testing it for the first time. Although marketers are increasingly adopting programmatic strategies, many of them still have concerns related to the programmatic experience. In a Digiday Research survey of 469 media buyers, 27% cited transparency as a top concern. Marketers need and deserve more intuitive reporting within their programmatic buys. When this information is easily accessible, marketers can improve their understanding of their programmatic campaigns and more fully leverage this technology’s capabilities.

Programmatic advertising can be a valuable tool for marketers, but to really take advantage of its capabilities, a basic understanding of how it works is essential. The topic of programmatic marketing can be confusing, as there are numerous advanced technologies at play, and jargon and acronyms are common. Marketers can get a leg up on the competition by taking some time to improve their understanding of programmatic advertising. 

Understanding the Basics of Programmatic

As a marketer, how can you improve your understanding of programmatic advertising? It’s helpful to take some time to understand the basics of how it works before diving in. That way, you can determine if it’s the right solution for your goals and be better prepared to create an effective programmatic campaign. As you spend more time with it, you’ll continue to get more comfortable with it. It’s also valuable to work with a partner, like AUDIENCEX, who can help guide you through the process.

Here’s what you need to know to understand the basics of programmatic advertising:

Getting Started With Programmatic

Traditionally, to buy space for their ads, marketers had to negotiate with multiple parties and manually execute their campaigns; an approach that is time-intensive and can lead to errors. Thanks to AdTech, this manual approach is no longer necessary. Today’s programmatic advertising solutions automate the purchase of ad space and automatically optimizes your ad delivery using machine learning and other advanced technologies. 

Programmatic advertising can provide numerous advantages to marketers. It automates significant parts of the campaign process, making your work as a marketer easier. This automation also reduces the possibility of human error and can improve the accuracy of your targets. It does so by using machine learning to find the perfect audience for your programmatic ads and presenting them to that audience at the right times. In addition, it can be beneficial to keep up with the latest trends in digital advertising, provided they can help you meet your goals. Even if you don’t adopt the latest technologies, your competition will, potentially giving them an advantage.

Here’s a quick refresh on the basics of programmatic. To dive deeper into the subject, consult our comprehensive programmatic glossary.

Programmatic in a Nutshell

What exactly does programmatic mean? The term programmatic can apply to many industries, not just marketing, and refers to workflow automation enabled by technology. In advertising, it refers to the automation of many of the processes involved in buying and placing ads on digital platforms.

Programmatic marketing can occur in several different ways. Some marketers work with a publisher directly and use automated ad delivery. Others prefer a private marketplace with a premium publisher. The most common choice, however, is to purchase programmatic ads on an open market and with an impression-by-impression basis. These types of ads occur in real-time and draw on automation technology.

The Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Advantage

When people hear the term programmatic advertising, they typically think of real-time bidding. Sometimes, these terms are even used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same thing. RTB is a type of programmatic advertising that is competitive and data-driven.

Real-time bidding provides a key advantage over publisher-direct buying. When you purchase an RTB ad, you can assess whether you’re reaching your target audience every time a page loads. Being able to home in on individuals who are most likely to interact with your ad is both efficient and cost-effective, and AdTech analyzes each situation and bids accordingly for you.

Expanding Ad Channels With Less Effort

With programmatic advertising, advertisers can purchase ads across a range of publisher sites without having to negotiate with each publisher individually. Demand-side platforms (DSPs) automate the process of negotiating rates and buying ads, while trading desks manage your programmatic ad buying using various technologies and can give you access to multiple DSPs.

These DSPs and trade desks allow you to purchase ads across numerous channels and platforms. You can purchase ads on social media platforms, search engines, mobile apps, and more. For example, with tdX, our trading desk, you get access to 18 different platforms, including Google Ads, Amazon, Facebook, and MediaMath. Having access to a broader range of platforms and sites enables you to target your audience wherever they are and reach a wide range of prospects so you can scale your campaigns.

