Varos Glossary

Programmatic Marketing

Automation makes the world go 'round. This is especially true in marketing and advertising, where the sheer scope and scale of modern ad campaigns necessitates a more streamlined approach to management and placement. Programmatic marketing embodies that approach.

What is Programmatic Marketing?

Programmatic marketing automates the purchase process for digital ads, from real-time bidding through to placement. Through data analytics and sophisticated algorithms, it allows advertisers to generate specific ads for specific users in a specific context. It also allows advertisers to generate impressions at a scale that would be impossible were they managing their campaign manually. 

Programmatic marketing is also the foundation of [demand side platforms].

How Does Programmatic Marketing Work?

A programmatic marketing platform will typically be connected to multiple ad networks and marketplaces, allowing its users to cast an incredibly wide net when it comes to targeting. The programmatic bidding and placement process is as follows: 

Once a company has uploaded its ads and set its targeting parameters, the platform they're using will then automatically bid on any ads that meet the agency's criteria. The bidding process, which takes place over a matter of milliseconds, is as follows: 

  1. Each company uploads its ads, sets its targeting parameters, and sets its maximum bid ahead of time. 
  2. When a user visits a page, it triggers an auction.
  3. Each company competing for that user's attention is automatically entered into the auction.
  4. The company with the largest bid wins the placement, and its ads appear on the page. 
  5. At this point, the user may either click on the ad to make a purchase or ignore the ad altogether — a winning bid does not guarantee sales. 

The process for B2C and B2B programmatic marketing is functionally identical, with the only difference being the users you target and the types of ads you serve.

Best Practices for Programmatic Digital Marketing

Varos can give you a bird's-eye view of ad spending in your industry and vertical, allowing you to place more effective and successful bids.

Understand Your Market and Landscape

Because it relies on hyper-specific contextual targeting, programmatic marketing demands a solid understanding of your target audience. You need to know who your customers are, what they're interested in, what they value, and why they might find your brand compelling. It's also incredibly beneficial to foster an understanding of your competitors, as well.

Without this foundational knowledge. an organization will find it much harder to succeed at programmatic marketing. 

Don't Over-Rely on Algorithms and Automation

It's important to understand that programmatic marketing, though a powerful tool, does not completely remove humans from the advertising process. Your team is usually still responsible for creative and copy, as well as tags and insertion orders. The strength of programmatic marketing is in its capacity to reduce the amount of busywork necessary to get to the placement step — leaving your team free to focus on creating better, more compelling advertisements.

Set Realistic Goals

No advertising campaign is complete without clearly-defined goals and objectives. Programmatic marketing is no different in that regard. You need to know what you want to achieve with your ads prior to bidding, and you need to monitor and measure your progress towards those goals throughout your campaign. 

Otherwise, you're just throwing money away.

Pay Attention to Where Your Ads Show Up

There's an old adage that applies to programmatic placement. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. The problem with programmatic advertising is that the algorithms don't really have any concept of where they're placing your ads. 

They're simply following your instructions.

What that means is that you could very well end up placing ads on a less-than-savory site, something which may well hurt your brand in the long-term.

Don't Just Target Search

While search ads are among the most popular targets for programmatic marketing, they're far from your only option. Broaden your horizons a bit. Consider every website your prospective customers may visit, and see if there's a way to reach them there.

Consider Working With a Programmatic Marketing Agency

If all this seems a bit complicated or confusing, don't worry. You don't have to tackle programmatic marketing on your own. There are plenty of agencies and specialists who can help you make the most of your company's ad spend — and who know exactly how and where you should place your ads.