3 Ways to Ensure You’re Reaching a Quality Audience with Your Programmatic Ad Buys

July 21, 2016

Reaching Quality Audience with Your Programmatic Ad Buys

Editors note: This the first in a multi-part series examining the evolution of programmatic Ad buying. 

In the 16th century, a Roman Catholic Church administrator named Nicolaus Copernicus wrote a book titled De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium. This revolutionary book turned the world inside out — by proving that the sun didn’t revolve around the earth. Instead, the earth revolved around the sun.

This grasping of this helio-centric world slowly transformed the way we look at the universe. In a similar fashion, over the past several years programmatic ad buying has evolved from a nascent idea to a disruptive force that is revolutionizing the digital advertising industry. Programmatic is changing the game for how brands can connect with potential customers on a “universal” scale. Prior to the rise of programmatic, marketers and their advertising agencies bought pages in the New York Times or TV spots on “Seinfeld,” hoping to reach their potential customers because demographics indicated that a portion of their target audience consumed this medium and would see the marketing message. Buying media in this fashion relied primarily on a series of one-off transactions between humans as advertising agencies cut a number of individual deals with publishers and broadcasters to advertise in a handful of media outlets. This approach proved inefficient and presented challenges at scale for both the advertiser and the media company.

But with the advent of programmatic, the ad-buying world shifted away from a media-centric focus towards one that is customer-centric in its core and enables marketers to reach their target audiences across the entirety of the Internet through a single buying platform like a DSP or Agency Trading Desk. Additionally, through programmatic buying, marketers now use data to find their audience (based on their online behavior or specific characteristics, such as gender, geo-location, or job title) to serve ads to individually targeted members of this audience. Internet users no longer see the same ads as everyone else; they see ads personalized especially for them.

By enabling one-to-one, personalized marketing, programmatic has created two key benefits for advertisers trying to reach the audiences that matter most to them. First, programmatic delivery enables better access to audiences through more accurate targeting. Second, it delivers great efficiency by enabling marketers to automatically place their ads on websites across the Internet through a single point-of-contact.

But despite its clear advantages, advertisers still struggle with elements of programmatic. For one thing, advertisers believe they’re falling short of reaching the audience they want. For instance, 48 percent of marketers are concerned with waste and see their ads being targeted to the wrong audience, according to research from Chango and Rubicon Project. Additionally, 61 percent of marketers cite low quality inventory as a major challenge associated with programmatic.

In embracing programmatic, some advertisers have become enamored of the scale they can reach via this buying method that their audience has been spread thin. The fact is there are only so many quality audiences spread across a few top quality publishing websites. While an advantage of programmatic is that it reaches your target audience on a wide range of websites, the trend is that Internet users spend the majority of their time on a few high quality websites, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Given this undeniable trend, forward thinking digital advertisers are rethinking their strategies. We are entering a new phase of programmatic buying, and some marketers are beginning to focus on a smaller set of publishers that are higher in quality and provide access to the right audiences.  

So as the Internet and programmatic evolve, how can marketers continue to leverage both? Here are three ways that marketers can continue to reach quality audiences with programmatic ad buying.

  1. Make sure the publisher has the right reach for your audience. Let’s say you’re an advertiser working at a software company looking to reach IT buyers and deal influencers. One strategy to reach this highly coveted segment would be to set up private auction purchasing options with individual publishers that predominantly cater to this type of audience. When selecting publishers for private auction buying, it’s important to carefully examine the DNA of the members or visitors that use the site to ensure you’re reaching the audiences that matter most to your business. LinkedIn, which just launched programmatic buying of LinkedIn Display Ads, has more 100 million professional visiting the platform every month. LinkedIn also has 4 million IT decision makers on the platform.
  2. Make sure the website generates the right engagement. Targeting websites with audiences that are too broad or audiences that don’t interact with a website’s content typically result in poor engagement from an advertising perspective. LinkedIn delivers strong engagement among its member base. Visitors to LinkedIn viewed an average of 46 pages per month in the first quarter of 2016, which is more than four times compared with the first quarter of 2012.

  3. Make sure the audience has a high propensity to buy. A marketer doesn’t want to simply reach eyeballs. She wants to reach influencers and buyers, the people who can actually benefit from her product and drive revenue. Do the websites in your programmatic buy deliver the people who can influence a buying decision? On the LinkedIn platform there are 61 million senior-level influencers and 40 million decision makers, meaning that LinkedIn delivers an audience that can influence revenue generation.

In the next post in the series, we’ll take a closer look at programmatic, LinkedIn Display Advertising, and ad viewability.

Our new programmatic buying option is further reinforcement of our commitment to help you deliver the best possible results every time you engage with us. If you’d like more details about our programmatic offering, check out our website here.