Why programmatic should be your go-to tactic to drive awareness

Online ad buying isn’t what it used to be—and that’s a good thing.

Just a few years ago, advertisers had to personally negotiate every media buy, seeking out publishers whose audiences were likely to align with their own. In other words, advertisers had to settle for targeting places, when what they really wanted was to target people—individuals with specific interests, demographics, and geographical locations.

Needless to say, those traditional approaches to reaching potential customers were imprecise at best, and they certainly didn’t make it easy to measure the true value of an ad campaign. (It’s hard to know whether your ads have influenced a purchase when you don’t know much about the individuals who saw your ads.)

But programmatic advertising changed all that. Thanks to the rise of data-driven marketing, advertisers can now buy audience profiles, instead of just banner ads. That may not sound like a monumental shift, but think of it this way: it’s the difference between guessing that an audience is right for your brand and knowing it.

Businesses can use simple web-based software to construct programmatic campaigns and target audiences based on data such as demographics, browsing behavior, household income, purchase behavior and location. Programmatic campaigns reach their intended audiences no matter where they are on the internet, leaving little doubt as to who will see your ads. Another reason programmatic is the solution digital marketers have been waiting for: bidding takes place automatically, in real time, so campaigns are easy to adjust based on performance.

But the best part about programmatic? It’s great for raising brand awareness and driving customers through the purchase funnel. Unlike paid search, which targets shoppers who are actively seeking information about a product or brand, programmatic is well suited for reaching consumers who may have little awareness of a brand but who are nevertheless likely to be receptive to its message. That’s because the target audiences for your campaigns are carefully developed well in advance based on data, giving your ads guaranteed relevance. As a result, programmatic advertising becomes the catalyst for their buying journey.

It’s no wonder, then, that programmatic is more popular than ever and is expected to continue growing. In a recent survey of 400 digital marketers conducted by Search Optics in partnership with ClickZ Intelligence, more than half of respondents report plans to increase their budget for programmatic display, programmatic video, or programmatic mobile in 2016. Their faith in programmatic is underscored by the great results this tactic has delivered for our own customers: users exposed to Search Optics Programmatic Mobile campaigns were 35 percent more likely to buy a new car compared to a geo-normalized benchmark.

Despite all the benefits of programmatic, some digital marketers aren’t entirely confident in their ability to measure return on investment (ROI). In fact, only 31 percent of respondents believe their approach to attribution enables them to see the true value of mobile advertising. It’s certainly important to consider all the influences on a customer’s buying journey, rather than just the last click that led to conversion. But the good news is that programmatic advertising offers a number of ways to measure campaign performance and ROI. Here are a few examples:

  • Location studies: Due to the expansion of mobile, you can use GPS to help determine whether people who are exposed to your ads go on to visit your physical store. Additionally, it’s possible to deliver ads contextually—while customers are in the process of shopping in a store, for example—thus increasing the likelihood of influencing their purchase decision.

  • Sales match: You can use programmatic to help determine whether customers have made a purchase as a result of seeing an ad. We have the ability to match impressions to households, and households to vehicle sales, for programmatic display, mobile and video campaigns.

  • Purchase intent: It’s possible to measure how well a programmatic awareness campaign is driving customers through the purchase funnel. By serving ads to a group, surveying those exposed to ads, and measuring purchase intent (by comparing to a control group not exposed to an ad), you can gain a clear picture of how programmatic ads are affecting lower-funnel campaigns and influencing shopping behavior.

For more information on how Search Optics can help you build effective programmatic campaigns, click here.


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