How to Get Started With Programmatic Media Buying

programmatic media buying

Are you using programmatic advertising for your business? If not, you’re missing out.

Over 90% of all digital display ad spend will be programmatic in 2022, and digital ad spend has been growing substantially YoY. That’s for a reason. 

Programmatic advertising allows you to reach your target audience at scale and at a low CPM. It works regardless of your brand, company size, or vertical, and has advanced targeting capabilities and reporting insights to maximize your impact.

It might seem confusing or overwhelming but you don’t have to be an expert to get started with programmatic media buying. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Exactly is Programmatic Media Buying?

Programmatic came to be to prevent the challenges of contacting publishers to buy ad space manually. Manual digital ads are time-consuming to manage and hard to track.

The programmatic media buying definition is using software to manage and buy ad space in real-time. It automates and simplifies the buying process with real-time bidding and allows you to set up your campaigns in advance, and let them run stress-free.

With real-time bidding, publishers share their available inventory and floor prices online, and advertisers share their targeting and bid price. If these align, the ad with the highest bid is shown to the user, and this auction process takes place while a web page loads.

The day-to-day life of a programmatic media buyer involves choosing which DSPs and software to use (more on this later), planning a digital strategy, and the setting up and optimizing of campaigns.

Research Programmatic Platform Options

A DSP or demand-side platform is software that advertisers and agencies use for programmatic media buying. These platforms allow you to buy all kinds of digital media from basic display ads to new technology like in-game advertising.

There’s an expansive range of DSPs and ad platforms available in the market for you to pick from. We recommend doing your research to find the best one for you. Knowing which one is the best fit depends on two main things — your available ad budget, and the other technology you’re using.

If you are a small business or agency with low-medium ad spend, Google Ads may be the best fit for you. The platform is easy to use, there are no minimum spends, and no barriers to entry (i.e you don’t have to speak to a representative to get access to it). If you have more ad spend available, you may want to choose a DSP like DV360 or The Trade Desk.

The platform you choose depends on more than just your budget. For example, if you’re using Adobe’s suite of products for your website (adobe analytics etc), Adobe also has a DSP that works great alongside their other products.

Create Your Programmatic Strategy

Your campaign goals and KPIs are the main consideration when it comes to planning your strategy. There are 3 main types of KPIs for a programmatic campaign, and they can all be measured in different ways.

Upper funnel awareness campaigns are for increasing your visibility and are typically measured by looking at metrics like unique reach and CPM. On the opposite end of the funnel, conversion campaigns are designed to increase your sales, revenue, and ROI. Will you employ a full-funnel strategy, or will you just focus on conversions? How will you measure success?

There are a few different media channels you might be interested in depending on your campaign goals. For awareness-based KPIs, you may be interested in rich media, programmatic radio, digital out-of-home, and connected TV. For consideration and conversion, programmatic video and display may be better suited to meet your goals.

Once you’re clear on your buyer persona, programmatic provides a variety of precise targeting options for you to choose from. You can target based on demographics, buying behavior, income, and a whole host of data options from third-party providers. You can also import your own first-party data to use for strategies like retargeting or lookalike profiling.

Learn More About Programmatic

Once you’ve decided on your strategy, you’ll know what you need to learn. Will you work with an agency to support your learning, or will you be doing everything in-house? Will you have your creatives built for you by a third party, or will you be making them yourself? Which programmatic media channels are right for you?

Knowing the answer to these questions will tell you what your next steps should be. For example, if you are going to be producing your own creative assets, you may want to study copywriting.

For learning more about programmatic in general, there are a few free options you can take advantage of. Google Skillshop and Google Digital Garage are both excellent free resources that can teach you everything you need to know.

You may also be interested in taking a programmatic media buying course like the IAB’s Programmatic 360.

Programmatic Media Buying: Start Today

Getting started with programmatic can be easy — All you need is to research strategy and platform options. Taking a programmatic media buying certification is optional. You can also reach out to a programmatic media buying agency to manage your campaigns and take some of the stress away from you.

If you’re looking for a media agency to partner with that can help you with all things programmatic, contact us today to find out how we can support you.

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