How to Plan a Programmatic Ad Campaign (That Delivers ROI)

What is programmatic advertising?
Programmatic advertising is the next level of display ads. Also known as banner ads, you likely recognize display ads as the promotions found on website sidebars, footers, and headers. Before a display ad crosses your path, marketers hold an online auction to determine who will snag the ad space. Programmatic advertising automates this process. Instead of marketers bidding behind the scenes, programmatic ads have evolved over the past decade to make even better use of online data and insights (like location and online activity) to ensure the right ad is shown to the right person, on the right site.

To get up and running with programmatic, you need the right tools, target, and budget. If you’re considering dipping your toe in the pool of programmatic possibilities, we’re breaking down exactly how to get started with programmatic display ads.

Start with a campaign goal. 
Much like other areas of digital marketing, it’s important to establish a goal from the get-go. Display ads can serve as a great way to boost brand awareness, promote lead magnets, and generate traffic back to your site. Before diving into a campaign, you should take time to determine what kind of advertising boost you need and if display ads can help you get there.

Evaluate your display ad budget. 
The premise of display ads involves outbidding other marketers to get your ad in front of the right people. To be successful (and ensure your ad sees the light of day), you need a pre-determined budget. Your budget will also strongly influence the programmatic tool you use. With your budget in mind, you can evaluate the right platform to run and optimize your programmatic campaigns.

Find the right tool.
With the right tool, you can navigate and master the choppy waters of programmatic advertising. A programmatic platform will help you plan, deploy and optimize campaigns while you sit back and handle other tasks. But before you dive in headfirst with the most cost-effective tool, you need to ask the tough questions. Ensuring the platform you choose can handle the right targeting, campaigns, and support you need will set you up for the long run.

The beauty of programmatic advertising is the ability to learn about your audience and pivot your campaign accordingly. Finding a robust tool that can help you find your niche ad window is the key to long-term programmatic wins.

Create your audience targeting strategy.
Strapped with a tool and a budget to spend, it’s time to decide who should see your ad. This starts by determining your target audience. Once you have your persona in mind there are a few different targeting strategies for programmatic that you can use to get your ad in front of the right people.

Audience targeting focuses on specific demographics that fit your target market including education, industry, income, and age. While behavioral targeting is based on a user’s online activity — what websites they visit and what they do when they get there. Retargeting, on the other hand, targets someone after they’ve left your site. You’ve likely experienced retargeting ads after you browsed a clothing site, only to have it haunt you across each site you visit next. Finding the right targeting strategy takes trial and error.

When starting your first programmatic campaign, it pays to cast a wide net and narrow your target audience from there.

Get creative and optimize your programmatic campaigns. 
Once you have your budget, tools, and targeting for programmatic in place, it’s time to craft your creatives and run your ad. Working with a tool or an agency, you typically can rely on a third party to whip up your images and bring your vision to life. While tools like Ad Builder, allow you to combine text, images, and best practices to craft top-notch display ads.

With a compelling ad and an engaging call to action, you’re ready to deploy your ad. The beauty of programmatic is the ability to narrow in on your audience based on demographics, behaviors, and performance. With the ability to continually optimize and adjust your campaign, there are endless possibilities available to get your brand in front of the right folks.

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