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Programmatic Advertising and Social Media: How They Work Together

Programmatic advertising is an influential force in today’s marketing world, and more brands are using it to make their ad buying more efficient and precise. Another impactful factor for these brands is social media, which they use to interact with their current customers, find new customers, and increase brand awareness. But can these two behemoths of digital marketing work together? Indeed, they can, if you have the right tools and strategies in place.

What Is Programmatic Advertising?

Learning about the three different types of programmatic advertising can shed more light on how it works:

  • Real-time bidding (RTB): Real-time bidding is what most people think of when someone mentions programmatic advertising. In this process, every time a user visits a site, its ad space goes up for auction. Automation technology analyzes each impression to determine whether it will help you meet your marketing goals and then places a bid in the auction. The highest bidder wins the auction and gets the ad space. The process is entirely automated and occurs within nanoseconds.
  • Programmatic direct: In the programmatic direct approach, the advertiser works one-on-one with a publisher to agree on terms for running an ad campaign on their site. They then use technology to automate the campaign’s execution.
  • Private marketplaces (PMP): Another method is to purchase ad space in a private marketplace. Premium publishers use these PMPs to sell ad space to advertisers they choose to work with, often because they want more control over which ads display on their sites. Once a publisher and advertiser agree on terms, they use automation technology to run the campaign.

Is Social Advertising Part of Programmatic?

When most people think of programmatic ads, they picture display ads, such as banner ads, on websites. While this is one popular and potentially useful form of programmatic advertising, you can also purchase various other kinds of ads programmatically, including video, native, search, audio, and of course, social.

In fact, social media now accounts for more than half of programmatic ad spending. eMarketer recently predicted that 56.3% of the $57 billion advertisers spent on programmatic ads in 2019 would go to social media and that, by 2021, that number would increase to 57.6%.

You can use programmatic tools to place ads on social media in much the same way you would use them to buy display ads and other forms of digital advertising: by using a DSP or trading desk that gives you access to ad space on social media platforms.

The Benefits of Programmatic Social Ads

Why are programmatic social ads becoming more popular? Social media is one of the most engaging and effective ways to connect with audiences today, and programmatic ad buying makes it easier than ever to take advantage of the reach of these platforms. A few of the benefits that programmatic social ads provide are:

1. Enhanced Transparency and Control

Programmatic social advertising allows the marketers to maintain control of their ad buys, and to target audiences as precise or broad as you desire. You will have visibility into how each social campaign performs, and which strategies or tactics works best.

2. Increased Efficiency

Because programmatic advertising automates the social media ad buying process, it can save you significant amounts of time. Using the programmatic approach enables you to spend more time researching your audience, developing strategies, and creating content and less time searching for the perfect ad space for your content, negotiating rates, and manually buying ad inventory. A trading desk can perform these tasks for you on a large scale, giving you more reach and more accurate targeting with a much smaller time investment. Plus, you get automatic, easy-to-read reporting that makes determining a campaign’s effectiveness and making any necessary adjustments more efficient too.

3. More Precise Targeting and Broader Reach

With programmatic advertising, you can easily target users based on a wide range of characteristics. These attributes include their social media activity as well as their activity across other websites and apps. You can also account for offline data, such as loyalty card subscriptions, as well as demographic information, interests, purchase history with your company, and much more. This approach enables much more precise targeting than simply serving ads to people who like a certain page on Facebook, for example. In addition, you can reach users across multiple social media platforms, and your DSP will make sure you reach the ones that are most likely to help you accomplish your campaign goals.

Where Can You Advertise on Social?

Social advertising has become mainstream across networking platforms for businesses looking to improve their brand awareness. At AUDIENCEX, we work across a wide range of social media channels, including:

