Programmatic: What’s all the fuss about?

As marketers, we are always trying to find the channel that delivers the lowest cost per engagement and highest ROI. Before sophisticated use of attribution was available, that would not include ‘awareness’ channels.

I say ‘awareness’ channels, as ‘programmatic’ has that stigma attached to it, as it’s usually thought of as a display buying process. However, in 2019, there’s far more to a simple programmatic display banner than meets the eye. Why do you think programmatic spend has increased by 19% globally in 2018 and is set to continue to climb? Because people see the power of data intelligence. If you can match intuitive targeting with innovative creative, you have yourself a winning formula.

Don’t be fooled into thinking Programmatic advertising is just Display. It’s much more than that. Whether it’s On Demand TV, Display, or OOH, the programmatic ecosystem is vast, meaning you can have a marketing program that uses a holistic approach rather than siloed channels. This means higher engagement and a larger return on ROI.

So, I think it’s time for a rethink. Here are three reasons why you should think about redistributing your investment in your marketing channels:


Programmatic personalisation is probably the key differentiator for most channels and ways of buying media. From 1st – 4th party data, there are some really powerful targeting strategies you can bring together to make your marketing efforts work for you. For example, you can use your first-party data to remarket to users who have previously engaged with the site. Or, you could invest in audiences who have been categorised by 3rd party providers, for example ‘Small Business Decision Makers’. Personalising activity through audience data provides greater relevancy and a more personalised experience, which results in a better brand experience. Customer Experience is a practice which is becoming more recognised throughout industries, so making sure the first touchpoint with your brand is strong, is a key success indicator.

Quality Over Quantity

Although the Google Display Network (GDN) has provided companies with years of supportive Remarketing & Prospecting, it lacks an assurance and quality from where and how ads are served – especially in the B2B space. Because a B2B approach targets corporate emails, targeting these people through the GDN is simply not feasible.

Programmatic allows Tier 1 publisher placement targeting which is where your key audiences browse content. It also allows you to buy quality inventory so you can showcase your ad against the right people, at the right time, with the right message. Where would you rather invest in raising awareness of your brand, The Guardian or The Sun? I know where my preference would lie.

ABM Acceleration

Depending on your approach to ABM, the costs can vary hugely. However, using programmatic as an accelerator can increase your efforts without attaching the price tag.

Let’s take radius targeting for example. Programmatic allows you to target from a global to individual branch level. If you’re trying to win business from a client you’re targeting via ABM, why not bolster that effort with personalised ads based on each company you target, providing a personalised experience all the way through the buying journey? Similarly with LinkedIn integration, serving ads to those previously unreachable users through the Programmatic solution provides confidence that you are reaching a highly engaged professional audience who are right for you. Whether that’s one-to-one or one to many, the extensive audience targeting available means you can hone in on the right audience for you.

We should all be bridging the gap between a siloed and a holistic marketing approach. Are all of your marketing channels working with each other or are they taking different roads to get to different locations? Programmatic can start to bring those marketing efforts together and provide a single route for execution. To have a successful programmatic campaign, you need to have cross-channel conversations to understand what works and what doesn’t. From there, you can create a game plan, involving your data, your experiences, and then a kick of creative to make your efforts get noticed.


by Alex Barnicoat