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Your exclusive programmatic ads Q&A with our in-house expert

Picture of Stephen O'Loan, Sales Director EMEA
Posted by Stephen O'Loan, Sales Director EMEA
Your exclusive programmatic ads Q&A with our in-house expert


Read time: 7 minutes

In the digital marketing world, programmatic ads have revolutionised the way marketers reach their target audience. With the ability to leverage data and automation, programmatic advertising offers precise targeting, real-time optimisation, and increased efficiency. However, despite its growing popularity, many marketers still have questions about how programmatic ads work and how to make the most of this powerful tool.

By automating the buying and placement of ads, programmatic advertising ensures that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time. This precision targeting not only maximises ad spend efficiency but also significantly boosts campaign performance.

We’ve sat down with one of our in-house experts for an exclusive Q&A to shed light on how programmatic ads work, and how you can harness them to drive measurable results.

What is programmatic advertising, and how does it work?

Programmatic advertising is a method of buying and selling digital ad inventory through automated systems and algorithms. It involves the use of real-time data, targeting options, and machine learning to deliver ads to the right audience at the right time. 

It requires advertisers to set specific parameters and goals for their campaigns, including target audience demographics, locations, interests, and more. Advertisers then bid on ad space in real-time auctions, competing with others to display their ads to the target audience. The winning bid determines which ad gets displayed, and the process happens in milliseconds. 

The whole process works by leveraging technology to streamline the ad buying and delivery process, making it more efficient and super effective.

What are the benefits of programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising enables marketers to create highly targeted and personalised ad campaigns. With access to vast amounts of data, advertisers can reach their desired audience with precision, increasing the chances of conversions and maximising return on investment. 

Campaigns can be monitored and optimised in real-time, allowing advertisers to make adjustments on the go and ensuring their ads are always reaching the right people at the right time.

It’s also very scalable, with advertisers able to reach a wide range of audiences across multiple channels and platforms, allowing for greater reach and exposure.

And if that wasn’t enough, programmatic advertising offers greater transparency and control than many other marketing channels, with advertisers being able to see exactly where their ads are being displayed and can set specific parameters to ensure brand safety. 

How do you measure the success of a programmatic advertising campaign?

Like with any campaign, measuring success lies in your pre-determined key performance indicators (KPIs). For programmatic advertising, some common campaign metrics to measure include:

  • Impressions
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)

Establish clear campaign goals and then determine which of the above metrics would allow you to measure your progress in achieving those goals. Monitoring the right metrics will allow you to understand the effectiveness of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions when it comes to optimising performance. 

Whether you have a clear objective in mind, or campaign outcomes are still to be decided, we work closely with each client to understand how we can best apply our programmatic offering to ensure you’re meeting your KPIs from the outset. 

- Stephen O'Loan, Sales Director EMEA

How can utilising the right data points optimise campaign performance?

By better understanding your target audience, advertisers can tailor their ads more effectively to reach the right people. This means looking at user demographics, behaviours, interests and preferences to ensure your advertising aligns perfectly with the desired audience.

Taking the time to ensure your targeting aligns correctly improves ad performance and increases the likelihood of engagement or conversion. 

Getting the targeting right at the front end of the campaign is key to meeting KPIs whilst in flight and we have the knowledge and expertise in house to apply this every step of the way.

- Stephen O'Loan, Sales Director EMEA

In a noisy digital world, hyper-personalisation is also important. So advertisers should go one step further in segmenting their audiences to create more personalised ad experiences. You should also take the time to analyse behaviours and trends as this will inform decisions when it comes to optimising performance in real time and achieving better results.

Consider the creatives you are using and be prepared to A/B test them. It’s important to be flexible and willing to test new ideas as this stops campaigns from stagnating or falling flat. Doing this can also really improve your engagement and conversions.

What are some of the challenges associated with programmatic advertising, and how do you overcome them?

Of course, there are some key challenges to be aware of when it comes to programmatic advertising. The biggest of which is ad fraud, where fraudulent actors manipulate ad impressions or clicks to generate illegitimate revenue. To avoid this, it’s best to work with trusted partners, make the most of fraud detection technologies and monitor campaign performance closely.

Ad viewability is another key challenge, as not all ads are seen by users due to various factors, including site loading time, connectivity, device etc. Using viewability measurement tools, optimising ad performance and focusing on high-quality inventory can all help to overcome this.

