5 Programmatic Advertising Tips to Boost Performance

By Wesley Farris Director of Partnerships at Digilant

Programmatic has evolved considerably. What was once an experimental technology, has now morphed into a cross-channel, data-driven ecosystem with unlimited opportunity and strategic value. In fact, U.S. programmatic spending continues to rise – it is expected to surpass over $27 billion by the end 2017, according to e-marketer. Today, the question is no longer “Will we use Programmatic?” but rather, “How will we use Programmatic?”

Despite programmatic’s growth and widespread adoption, many marketers still struggle with how to best leverage it to maximize ROI. That’s not surprising considering its vast menu of options — programmatic can leave many marketers wondering where to begin. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Below are five tips to help you navigate your programmatic options today:

1.Identify A Goal

Before diving into programmatic, it’s important to first understand and acknowledge the objective of your effort. Is the goal of this campaign direct response or branding? Are you trying to drive people to a physical location or convert online? Are you trying to better understand your audience or learn when and where they are converting?

Identifying the goal of the campaign will enable the selection of the best programmatic tactics. For example, if your campaign goal is direct response, your programmatic efforts should include retargeting. If your goal is branding, focusing on domains with high impact ad units and domains with historical high viewability scores are good starting points. For instance, you might work with a partner who can measure viewability and Limit Fraud to ensure ads are highly visible. Overall, aligning your goal with your programmatic tactics will deliver better performance and improved ROI.

2. Identify The Right Marketing Channels

There are many ways to reach an audience programmatically: desktop, mobile, mobile apps, video, native, audio, and TV, just to name a few. But how do you choose the right channels?Each channel has its pros and cons, and you should carefully weigh them when deciding where to spend your budget. For instance, desktop display tends to be affordable and flexible, but won’t drive as many clicks. Conversely, video and audio can drive high viewability, have better ad recall and are strong branding performers, but they come with higher CPMs.
So, if the goal is a low cost per action or return on ad spend, you are better off spending your budget on desktop and mobile display. If you are looking for better brand recall, video and audio might justify the higher CPM. Cross device targeting is essential if you are trying to drive conversions/sales in order to reach the target audience during all phases of the purchase cycle. In general, if you want to get more value from your programmatic media buys, don’t underestimate the importance of carefully selecting the channels you’ll use for your campaign.

3. Identify Data Layers

With the growth of programmatic, we’ve also seen the proliferation of audience segmentation and big data, both of which can be used to enhance and optimize campaigns.  A great way to visualize the data selection process is to think of audience segmentation as various layers of data. With each data layer, the goal is to filter and remove users that don’t fit the target you are trying to reach. For example, let’s say you want to target women who will be in market to
purchase maternity clothes.

  • First data layer might try to segment the entire user population to identify pregnant women. This could be accomplished by looking at a combination of demographic data and apps on the user’s device.
  • Second data layer might look to identify pregnant women who have shown an interest in maternity clothes, or behavior to purchase them. A marketer could target them on search history, contextual content, and their physical location history. These two data layers will help you establish a baseline for pregnant women who have shown an interest in purchasing maternity clothes.
  • Third data layer could be the audience of users who have viewed specific products on a maternity clothes brand’s website and are retargeted.

Overall, a layered data strategy enables you to filter out non-applicable users, and focus on your ideal target audience. Doing so will boost the ROI of your programmatic effort.

4. Attribute Performance

It’s important to know what is performing in a campaign and why? Programmatic media allows marketers to understand performance at a level that is unmatched when compared to other traditional media such as print or TV.  Today, there are no longer limitations to properly attribute a programmatic media campaign, and marketers don’t have to rely on CTR or first/last click attribution. Instead, attribution allows marketers to truly understand — on a 1-to-1 level — how their media affected their bottom line. For instance, tying media to physical in-store traffic is a great way to take an abstract media metric and apply it to real world performance, and is readily available in the marketplace. Media can be tied to loyalty data or credit card transactions as well, so marketers no longer need to guess if a campaign made an impact on the bottom line. And from a branding stand point, marketers can just as easily tie a media campaign to the impact on their brand and how consumers perceive it.

5. Optimize

Fortunately, programmatic media provides more metrics, insights, and hard data than any other form of media.  Tapping into this data can greatly help you uncover insights that aren’t always intuitive, and improve the performance of your next initiative.

For example, if you are a retail marketer focused on sports apparel, you might assume that your audience might skew male. However, a programmatic campaign might reveal that your top performing audience is actually females 25-34.  Be sure to examine your programmatic campaign insights for learnings that will help you fine-tune future efforts. Doing so will ensure increase your ROI and bottom line performances.

There will always be ways to improve a media buy, and programmatic’s flexible capabilities allows for that continual optimization. Pre-flight, mid-flight, and post-flight analysis and strategy can ensure campaign performances continues to improve. When mapping out programmatic efforts, be sure to take the time to apply the the above 5 tips to boost success.

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