This Season’s Hottest Pairing: Programmatic Marketing & PPC
Noticing an uptick in ads that compel you to reach for your credit card, scan a QR code, or make a mental note to check something out?
It’s probably not your imagination. It probably is programmatic marketing.
What is Programmatic Marketing?
Programmatic marketing is the use of automated, real-time bidding (sometimes abbreviated RTB) to buy and sell ad space on digital platforms including:
- Streaming media platforms, also known as over-the-top (OTT) advertising (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc.)
- Audio platforms (Pandora, Spotify, Audible, podcasts)
- Digital billboards
- Captive audience platforms (videos at gas pumps, bus stops, in elevators)
- Native ads and branded content outlets
Driven by data and algorithms, programmatic marketing’s hyper-specific targeting ability puts ads (known here as programmatic advertising) in front of right-fit audiences with razor sharp precision based on metrics spanning age, location, device, browsing history, spending habits, career, interests, and more. Again, this happens in real time.
Say, for example, you’re a fire suppression system manufacturer exhibiting at a convention center trade show. You want to target trade show attendees – not convention center employees, other vendors, or people living nearby. Programmatic advertising allows you to identify building occupants via their geolocation. From there, you can further funnel that target. Since your target audience is business owners and engineers, you customize programmatic marketing parameters to hone in on individuals with those (and related) job titles – the same people who might stop by your booth. Now, even if they visited your booth just for the swag, you can continue marketing to them well after they leave.
Before programmatic advertising became an option, advertisers spent exorbitant amounts of time negotiating ad placements with individual publishers. Today programmatic advertising saves individual advertisers hundreds or even thousands of media buying hours a year. It allows advertisers to scale their ad placements to show to more relevant audiences, on a multitude of devices, and using all-encompassing media formats.
The Wins are Tangible
With the recent breakthroughs in machine learning and AI, programmatic technology continues to make innovative strides making media placements more effective for advertisers. Businesses adopting programmatic advertising as part of larger programmatic marketing strategies are seeing huge boosts in ROI.
Emphasis on part of: Like most things marketing-related, programmatic marketing in and of itself won’t move mountains, and isn’t effective in a vacuum. Its power can only emerge when it’s woven into a comprehensive, 360-degree digital strategy. And any comprehensive marketing strategy that includes programmatic marketing should include programmatic marketing’s most complementary tool: Pay-per-click marketing, or PPC.
Programmatic Marketing & PPC: A One-Two Punch
Bert and Ernie. Peanut butter and jelly. Soap and water. Programmatic marketing and pay-per-click should rank among these iconic complementary pairs.
Programmatic marketing reaches where social and PPC cannot, and vice versa.
As most marketers know, pay-per-click advertising is a lower-funnel tactic to highlight ads specific to what the user is searching. A PPC drawback is that it’s limited to Google channels – which (despite how it feels some days!) have a finite reach.
Programmatic marketing, meanwhile, picks up where Google leaves off. Google can’t access credit card trends, for example. While slightly unsettling, many credit card companies share blinded shopping history data with marketers. Woven into programmatic marketing algorithms, this information offers marketers a new and potent way to target qualified prospects. Let’s say you’re an organic livestock feed company. PPC allows you to target farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders with interest in organic and animal welfare via search engines and social media. Add programmatic marketing, however – and the aforementioned credit card data – and now you have additional and fresh inroads to your target audiences. If most farmers in a region pay by credit card at a local farm supply store, programmatic marketing could place ads on digital billboards on highways close to that store, or could add videos to the pumps at local gas stations (it takes awhile to fuel those large trucks!)
Don’t Try It at Home
Our Hammer team is seeing an increase in programmatic marketing work for three reasons:
- As discussed, programmatic marketing is highly effective!
- Programmatic advertising starting budgets are in reach of most small- and mid-sized businesses
- Programmatic marketing has a steep, sharp learning curve – even for those of us doing it daily. For 99.9% of businesses this is not the marketing task to tackle in-house – at least not at this moment in time. Programmatic advertising bidding platforms are immense; their IT support teams are essential. Necessary tasks include ongoing discussions with vendors (Hulu, website hosts, etc.) to negotiate cost and ad placement, weekly flight creation to ensure cost-per-click targets are hit, and ongoing ad formatting (programmatic advertising ads must be coded in html5 for automatic rendering or cropped to 15+ different sizes and QC’d). Our Hammer team also filters out bot traffic, makes placement decisions, and focuses on audience and geographic locations strategy on behalf of our programmatic marketing clients. Last but not least, we look for optimizations each week post-launch to ensure we’re not overspending budgets – or underutilizing them.
Sound like a lot? It is! The good news is: Hammer handles it all for you! Want more bang for your paid advertising buck? Contact us about our programmatic marketing expertise. You’ll answer a few questions. From there, we’ll propose a plan to bring your fully-realized digital strategy to life!