Stay ahead of digital marketing trends – and improve ROI – with programmatic advertising.
The world of online advertising has changed dramatically since its start in 1994 when AT&T ran a banner ad on Hotwired Magazine and got a 44% click-through rate. Back then, campaign setup generally involved a roomful of people, stacks of paperwork, and hours of negotiations...just for a single ad on a single website.
These days, digital advertising can entail anything from traditional banner ads to content syndication, from audio ads in podcasts to video ads on a consumer’s living room TV. Unless you’re living life off the grid, it’s nearly impossible to go even a day without witnessing some form of digital advertising.
A big reason for that is because data-driven marketing, made possible by technology, has made it so much easier and more cost-effective to advertise. There’s still a lot of heart and soul that goes into a digital ad buy, between budgeting, creation, strategy, and implementation, but in this day and age, there are options out there for everyone, regardless of business size, level of experience, or budget. One of the best options is programmatic advertising.
What Is Programmatic Advertising?
Programmatic advertising allows you to place ads in front of customers while they browse the web, in a number of different formats. While programmatic buying used to involve long, drawn-out negotiations and physical RFPs, it has adapted a lot over the years. The process is now essentially instant, which allows for more time to optimize, improve, and strategize.
No matter what your business looks like, programmatic advertising is a great place to start. The benefits of programmatic ads are virtually endless, but here are a few to get the wheels spinning.
Benefit #1: It Works at Any Stage of the Funnel
If you’re involved in your company’s marketing, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about your full-funnel strategy, or how to capture your audience’s interest from their first touchpoint with your company and nurture them all the way down to a conversion. The best part about programmatic? You can use it at every stage, as long as you have the right message and targeting.
You can run ads programmatically in a number of different formats: banners, videos, audio ads, native ads, and content syndication being just a few of them. Because of this, it’s easy to guide your audience down the funnel without worrying about creative fatigue – you can capture their interest with a banner ad, show them a case study while they’re in the research phase, then reach out in a more personalized way to get to that end conversion point. After that, you can retarget them with well-timed upsell opportunities to keep the conversation going.
That’s just one example of what programmatic buying looks like in a full-funnel strategy, but every campaign is going to look different. Working with the right programmatic partners can help ensure you’ll reach the right audience at the right time with the right message.
Benefit #2: It Can Help Scale Your Campaigns
If you’ve ever used a computer, you’re probably familiar with Google. Not only is Google the most popular search engine, with over 90% of market share, it also has the most popular network for display advertising. The Google Display Network is made up of over 2 million websites, videos, and apps, and boasts of being able to reach over 90% of Internet users worldwide. While GDN is a great tool and a quick way to get your brand and message out there, it can also limit your reach and your targeting capabilities if it’s the only platform you’re using.
Some programmatic ad platforms are able to reach much larger networks of publishers, with different placements and more specific targeting for certain campaign types. You’ll need to ensure you’re not limiting your reach to one network and missing out on valuable targets.
Benefit #3: It Uses Machine Learning to Reach the Right People with the Right Ads
Machine learning is nothing new – computers have been using data and algorithms to mimic human behavior for years now, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it’s become a basis of smart digital advertising. Machine learning in programmatic advertising helps improve efficiency, make better use of your budget, and refine your targeting to make sure your money is being spent on those most likely to engage with your brand. This can be especially useful for a newer campaign where you may not know exactly who your target audience is. Machine learning can help you define your target audience, then allow you to refine further as you get a better sense of which segments are most valuable.
The added bonus is that the longer your ads run, the more successful machine learning can be. The “learning” aspect means it gets better over time with more data, which will only serve to improve your ROI and your understanding of your campaign.
Benefit #4: Different Partners Offer Different Functionality and Targeting Capabilities
A huge perk of programmatic advertising is that there are tons of platforms out there you can use, each one with different technology that offers different targeting capabilities and perks. Marketing technology is always evolving and opening the door to more options, so it’s important to keep evaluating new vendors and testing new platforms, even if you think you’ve found what works for you.
For every goal, budget, and target audience, there’s a programmatic ad platform out there that can meet your needs. There are platforms that target based on content topics, so you can reach the users interacting with your most valuable keywords. There are platforms to help ensure you’re reaching your target accounts and the right personnel within them. There are even programmatic platforms housed right within ABM platforms, so you can really maximize the potential of your ABM tech stack.
Again, there are so many great platforms out there, and the partners you explore might look completely different for each campaign or goal. It’s great to build relationships with a number of platforms, so you always know you have a great option for whichever campaign you’re looking to run.
Benefit #5: Testing, Testing, Testing
What is a media campaign without testing? Whether you’re looking at platforms, creative, ad copy, targeting, bidding strategies, or anything else under the sun, testing will be your best friend. And with programmatic advertising, the testing opportunities are virtually endless.
You might know what creative you think will perform best, or which targeting method will result in the best ROI. The truth is, you’ll never know until you test. Take your top two creative options and A/B test them against one another. If you’re stuck between two programmatic platforms that both sound great, split your budget between them and see for yourself. The results may surprise you, and your campaign will perform better in the long run once you have the data to back it up.
Again, there are so many benefits to incorporating programmatic ads into your media mix; this list is just the beginning. Whether you’re a seasoned digital marketer or just starting fresh, there are programmatic buying opportunities out there for you. And if you find you need help from the experts, we can help you there, too.