Improve Your Programmatic Ad Buying Strategies

By J.P. Beauchamp 

Technology is doing a pretty good job of helping marketers maximize their media investments while also vigilantly protecting their brands. Programmatic buying, also known as automated digital ad buying, in particular, is making ad buying more efficient and effective.

Automating the ad placement process by determining who best to serve ad impressions to based on data has exploded in recent years. In 2011, programmatic buying was 20 percent of all ad spend; today, it’s more than 70 percent. It is also expected to make up $14.88 billion of the $58.6 billion digital advertising market this year, according to eMarketer, an increase of $5 billion from 2014.  

Many who use programmatic buying regularly appreciate its transparent pricing model and the fact that ad buyers can use third-party data to automatically target impressions and optimize at the most efficient and effective impression level. The buyer sets parameters such as bid price and network reach, and a programmatic buy layers them with behavioral or audience data within the same platform. Additionally, these operational efficiencies may translate into higher CPMs in order to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message.

Automated ad buying delivers value in other ways throughout the marketing process:

  • Marketers get granular targeting to the consumers that matter most (e.g., heavy buyers or competitive buyers) to them as well as rapid insights and optimization.
  • Ad agencies see better cost and time efficiencies.
  • Market researchers can use tremendous amounts of data in house to help brands be more efficient and effective.
  • Technology platforms can be used to power improved campaign performance and deliver stronger results for marketers.

Even though the adoption of programmatic buying is increasing, there are still several hurdles when it comes to accurately measuring the results of your programmatic ad buys. When working with data and media activation partners, you’ll want to ask them about the following:

  • Viewability – While buyers can purchase ads that are more viewable than others, there is no industry standard for viewability. Also, publishers and marketers aren’t collaborating to bring forth better quality ads. 
  • Fraud – Unfortunately, click bots and other fraudulent inventory still exist, including URL masking. This results in the advertiser not knowing where their ads are actually running.
  • Single source cross-channel measurement – The ability to track and measure results across digital in one platform has been challenging, at best. Make it a part of all your RFIs so that you know who and what can be measured
  • Cookie reliance – Behavioral targeting through programmatic systems is mainly based on cookies, which of course don’t work with mobile.
  • Sales Tracking Latency – Offline sales data has latency associated with the collecting, collating and quality control process that must be factored into measurement programs.  In other words, real time may have a necessary lag that is important for complete and accurate data.  

When it comes to your programmatic buys, you want partners that can help you achieve savings and/or increase your reach to high value consumers while driving more volume. They should know exactly which buys provided the most efficient and effective investments for your brands. Whether it’s shifting to particular content areas or major publishers, or “blacklisting” certain publishers altogether in programmatic buys, advertisers who get it right can achieve 15 to 25 percent efficiency with their online media spend.

Now that’s programmatic buying that works.

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