  • FacebookIf you’re hoping to reach the largest possible audience, Facebook may be the platform for you. Right now, there are more than 2 billion Facebook users who scroll through a vast selection of online content every day. Thanks to its reliable, detailed targeting options, this platform is ideal for reaching specific demographics. You can also choose from a wide range of ad types, all of which can increase campaign performance as you invest more time and money into them. 
  • InstagramInstagram is an excellent platform for businesses that are interested in increasing awareness and engagement through photo and video ads. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, your advertising options for these two platforms are similar. If you’re looking to integrate programmatic and social media strategies with your latest campaign, Instagram is a great place to start, thanks to its user-friendliness and high user engagement potential.
  • Snapchat: While Snapchat advertising can be a little more expensive than other types of social media advertising, it’s the ideal option if you’re marketing to young adults. On Snapchat, you can use Snap ads, which are 10-second-long videos or images designed for the platform. There are also other ad options available, including story and collection ads. You can reach a wide audience by creating ads for Snapchat feeds.
  • Twitter: Gaining followers, clicks, and awareness on Twitter can help increase your brand reputation fast. You can use this platform to build ad campaigns, boost tweets, and even promote specific products. With a powerful image or engaging tweet, you’ll be able to draw in new leads and gain more conversions for a cost-effective price. You may have the opportunity to improve brand awareness by following the latest Twitter trends. Hashtags can also be effective advertising tools on this platform.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn advertising is designed for business leaders who want to develop programmatic social advertising campaigns and target them to other businesses. LinkedIn is a social networking platform that allows professionals to support other professionals, which makes it a great place to reach out to groups and users in certain fields. Sponsored InMail and text ads are popular forms of marketing for businesses that use LinkedIn as part of their ad campaigns.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is a great place for people to share ideas about products, crafts, recipes, and decor. This platform offers the ability to target specific types of consumers and keywords. The people who browse Pinterest are often those looking around without a specific goal to achieve, which leaves the possibilities for your ads wide open. Pinterest has millions of users, most of whom are female and browsing for unique homemade items.
  • Reddit: The Reddit platform allows users to chat via forum threads about a wide range of topics. It’s a great option for advertisers who want to engage certain types of customers. Reddit has 25 interest categories and hundreds of interests to choose from, and advertisers can easily target based on certain conversations. Most users are young men with strong political opinions.
  • Quora: Quora offers a way for business-oriented individuals to ask and answer questions about specific topics. Those who use this platform are typically looking to achieve a specific goal. Social media ads on Quora can be geared toward behaviors, topics, demographics, devices, and more. Quora allows advertisers to create ad responses and answer questions that relate to their industry. 
  • TikTok: TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps, and in the past year it’s had a massive effect on social media culture. You can target audiences based on age, gender, location, interests, device type, and more. Thanks to its wide user base, TikTok is ideal for international company leaders who want to reach younger users. TikTok is especially popular among female Gen Z audiences.

The ideal social media platform for your ad will depend on who your target audience is and what you want to promote. You’ll need to place your ads on the channels your audience is already using and consider which types of content work best on which platforms. For example, LinkedIn is an excellent place for B2B companies and promoting longform content that positions your brand as an industry leader. Twitter can be either professional or casual but is best for quick, bite-sized pieces of content. Instagram and Snapchat, meanwhile, are highly visual and appeal to a younger demographic.

Ad Formats You Can Use for Programmatic Advertising

If you’re developing a programmatic advertising strategy, you need to know what types of ad formats are available. The types of ads you run may differ based on your business’ needs. Consider these common ad formats:

  • Display: Someone who spends a large amount of time online is likely to see their fair share of display ads. A display ad appears as a banner, image, or set of text on a webpage. You can pay to have these ads appear on websites and deliver specific messages to consumers. Programmatic display advertising is automated, which makes it easier to target the right consumers at the right time.
  • Video: A video ad is any type of advertisement that plays before, during, or after an online video. Because consumers are watching more video online than ever before, many companies use programmatic advertising strategies to target consumers. Video ads can be almost any length, and they can be used in any type of video stream.
  • Native: Native ad content is a type of ad that’s designed to fit a website or publisher’s style and format. They fit in well with the website or platform’s normal content, and they tend to be more popular with consumers than other types of ads. Native ads can appear as infographics, videos, banners, and more.
  • High Impact Mobile: Combining custom creative built for mobile with effective targeting means you can capture the attention of your ideal customer when and where they are most likely to engage.
  • Connected TV (CTV): Connected TV (CTV) and Over-the-Top (OTT) advertising gives advertisers the ability to reach their target audience wherever they are watching their favorite shows.
  • Digital Audio & Podcasts: Send your message to highly engaged radio and podcast listeners, combining advanced targeting with audio inventory from all the major audio publishers in one place.
  • Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH): Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) combines the unparalleled viewability of traditional out-of-home advertising with the efficiency of digital advertising, in a brand-safe environment.

If you’re using any of these assets for your ad campaign, you can also optimize them for social media with the help of creative sets. By using creative sets, it’s possible to test different ads and digital assets based on targeting factors. You can also resize existing digital ads for social media campaigns.

Using Programmatic Advertising and Social in Your Advertising Strategy

If you want to increase the efficiency, accuracy, and reach of your digital marketing strategies, consider incorporating both programmatic advertising and social media advertising into them. Social media is an excellent place to both engage with existing customers and find new ones, and programmatic advertising can automate and optimize the  ad buying process to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Working with a trading desk like AUDIENCEX can help you get the most out of your programmatic ad campaigns across social media and various other digital channels. Let us know what the goals for your campaign are, and we’ll help you identify the perfect strategies and platforms for you. We’ll then find the ideal ad space for your content, place your ads, provide in-depth reporting, and help you optimize your campaign, all with the help of our world-class technology. To learn more, get in touch with us today.

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