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A Step-by-Step Guide to Become a
Programmatic Advertising Wizard

Programmatic Advertising

A major chunk of digital ad spend in the UK and US is currently programmatic. Despite this ever-growing popularity, not everyone is aware of the ABCs of practicing programmatic advertising. Knowing the mechanism that spins the wheel in theory just doesn't cut it when it comes to displaying ads and reaching the correct audience. Let us understand the breakdown of all the steps in a systematic manner and understand the flow and operation thoroughly through our series of programmatic best practices.

Familiarise yourself with programmatic ads

With a ton of social distancing measures in place putting digital-first sales strategies at the front line there it is essential that you truly understand why programmatic advertising should be your top priority. To embark on this dun ride, let us first understand what is programmatic advertising in simple words? It refers to the automated procurement and selling of digital advertisements. Automating this operation saves organizations and brands a lot of time and money. That is not it, programmatic ad campaigns can utilize data to target customers, enabling incessant optimization of KPIs throughout the customer journey, an exponential trajectory of efficiency, and enhanced success. These benefits warrant a deeper dive into the universe of the affirmative outcomes of implementing programmatic ads.

Top advantages of programmatic advertising

#Automated Processes

Conventional procedures in the media purchasing business depend upon several old-school tactics like buying through agencies via sales representatives. This process has proven to be extremely effective for quite a while now, but can be quite time-consuming and convoluting. You don't want to be at such a disadvantage when time is of the essence. Programmatic advertising on the other hand is mostly automated, the media buyer does not need to perform elaborate research on the platforms for websites best suited to display their ads. The algorithm does all of the heavy liftings. You can expect the efficiency of the entire process to shoot up exponentially, the automation making it faster and more accurate.

#Precise Audience Targeting

Anyone worth their salt in the digital marketing industry understands that advertising dollars make a substantial difference, especially when calculating ROI.Place ads in front of the incorrect eyeballs and returns will plummet. Programmatic media buying procedures and tactics seek to alleviate this. It lets advertisers further the chances of successful campaigns and guarantees placement in a spot that counts.

#Campaign Reporting and Optimization

You are probably aware of and have accepted the fact that all your advertising campaigns can’t be winners. A solid reason to switch to programmatic advertising and ditch the traditional methods is that the new process makes it much easier to parse out what working and what isn't. You get the opportunity to adjust, analyze, and pivot your ad campaign to optimize the outcomes gives you an edge over the competition. The reporting and optimization process for your campaigns is largely automated and the advertisers can utilize a few simple tools that are made to push through tweaks on an expedited process.

#Greater Media Buying Transparency

Prior to the amazing advent of programmatic ads, media buyers had to rely on little to no information. The whys and hows of the ad placement were not that apparently answered and left the advertisers in the dark. With the onset of programmatic advertising, such obstacles can be overcome in an easier manner. The ones buying display space are aware of the details like where their ads are being displayed and the category of customers viewing their ads. Such transparency arms the advertisers with extremely valuable information that helps curate and plan future ad campaigns.

#Real-Time Insights

Alongside stellar transparency, programmatic advertising comes as a revolution in the arena of gathering results and impressions as well. The traditional method was extremely slow and the accuracy could impose a big question mark on the entire operation. The new age method to buy display ads brings along real-time data regarding the performance. It empowers the advertisers with to-the-minute details that are extremely useful in the decision-making process.

A thorough step-by-step guide to performing programmatic advertising

#1 Plan, establish aims and become creative

Now that you are aware of the essence and importance of programmatic advertising you should gear up to boost your brand’s performance with this process. The first and foremost thing that you should focus on is conducting in-depth research, setting realistic goals, and pondering upon your creative strategy.

Estimating KPIs
The goals you set in order to gauge the performance of your campaigns will aid in planning out the operations appropriately with great customer support. Let us glance over a few common goals made achievable by programmatic ads.