Programmatic Ad Format and Pricing Options

Place Ads in Various Formats

Programmatic advertising also allows you to place ads in various formats like display, mobile, native, video, over-the-top and interactive. Many ad campaigns rely on multiple ad formats to reach the intended audience. Programmatic advertising helps you to reach that audience with the most effective formats and more efficient tactics.

In addition to format, programmatic provides several pricing options:

  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM): With the cost per thousand impressions model, also called cost per mille, you agree on a price for every 1,000 impressions, which are instances in which someone sees your ad. This approach is the most popular of the three and is ideal for when you want to reach a broad audience. It’s also useful when people seeing the message is more important than them clicking on your ad or taking a specific action.
  • Cost per click (CPC): If you choose the cost per click model, you pay for each time someone clicks on your ad. This method is useful when getting someone to click on your ad is the main goal and when you want to target a smaller audience.
  • Cost per action (CPA): In the cost per action, or cost per acquisition, model, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and then converts. Converting may mean purchasing a product, signing up for an email list, or whatever the goal of your ad campaign is. This method is ideal when you’re targeting a smaller audience, and when you want the user to complete a specific action.

Regardless of the pricing model that aligns with your goals, programmatic advertising is much more cost-effective than direct buying. In fact, it usually costs about one-fifth as much.

Targeting the Right Audience

One strategy for making your programmatic campaigns more successful is to target your ads to specific groups of users. Take some time to learn about your current customers. Consider information such as their demographics, their interests, what they like about your products or services, and other characteristics. Then, target your ads to users with similar characteristics. Try to make your targeting relatively specific too, or start with a broader audience and then narrow it down as you learn more about who’s interested in your ads. Targeting a more niche group of users is more likely to lead to a conversion than a broad, general ad. Programmatic advertising technology can help provide you with data you need to make better targeting decisions.

Testing and Continuously Optimizing

Programmatic ad buying makes it easier to test ads and adjust your campaigns as you go. Take advantage of this capability by creating several versions of each ad and seeing which ones perform best. You can keep the best-performing ads and even continually tweak your ads so they get more effective over time.

Taking Steps to Prevent Bot Fraud

One concern that many marketers have with programmatic buying is bot fraud. According to a report by bot detection group White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers, projected global losses due to fraud were $5.8 billion in 2019. While this is still a significant problem, it’s an improvement from 2017’s $6.5 billion in projected losses. The report also notes that, for the first time, the majority of attempted fraud incidents were stopped before they were paid for.

DSPs and SSPs were able to stop many of the attempts by filtering out bad bid requests and taking other preventative measures. The ads.txt initiative has helped to prevent some problems by enabling programmatic platforms to confirm which publishers’ inventory they’re authorized to sell, which allows buyers to verify the legitimacy of the inventory they buy. Publishers can also list all of the authorized public sellers of their digital inventory.

The industry needs to continue to increase transparency and come up with new technological approaches to stopping fraud. Continuous monitoring and evolving approaches to prevention will be key.

Improving Paid Media With the Right DSPs

To make the most of your programmatic campaigns, you need to use the right DSPs. It’s essential to find the ones that will enable you to reach your desired audiences most efficiently. Having numerous easily accessible options can help with this, which is what a trading desk provides. AUDIENCEX, for example, can help you choose the right DSPs for your goals and give you access to more than 18 programmatic, search, and social advertising platforms through our tdX trading desk. Having the right tools and support available is crucial to improving the programmatic buying experience.

Not sure which DSP is right for you? Take the tdX assessment by entering your campaign parameters, and find out which one is right for you. 

Join the Conversation About Programmatic Media

How are you looking to improve your programmatic ad buying experience? Is your team up to speed, does your reporting follow the customer journey, and are the tools at your disposal up to your expectations?

AUDIENCEX powers high-performance campaigns across programmatic, search, and social platforms. If you’d like to get in touch to learn more about how we can help increase the impact of your campaigns, contact us.

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