Over the past few years, programmatic advertising has grown quickly in the marketing world. In 2019, programmatic advertising was worth $106 billion. In the coming months, experts predict growth will exceed $147 billion by the end of 2021. Programmatic is also said to account for over 83% of all digital display ads in the United States.

Marketers should consider seriously programmatic advertising as part of their overall marketing and media program. However, it is a fast changing and complex channel to master. You’ll want an experienced partner to help plan and execute. Choosing the right programmatic advertising agency partner leads to huge improvements in results, greater control over your spending and many other advantages. Read on as we share more information about programmatic advertising and how to select the right advertising agency for the job.

What is Programmatic Ad Buying?

Programmatic advertising is a method of media-buying that employs advanced automation, backed by insights and algorithms, to serve the right ads, to the right users, at the right times. In reality, you’re likely already familiar with many forms of programmatic advertising, particularly those falling into the “real-time bidding” (RTB) category.

Here’s a breakdown of the three types of programmatic ads available:

    • Real-Time Bidding: Also called “open auction,” RTB allows advertisers to bid on inventory in real-time through an auction-based setup. Any advertiser or publisher can participate in RTB and it’s known for being cost-effective at-scale.
    • Private Marketplace: Similar to open auctions, a PMP does have restrictions on the advertisers and publishers that can partake. You can generally gain access through an invitation or you may be able to apply for an invitation.
    • Programmatic Direct: When a publisher bypasses the auction altogether, it’s known as programmatic direct. This is where advertisers can buy inventory for a fixed rate (CPM).

The reason why programmatic ad buying is so revolutionary is that it takes out the manual work that’s ingrained into the traditional media buying process.

With programmatic advertising, there are no requests for proposals (RFRs), no human negotiations, and no manual need for manual input from any party. Therefore, programmatic ads are simply more efficient and campaigns are far quicker to execute. Meanwhile, programmatic advertising puts more control into the hands of advertisers when it comes to placement.

Maximize Benefits of Programmatic Ads

Clearly, advertisers want to jump on the programmatic bandwagon for all the benefits it provides. Brands using programmatic platforms can yield improved efficiencies and scale across a huge variety of publisher sites. This is in part due to programmatic DSPs’ (demand-side platforms’) automated audience matching and media buying functionalities.

However, managing multiple campaigns and programmatic tactics across multiple programmatic platforms can get overwhelming for brands. Even with large amounts of dedicated marketing resources, organizations may lack the expertise and available person-hours needed to handle programmatic campaigns.

By partnering with a knowledgeable programmatic advertising agency, these brands obtain better control over their results with fewer resources, leading to better efficiency.

What is DSP in Programmatic Advertising?

Every programmatic ad-buying platform (DSP) makes significant promises for advertisers, claiming they are the “only real choice” for X, Y or Z reasons.

In truth, all platforms offer their own respective strengths and weaknesses. Facebook, for instance, offers more limited media buys within their “walled garden” of apps. But, they leverage the best source of personal interest data, making them excellent for discovering and refining top-of-funnel audience segments.

Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP), on the other hand, accesses possibly the largest store of consumer path-to-purchase data. This data provides advertisers with precisely targeted audiences ready to take action at the bottom-of-funnel.

DataXu, The Trade Desk, Appnexus, Mediamath and others all offer some differentiation. Choosing the right platform depends upon your marketing goals. Be wary, though, of any programmatic agency partner offering “platform exclusive” packages in cumbersome bundles. Having the option to use one DSP can prove advantageous for some brands, but most will want a mix of platforms to spread their reach and capabilities across the funnel.

How to Build a Programmatic Ad Strategy

A programmatic ad strategy starts with selecting an advertising agency that is flexible, transparent, accountable and highly experienced in this technology. Let’s explore some of the qualities a brand should look for when searching for an effective programmatic advertising partner.

Find Flexible Pricing and Packages to Meet Your Needs

Speaking of packages, any partner you choose should never force you into a “one-size-fits-all” service. Having standard service packages is good for benchmarking or getting started with new clients. However, each organization ultimately needs a custom set of services to match their unique brand positioning, audience and goals. Their digital marketing services pricing will reflect this.

Packages should include a mix of strategic consulting and marketing-as-a-service to meet your needs. Through this combination of expertise and direct service, you can have the optimal control over your campaign outcomes.

Look for a Transparent and Accountable Agency

Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest spender on advertising, slashed its digital ad budget by $140 million earlier this year. They did so without even putting a dent in their marketing performance. The reason? P&G had tons of deadweight campaigns spending money on “largely ineffective” ads with poor performance.

P&G’s issue stemmed from a lack of transparency within the supply chain of ads. Without knowing what their spending was going to and where their ads were showing up, P&G lacked control and insight into their marketing efforts.

To fix the problem, P&G focused its campaigns on media buys that were:

    • Transparent and traceable
    • Finely targeted to only the most conversion-ready audiences
    • Accountable in terms of results per dollar spent

Organizations will likely follow P&G’s lead away from mass buying of ineffective placements and more toward highly targeted campaigns with a tight focus on KPI movement. New technologies like “header bidding” also do away with some of the more opaque processes occurring during programmatic buys.

Any programmatic partner you work with should offer accountability and transparency in this way, too.

Choose a Professional Aware of Dynamic Customer Pathways Across Channels

The most important reason for programmatic partners to be platform agnostic is so that different platforms can be chosen based upon marketing context. An agency’s first step should be to study their client’s unique value position and the way their customers move through the marketing funnel.

By identifying key triggers that move consumers from one funnel stage to the next, your partner can recommend programmatic capabilities to match those crucial moments. For example, Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange can broadcast messages targeted at improving brand awareness among select audiences. Facebook’s Audience Network can then provide retargeting capabilities to move those who viewed a product or website page back toward the middle or bottom of the funnel.

In this way, selecting the perfect activation for the right messaging at the right time in front of the right person optimizes your chances of success.

Find the Perfect Programmatic Advertising Agency Partner Today

Symphonic Digital has experience working with huge brand names and emerging disruptors alike. We craft custom programmatic campaign plans tied to meaningful KPIs, aimed at inciting the most consumer action possible at the most efficient spend. And since we follow display advertising best practices, we can help your campaigns generate the best ROI.

Let us optimize your performance to grow your audience, increase conversions and lift sales like you never thought possible. Contact us now to get started today!