programmatic advertising
10 minutes read

The struggling days of manually doing online advertising are coming to an end with the rise of programmatic advertising.

But what is programmatic advertising? How does it change the way we create and deliver ads? And which are its benefits?

You will find the answer to these questions in our latest webinar with Beniamin Duca and Adrian Pintea, Creatopy’s Product Managers. For the past few months, they have worked on developing Creatopy’s ad-serving capabilities and got into the depths of programmatic advertising.

I turned the webinar into a written format, but if you prefer to view the recording, you can access it here on demand.

Now, let’s dive into the subject.

  1. Today’s advertising landscape
  2. Programmatic vs. traditional advertising
  3. Five mistakes to avoid before trying out programmatic
  4. Programmatic advertising
  5. Real use case
  6. Benefits of driven-data ads
  7. Q&A

1. Today’s Advertising Landscape

Look at the advertising landscape today. You can see a lot going on, starting with the progression into a cookieless world, to the Covid impact, and the economic uncertainty.

As you all know, Apple sided with its customers to protect them from data tracking in recent years. 

This action allowed customers to revoke the tracking of their data, leaving advertisers with less access to their personal information.

Covid also impacted the advertising landscape as sales went up for many industries. Thus, businesses need help finding the right audience and better targeting options to take their market share.

Also, as we speak, tech companies are scrambling through this economic uncertainty.

All these struggles and changes will fall on the shoulders of marketers. Their responsibility will be to reach the right audience and offer a personalized experience in a market where people pay much more attention to what they buy.

advertising landscape

If you want to see what marketers are dealing with, look at the image below of the entire programmatic advertising ecosystem.

It’s no wonder that businesses are reluctant to get into programmatic advertising when they see the amount of work that goes into it.

But companies can learn programmatic advertising step by step. They can work with an agency or bring knowledge in-house.

programmatic advertising

2. Programmatic vs. Traditional Advertising

Let’s look specifically at programmatic vs. traditional media buying and see the differences.

The buying process

Back in the day, only agencies, large companies, and corporations had access to the whole suite of ad production and creatives. They were the ones doing the ad space buying.

But now, programmatic advertising is available to more businesses, improving what companies can do with it while keeping the costs low.

Programmatic makes marketers look at things holistically, enables relevant ad targeting to consumers, and helps marketers make data-driven decisions.

programmatic buying process

Paying a fair price

Let’s look at the price you pay for traditional advertising when you buy ad space directly. You may end up overpaying or rarely benefit from programmatic targeting tools.

With programmatic advertising, the bidding is automatic, and the open market decides the price regulated through supply and demand.

paying a fair price

Analyze in one place

Another benefit of programmatic is that you can analyze all your performance metrics in one place rather than having to pull together all sorts of data from lots of places which can become dispersed. Also, consolidating data from various publishers can take time and effort.

DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) offer the advantage of syncing all KPIs and performance data in one place. 

They also allow you to connect with powerful third-party data suppliers and other tools.

analyze ads in one place

Manage reach and frequency

How you manage reach and frequency with programmatic advertising is also great.

Since you manage the ad buying from different channels in the same place, you can limit your frequency across all channels so consumers don’t become annoyed with your ads.

For example, by setting a frequency cap of five with connected TV advertising, you ensure that users who see your ad on mobile and desktop won’t arrive at home and have it appear some more on TV. This way, you avoid ad fatigue.

manage reach and frequency

Campaign optimization

Programmatic advertising also makes campaign optimization easier because you can change your strategy as you go. If your initial assumptions are incorrect or you want to switch strategies mid-campaign, you can easily do that.

campaign optimization

Creative optimization

The traditional advertising approach limits you to the original strategy in terms of creatives as well. If you gain new insights mid-campaign, adjusting the creative on the fly will be very difficult, if possible at all.

But with programmatic advertising, you can show different creatives to different audiences and locations or other custom parameters or even perform A/B testing.

creative optimization

3. Five Mistakes to Avoid Before Trying Out Programmatic

3.1. Starting without a clear goal

No campaign should start without a clear goal, and marketers understand this well.

With the help of second or third-party data, you can be even more specific and go for goals like increasing brand awareness or targeting specific audiences like Gen Zers who are into fashion, for example.

have a clear goal

3.2. Having a poor understanding of customer behavior

Companies don’t put much effort into knowing their customers’ behavior, so the steps they take on the path to purchase are usually a mystery to them. 

You can use the Jobs-to-be-done framework to understand how customers go from dissatisfaction with a specific product to the active looking phase and how they decide to buy—it will help you get to know them.

This can help you use the right messaging at every stage of the funnel and show it to the right audience.

understand customer behavior

3.3. Making it work without having the right set of skills on your team

You have to make sure you train your team before you start your programmatic advertising journey. Ideally, you can bring in a person with the know-how for faster implementation.

Getting a DSP account up and running can take around two months, depending on the platform.

However, if you partner with an agency, you can cut this waiting time in half.

make programmatic advertising work

3.4. Scarce first-party data

The first-party data you have from your customers will be needed for the algorithm inside DSPs to find an audience whose data shows they will likely take similar action to people who previously converted.

This is the best way to increase your ROI when you start with programmatic advertising.

scarce first party data

3.5. Working in a siloed campaign process

If you work with creative agencies to develop innovative strategies, they receive the information they need from data.

But too often, creative agencies and production shops are brought together in the process after the big decisions are made.

You should strive to get marketers and creative teams together from the get-go.

In this way, the whole campaign will have a holistic approach, allowing you to create the best experience for the customer.