Ad blocking is also an issue. The best way around this is for advertisers to create non-intrusive, relevant and genuinely valuable ads that users are less likely to block. 

Can you walk me through how you would set up a programmatic advertising campaign from start to finish?

Setting up a programmatic advertising campaign with us has never been easier. Here’s what our step-by-step looks like:

  • Step 1: Define your audience, set your campaign goals and decide which metrics are most important to you.
  • Step 2: Your account manager will work to understand your targeting criteria, your campaign objectives and how programmatic ads fit into your wider marketing strategy.
  • Step 3: Once your targeting and preferred ad formats have been finalised, your account manager will generate and share the maximum impression volumes, CPMs and provide a full proposal of the programme.
  • Step 4: If you don’t have them already, create your ad creatives and have them ready.
  • Step 5: Set your campaign parameters with your account manager; agree on flight dates, and provide them with your creatives and a site list etc.
  • Step 6: You’ll receive an IO that outlines all of the above.
  • Step 7: Sign and return the IO, along with any creatives, and you dedicated campaign management team will be able to get everything set up and push the campaign live.
  • Step 8: Review your weekly campaign reports and make any adjustments to your targeting criteria, segmentation or other attributes in order to improve performance.

How do you ensure brand safety in programmatic advertising?

The simplest way to ensure brand safety is by working with reputable and trusted ad exchanges, supply-side platforms (SSPs), and demand-side platforms (DSPs). These platforms often have measures in place to detect and prevent fraudulent activity. 

Advertisers can also use ad verification services and technologies to monitor their ad placements and detect any suspicious or non-compliant activity. 
It’s also important you take the time to set up brand safety filters and block any websites or apps that may pose a risk to your brand’s reputation. 

Regularly reviewing campaign performance and metrics can help identify anomalies or signs of fraudulent traffic. By staying vigilant and proactive, advertisers can safeguard their brand and maintain a clean and trustworthy programmatic advertising environment.

What are some best practices to keep in mind?

Marketing budgets are tight. And getting tighter by the day. So ineffective programmatic campaigns are just wasting money. There are a few best practices to keep in mind when it comes to set-up and execution that will enable your programmatic ads to deliver valuable results. 

Make sure your campaign objectives are clear and realistic. If they're unattainable, you’re just setting yourself up to fail. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but make sure it’s grounded in reality from the start.

Use the data available to you to make informed decisions. Blindly relying on intuition or the opinions of internal stakeholders won’t allow you to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. 

No area of marketing allows for a set-and-forget mindset, least of all programmatic, so be sure to check in regularly to optimise your ads and don’t be afraid to pivot your approach if you find it’s not working.

Still got questions? Take a look at our programmatic FAQ below:

How long does it take to set up a programmatic campaign?

From raising impression volumes to launch we can build a tailored campaign within 3 days. Typically we can demonstrate our reach by raising impression volumes within 24 hours. Our ability to launch campaigns with speed supports our agency partners who often have to move quickly and meet challenging deadlines set by their clients.

What kind of targeting is available?

We have a wide range of targeting tactics that allow us to take a bespoke approach to meet our client's needs. We can:

  • Use our first-party data to build one-of-a-kind custom audience segments based on relevant content consumption.
  • Target ABM lists and even extend these with lookalike accounts to ensure gross potential.
  • Target and retarget individuals who pass through specific geographic locations.

Can I use an ABM list?

Yes! We can also create relevant ABM lists using our own first-party data. 

How much control would I have over the campaign?

Our campaigns team have a live view of campaign performance, giving them the agility to adjust any aspect of your campaign. If a tactic or creative is underperforming, we have the agility to pivot in real-time.

What kind of reporting is available?

We create a bespoke reporting template based on our client's needs. No two campaigns are the same and we believe that customised reporting should reflect this. We can offer all relevant data on an account level, and our reporting is weekly, but we do have the ability to share it in real-time.

How is your programmatic advertising offering different to what else is available on the market?

We take pride in our 1-to-1 approach, meaning we create custom offerings built on understanding our client's needs. This is reflected in our custom reporting and the relevancy of our network. Our goal is to engage our client's audience in their own online habitat with relevant and engaging messages. It’s a blend of our expertise, our first-party data and our network of 120,000 publishing sites.

What multi-channel formats are available?

We have access to video, native, display, CTV and audio channels, and can create a custom program that uses a mix of the most appropriate channels depending on your needs. 

Want to know more? Speak to one of our specialists today and take a look at what we can do.