Programmatic Ad Buying: Holy Buzzword Batman!

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I want to just jump into the programmatic deep end here, but I think I should put on floaties and start with some basic swim lessons:

What is programmatic ad buying? A river of buzzwords! It’s also an automated ad buying process where Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) link ad buyers to inventory exchanges where real-time auctions occur to place a display, video, social or mobile ad.

Enough of your trickery! What does it mean!?! It means that marketers can leverage real-time data to target users across platforms and publishers to cost-effectively deliver a display, video, social or mobile ad.

Still afloat? On to the deep end. Here are three tips to help digital marketers leverage this new fancy buzzword platform to execute effective and efficient programmatic campaigns.

  1. Don’t be afraid to get specific with your targeting. Programmatic buying allows you to refine your targeting very finely. Because of that, there’s a fear of not casting a wide enough net and missing potential converters. I would argue that because the inventory sources are becoming so limitless, 72% of online publishers are using programmatic ad technologies (IAB), that it’s really challenging to carve out a slice too small. The best approach more often than not is a balanced one. A healthy programmatic funnel should include a prospecting pool that ranges far and wide and optimizes based on performance only, and a very specific, targeted contextual or behavioral component as well.
  1. Test then optimize. Rinse and repeat. Do you want to know if applying a new contextual tactic will affect overall campaign performance? If so, test it. Do you want to know if a new tactic will identify a new consumer group? Then test it. Testing is the best way for you to build a healthy programmatic campaign full of effectively performing tactics. The earlier you make testing a priority the more likely you will start identifying effective tactics and removing under-performing ones while identifying your campaign’s true target audience. Programmatic is not about having the right answers, it’s about applying a refined process to find the right answers.
  1. The display world is trending mobile. Hop onboard! Mobile has experienced an amazing year-over-year growth of 109% between 2013 and 2014, out pacing video, display and social (Turn Insight Report). As mobile has become an integral part of our daily lives, 45 million Americans use mobile phones as their primary internet access device, marketers have to integrate mobile into their programmatic strategies (CTIA). Oh, and apparently 75% of Americans use their phone while in the bathroom, so yeah, keep that in mind when placing your mobile ads. It probably looks something like this. (11mark).

These are just three concepts to keep in mind as you implement your programmatic strategies. Keep automating and optimizing and as the programmatic ecosystem continues to grow and evolve as will our best practices (cough ad viewability cough). The best way I’ve found to navigate this crazy new digitally automated real-time bidding world is with an open mind.

Evan Barocas About the author
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