Because there is a grey area between the creative people and marketers where the ads need to be personalized and changed according to the audience, it’s important to have this set from the get-go.

siloed campaign process

Adrian, our Product Manager, left us with a quote from Gary Vee, who saw right from the start that it’s essential to have media and creative teams working together in campaigns from the beginning and make all kinds of campaign optimizations mid-flight.

gary vee quote

4. Programmatic Advertising

Before discussing programmatic creatives, Beniamin, our Product Manager, mentioned a statistic by eMarketer, saying that 73% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations

Nowadays, people value personalized content more than ever, and there’s so little time to research everything, which means it’s the right moment to get into programmatic advertising.

personalized ads

How does programmatic work?

In the image below, you can see an agency wanting to put its ad in the open market, while in the meantime, the publisher puts his ad spaces for sale. 

The publisher can do that through direct sales, programmatic direct, private marketplace, and open marketplace.

Direct sales are mainly used with traditional advertising but can also be used with programmatic.

Everything in the open market will pass through the exchanges or ad networks and fetch the creative from the advertisers.

how programmatic works

What are dynamic ads?

Dynamic ads refer to the creatives’ capacity to show different content, images, and copy, namely those that are most relevant for the user. 

So, one way to create the personalized content consumers want is to create dynamic ads.

With the help of automation and data feeds, you can create hundreds of variations from a single design. 

If you want to make dynamic ads, you can apply dynamic rules and serve dynamic ads based on location, language, user searches, and other custom variables in partnership with your media buying platform.

what are dynamic ads

How can programmatic ads help us in a post-cookie world?

We are not yet in a post-cookie world, but things are moving fast in that direction.

What the advertising world should do is focus its attention on data-driven creatives.

To better understand what data-driven creatives are, let’s look into one of Spotify’s campaigns that have already run for a few years, called Spotify Wrapped.

The campaign first started in 2016, and at the end of each year, the app shows you what you’ve been listening to the most during the past year.

Last year, Spotify looked deeper into what people exactly listened to and tried to understand their moods in those moments.

So it created an audio aura which is a personal energy signature they found present in the most-heard songs of a user. With this audio aura, Spotify could recognize songs’ moods and associate them with a color. 

Thus, Spotify created a personalized color for each individual, generating truly original content.

Spotify’s Wrapped campaign reaches millions of users waiting for this to happen at the end of each year, and it has this much success due to the high level of personalization.

data driven creatives

5. Real Use Case

Contextual dynamic ad

To better understand dynamic contextual ads, let’s consider an example.

Let’s imagine a brand is targeting people that travel worldwide, and their goal is making people hire a local guide.

Their strategy is using contextual dynamic ads to show a localized message to each city they target, and when the user clicks on the ad, it should take them to the exact place.

All they have to do is insert some macro codes inside the creative itself, insert some default values, then just publish the ad.

After this, everything will work automatically inside the platform.

dynamic text

Time and weather conditions

Let’s take a look at another example.

A restaurant is targeting local people from a city and wants to personalize the message displayed on the creative without too much effort. 

They want the ad message variations to be conditioned by time. In the morning, users should see a message about coffee, in the afternoon, something about lunch or dinner, and so on.

Besides this, they also want to apply a weather condition to the messaging as well, so depending on the weather, cold or warm, the text would have to appear differently. 

Can the restaurant do all of these?

They created three variations of the ad—one for the morning, one for the evening, and one for an evening with cold weather. They put the conditions for each variation in a smart sheet and added the content suited for each scenario.

After that, they set the content that will dynamically change, like the headline, the background, the image, the copy, or the colors.

Once the smart sheet was complete, the next step was to connect the information to the creative inside the platform.

That’s it. Everything will work automatically.

time and weather condition

6. Benefits of Data-Driven Ads

Highly efficient

Because it is a single design that swaps out the content and populates the ad on the fly, it saves a lot of creation time and is more engaging due to personalized content. 

Serves the most relevant ads

You will be able to serve the most relevant content to each of your targeted audiences included in your strategy.

Simplify trafficking

It is simple to traffic because you only have a single responsive data-driven creative instead of a unique creative for each creative message and size.

In order to create successful programmatic ads, you need to collaborate with agencies and your vendors and obviously understand all your data available. 

data driven ads

7. Q&A

Question: What is the best solution for a wholesome programmatic advertising experience?

Answer: Wholesome is a broad word, but what you should aim for with programmatic is to capture your audience in original ways. For example, Beniamin and I saw some ads from Audi, where customers who clicked on their ad ended up on their website and could configure their car on the spot. Of course, customers did not think of buying the car at the moment, but what Audi did, was retarget them with their configured car. Audi delighted their customers with this very personalized content. You must find a way that fits your product or service and create these customized experiences.

Question: Where is the tool to add dynamic text in Creatopy?

Answer: Currently, it’s available under the Optimize Plan. If you want to experiment with the tool, you can easily switch to this plan with one of our Account Executives. Of course, another option would be to start a trial period for the Optimize Plan to test it out and see if it fits your needs.

Final Thoughts

We hope this webinar helped you better understand programmatic advertising and how it allows you to target your audience with personalized content that is more likely to drive up engagement.

If you want to know more about what Adrian and Beniamin discussed in the webinar, feel free to watch the recording on demand.

See you at our next webinar, when Vitaly Friedman will talk about Fixing Frustrating Design Patterns in E-Commerce.

Petra Reghian
Product Marketing Copywriter at Creatopy. Interested in copywriting and advertising. Love a good thriller book. Passionate about crafting, DIY projects, and making fun activities for my kid.

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