  • Elevate the awareness about your brand awareness
  • Attain and target fresh audiences
  • Retain and retarget existing customers
  • Boost ROI and advertising metrics
  • Reduces the comprehensive cost of ads
  • Heighten the ad visibility
  • Accelerate efficiency in reaching your target audience

Adding the spice of creativity
Make your brand’s vision come to life through various forms of creatives that can be displayed through programmatic ads. Reach your customer in the manner they appreciate the most through creative banner displays, video, native, and/or in-app ads.

#2 Determine your DSP

Choosing the right DSP is extremely important to the process of programmatic ads as a whole. Collaborating with technical experts who can guide you while choosing a platform helps you benefit the most out of the features of the DSPs. Look into the following aspects while investigating a DSP.

  • Various choices for targeting. (browser, location, operating system, language).
  • Easy, transparent, real-time access to data for efficient analytics
  • A user-friendly interface, as you’ll need to be able to change settings regularly and view your data in an easy-to-analyze way.
  • Adequate help and technical support in case you run into technical issues.
  • Backing for major creative ad formats, including video, banner, and mobile.
  • Inventory and dataset available through the platform.
  • Deal management allows you to engage in different types of programmatic auctions across the inventory options, e.g. private auctions or preferred deals.

You can find a ton of useful DSPs in the market. Several tools are designed around specific markets (Amazon DSP, for example), whereas others are quite generic. Here are a few top players you should make sure to investigate:

#3 Lock your campaign parameters

After you have narrowed down the DSP you want to work with, it is time to jot down the parameters of your campaign. You can optimize tracking KPIs with the appropriate buying methodology via two main criteria, Insertion orders, and line items.

Insertion orders
These are documents that contain holistic and extensive information about your campaign. It has all the broad data regarding the inventory and ad (e.g. start and end dates, target audiences, and the number of impressions), making sure the proposal is processed. IOs are documented evidence of the ad proposal and need to be reviewed from end to end. They aid the advertisers to manage their budgets and deliver critical criteria allowing you to guarantee your ad’s success. They can possess an “active” or “paused” status, controlling whether or not the related line items are enabled to bid on inventory.

Line items
These include the minute nitty-gritty that makes up your insertion orders. Line items enable you to set data like impression goals, ad types (display or video), and targeting. You can set up a hierarchy using the line items and observe how the different ad campaigns are performing side by side i.e compete against each other, and different types of placements.

#4 Use data to strategize the targeting

The flywheels of Programmatic ads need to be oiled thoroughly with qualitative and valuable data. You can make good use of first-party, second-party, and third-party. To inform your campaigns and identify the target audience adequately.

The central idea behind creating strategies to target is ensuring that your ads end up reaching the right people. Define your target persona and select the creatives that you can use to engage their minds. Consider the aspects like location and language while you define the targeting parameters and etch out whether you might actually benefit from geo-specific campaigns based on your datasets. Depending on who you are trying to reach, you can also modify the settings to target different operating systems, browsers, and devices.

#5 Equip for launch

You’re all set. Now all you need to do is double-check a few aspects. You’ll need to:

  • Select your traffic sources
  • Upload your display ad or creative to your DSP
  • Add the attributes for the creative
  • Modify your creative targeting settings

#6 Optimise and fine-tune your campaign

You need to begin the optimization process as soon as the campaign is live and running. Utilize the real-time reports and analytical data provided by your DSP to understand the impact and progress of your campaign. Measure various metrics like CTR, CPC, conversion value, and overall spend. As soon as your campaign is live and running, it’s time to start optimizing. Modify your frequency capping and review the impact on CTR and ROI to find ‘sweet spots’ that maximize conversions while limiting costs. Always keep in mind that programmatic advertising is an incessant process and you should keep adjusting and fine-tuning the operation regularly.

Gaining the most out of programmatic ads

You can attain adequate expertise in programmatic with the right approach and perseverance. In case you are struggling to convert the process into a lucrative endeavor or just want to add value that accompanies external masters, contact tech wizards to make for the perfect partners in your journey. Understand that your customers are already out there, programmatic ads will help you reach them.


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