Three Things to Look for in a Programmatic Vendor

Three Things To Look For In A Programmatic Vendor


Ready to join the cadre of companies that are shifting their advertising to a programmatic model? You’re definitely not alone. In 2015, eMarketer predicted programmatic digital display ad spending in the U.S. would grow to $21.55 billion in 2016 and $26.78 billion in 2017.

Programmatic buying gives ad buyers incredible power and control. The traditional ad system operates like a cargo ship: once the course is set and the ship is loaded, it chugs along until it stops at its destination. Programmatic advertising is more like a fleet of kayaks: swift, agile and able to change course midstream. Marketers can evaluate ad performance as they go and adjust the targeting — by geography, daypart, audience segment and past content engagement — so that they’re only paying for the most effective ads. Once a user has interacted with an ad or content, they can be effectively retargeted and nudged toward a buying decision.

A well-managed campaign can deliver significant ROI. L’Oreal, for instance, saw a 2,200% return on ad spend for its upscale Shu Uemura cosmetics line by using programmatic buying to target a very specific audience at the right moment. The key phrase, however, is well-managed. Programmatic does not mean automatic; companies need a trusted partner to monitor performance and fine-tune campaigns. Here’s what to look for when you’re choosing a programmatic advertising vendor.

1. An Impeccable Sense Of Timing

The success of programmatic advertising depends on many variables, but one of the most crucial is timing.

Programmatic has “especially helped us reach people in their micro-moments—when they’re looking for answers, discovering new things, and making decisions,” says Joshua Spanier, Google’s marketing director for global media, who has led the company’s “all-in” push toward programmatic display advertising. A micro-moment can occur when a customer’s standing in the hardware store, considering two gas grill models, and pulls out his phone to check reviews. Or it can occur when a patient’s about to schedule knee surgery and needs reassurance that the hospital she’s chosen has the highest success rate.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these micro-moments are part of a longer customer journey. Programmatic advertising tracks and adjusts this journey by using a network of cookies that track user behavior. When someone visits your website, clicks on your ad or revisits your site, cookies are dropped — and that determines which ad your prospect sees next.

With programmatic advertising, the window of opportunity to affect a buyer’s behavior is typically 30 days. Why 30? Most people’s browsers are set to clear cookies once a month. If your programmatic advertising vendor isn’t able to drive a purchase or retarget a prospect within that 30-day period, the cookies vanish and the slate’s wiped clean.

2. Seamless Integration With Your Analytics Platform

Digital marketers use a staggering array of software. Just over half of those surveyed for a Winterberry Group/IAB whitepaper said they used five to 10 toolsets to support aggregation, onboarding, management and deployment of customer data. Nine percent of marketers said they used more than 30 toolsets. This suggests, the white paper observes, “that a number of organizations are still supporting technology strategies that are largely fragmented or grounded in priorities other than centralized data management.”

Obviously, your business doesn’t need another component that sits by itself in the corner. Automated integration of your programmatic advertising platform into your analytics suite not only increases the efficiency of your reporting, but helps you connect the dots of the customer journey. Remember that analytics aren’t just about collecting data; they’re about discovering the hidden patterns and correlations that give you new business insights. Integrating your analytics platform also allows you to monitor programmatic campaign execution and real-time changes to business rules.

3. Confident Grasp Of Business Rules and Traffic Volumes

Programmatic advertising can deliver astonishing ROI, but its hyper-specific targeting only works when a campaign is launched on a large scale. For instance, if a campaign has an initial drop of 1 million views, but the network’s too small, perhaps only 5,000 viewers will be retargeted and driven back to your site. The more granular the business rules, the smaller the retargeting pool — no matter how large your media launch volume.

That’s why you need a programmatic vendor that pays attention to traffic volume and adjusts the business rules accordingly. We often recommend using more general rules at launch in order to capture more of your primary visitor traffic. The initial response volume can then be used as a baseline, and the rules can be narrowed or broadened accordingly. The goal is a large enough cookie pool to allow effective retargeting and a high ROI.

A vendor can also help you use a data management platform (DMP) for behavioral targeting, not just retargeting. Behavioral targeting identifies lookalike audience segments based on the interests and personal information of your site visitors, allowing you to reach prospects who have never visited your site.

The Encima Group Helps You Go Programmatic

Curious to see how programmatic buying could boost your advertising ROI? The Encima team can ensure a successful launch with these services:

  • Advisory: We’ll provide advice and insight on launching pilots and choosing partners.
  • Setup: We help clients define business rules that align with the customer journey and maximize retargeting capability.
  • Syncing: We align your advertising platforms with your analytics.
  • Optimization: Our analytics team takes a close look at performance so you can optimize your campaigns.


Call 888-508-5688 or click the button below for a complimentary, no-obligation Quick-Start Consultation to help you get started with programmatic advertising.

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