Disadvantages of Programmatic Advertising (and How to Avoid Them)

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic is one of the fastest-growing advertising channels available to marketers. This automated ad strategy uses data to buy and deploy display ads (the banner ads you see on website sidebars, headers, and footers) in real-time. Instead of marketers manually bidding on ad space behind the scenes, programmatic uses nifty insights to handle the auction process and get the right ad in front of the right folks — automatically. Automating the process helps marketers accurately reach their target audience and ultimately give them more time to handle the notorious never-ending marketing to-do list.

Programmatic ads are typically aimed at funneling prospects back to lead magnet or landing page, however, these bad boys also serve as a powerful demand-generation tool. Even if someone doesn’t click on your ad, there’s a good chance they’ve seen it (let’s face it, they’re hard to avoid). With the right message and compelling image, you can make a lasting impression, boost brand awareness, and create demand for whatever it is you bring to the table (aka your products and services). If programmatic advertising sounds a little too good to be true, we’ve got you covered.

Today, we’re breaking down the disadvantages of programmatic advertising and how to avoid them.

Programmatic campaigns are popular.

Because of its convenience, marketers have adopted programmatic advertising quickly. The early days of programmatic allowed marketers to cast a wide net of ads and immediately reap the benefits, however as brands continue to infiltrate the display space and bid for spots, programmatic has become over-saturated. With a market as densely populated as rush hour traffic, it has become increasingly difficult for marketers to drive successful campaigns. More bidding competition means more brands fighting to get their ads in front of your audience and ultimately higher a price point to win the spot.

You have unrealistic goals for your display campaigns.

Where programmatic can lead many marketers astray is expectations. Unfortunately, low click-through rates are no stranger to programmatic. With an average click-through rate at around 0.05%, programmatic is a dream tool for top-of-funnel brand awareness. For those in the lead generation game, programmatic is just one piece of the puzzle. Maturing leads down the funnel requires additional campaigns and strategies. Before launching into a campaign, it’s important to establish a goal and determine whether programmatic can help you get there.

Your creative assets need help.

Without compelling creatives, your programmatic display campaign will suffer. As consumers, we see a lot of advertisements cross our path and consequently, we know a bad ad when we see it. You’ve worked hard to get your brand in front of a site visitor, don’t scare them off with an off-pixel image, offensive language, or false promises. You have a fleeting moment to capture your viewer’s attention, you need to ensure you have the right tone of voice and polished creatives.

You’re targeting the wrong audience.

A programmatic campaign can quickly fall flat with the wrong audience. Without getting your ad in front of the right people, your costs will soar while your ROI plummets. Targeting is your only strategy to get your ad in front of the people who matter most, so how do marketers get caught in the bad targeting trap? By only focusing on surface-level demographics like age, gender, job title, location, and income. These classic parameters are extremely limited. By only scratching the surface, they don’t fully capture the behavior of your target audience.

Navigating the disadvantages of programmatic.

Programmatic isn’t all bad news – used wisely, it’s a valuable way to drive relevant, engaged traffic to your site. With crisp creatives, a strong call to action, and the right targeting, programmatic can set you up for success and deliver promotion-worthy ROI. Finding the most compelling creatives and effective language comes down to good old AB testing. Deploying split tests will help you determine which copy, images, and call to actions are best suited for your audience.

Luckily the digital age is blessed with a variety of new targeting tools including lookalike audiences. Lookalike targeting analyzes thousands of customer data points to determine what makes your top clients unique and identify other companies that resemble them. With a look-alike model, you can pinpoint new prospects who are a spinning image of your best customers.

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