The emergence of the internet has paved the way for new digital marketing strategies and platforms, such as programmatic advertising.
Programmatic advertising enables brands and marketers to reach a more targeted audience to advertise their products and services. ThinkWithGoogle describes it as an efficient digital marketing strategy that “leads to a more sophisticated and targeted campaign.” It uses data to segment audience based on demographics, geographic, and psychographic attributes.
Programmatic is the hottest trend in the digital marketing industry. eMarketer projects that by 2020 automated buying and selling will account for 86.3 percent of the display ads or nearly $69 billion. To leverage this emerging digital marketing strategy, you need to use a programmatic advertising tool.
What are programmatic advertising tools?
Programmatic advertising tools are software applications designed to automate the bidding, buying, and placement of digital ads. It is also used to track, monitor, and optimize digital ad campaigns. If you’re familiar with paid search, programmatic ads work similar to those except that it gives you more control on how many ads are displayed, when and how. This means you only pay for the media inventory with the highest return of investment.
Backed by an enormous amount of data collected from various sources, programmatic tools allow marketers to customize their creatives and media inventory so that they are suited to the target audience. The advanced algorithms of these software solutions enable you to optimize your advertising campaigns, rather than aimlessly displaying your ads.
How do you choose the right programmatic tools?
For the complete outsider, navigating through programmatic can be a bit tricky. One of the most crucial aspects of a successful programmatic ad campaign is the programmatic solution. You need to choose a tool that meets your needs. Some well-known programmatic tools include the Adobe Marketing Cloud, AdReady, Adroll, Centro, Choozle, DataXu, DoubleClick, Kedet, PulsePoint, Rubicon Project, – and there’s so much more. Given the vast options, selecting which tool to use can be stressful, confusing, and challenging.
There are a lot of things to consider. Does it meet my needs? How much does it cost? Is it effective? Is it transparent?
When evaluating a programmatic ad platform, there are several things you need to keep in mind.
Pricing is one of the major factors that many clients look at when considering a programmatic platform. What is the minimum? Is there an upfront fee? Can the minimum be negotiated as your needs increase? You also want to know if there any onboarding or training fees, as well as, the actual cost of media. Usually, DSPs charge a certain percentage (around 20%) on media spending.
Meanwhile, some platforms charge a fixed price for the actual cost of media. It is important to understand the cost structure and know exactly where your money goes. Discuss it with your provider so you won’t be shocked when billing time comes.
Transparency is an issue that looms large over the programmatic industry, and it should also be your top concern when selecting a tool. You want your ads to be shown to organic traffic and not bots. Ask a potential provider how they can guarantee the transparency of their inventory sources, placements, and real costs. Choose a vendor that offers a breakdown of costs, showing actual media cost and markup.
When it comes to programmatic ads, trust is a significant consideration. As such, you need to carefully evaluate their product and how they conduct business, making sure that they align with yours.
The proprietary technology behind each programmatic tool is what sets them apart. These algorithms are designed for different marketing purposes. It’s vital to choose a vendor with a technology that satisfies your digital marketing needs. For example, some tools run on a hyper-local radius targeting algorithm. These tools are adequate for businesses operating in a local setting but not for B2B clients with a larger audience base.
Choose a programmatic advertising platform that uses data and technology that align with your overall campaign goals.
4. Targeting options
The best advantage of programmatic is its advanced targeting options. You want a tool with features to help you effectively implement your campaign.
Compare the features offered by each potential vendor. Does it enable you to utilize email list data and 1st party CRM? Does it use third-party data partners for brand safety and audience targeting? Does it allow you to use Private Marketplaces or Programmatic Direct Deals? Programmatic tools with superior features can help you cut unnecessary costs and increase ROI.
5. User data
Data is what drives programmatic advertising. It enables marketers to attract customer attention. Know the quality, volume and sources of data the tool utilizes. Having comprehensive and up-to-date data can help ensure that your ads deliver to consumers at the right time and place.
6. Technical support
If it is your first time in programmatic, technical support is a crucial aspect. You want to utilize a tool with reliable technical support for any questions, account issues, or troubleshooting needs that you may encounter. Some tools come with a dedicated account manager, which is great as the issues can be resolved much faster.
Others offer 24/7 live chat or hotlines. If a provider only has a generic email address, make sure you ask about their response time. You also want to check if the platform has comprehensive training sections or a FAQs page.
7. Intuitive interface
As a user, you want the interface to be easy to learn and use. Even if a tool runs on a very powerful and complicated technology, it is useless if you aren’t able to fully maximize it. So, before you put money into any programmatic platform, take some time to see and try their interface. If it takes a long time to understand how it works or it takes too long to deploy a single ad campaign, you might need to look for another potential vendor.
Tracking your digital marketing campaign is crucial to its success. Some of the best programmatic tools offer different monitoring features that track essential metrics, such as total site traffic, page value, impressions, CPM, clicks, CPC, and conversions, among others.
With so many things to consider, selecting the best programmatic advertising platform can be a tedious process. And it’s even more challenging for a complete outsider or a first-time user. Hopefully, by following the above tips, you’ll be able to find a vendor that can help you execute your digital marketing campaign successfully.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.