Programmatic Advertising & How It Can Drive Your PPC Forward


Conversion is a journey, not a destination. Customers are spending more time online across multiple devices as they walk the path to conversion. In short, conversion funnels are more fragmented than ever before.

Every stop along the digital path leads to the next interaction, engagement and ideally, conversion. For this reason, display cannot be ignored, even though it may not produce direct results. Additionally, the vastness of display’s reach is so great that proper audience targeting has become more complex without the use of automation technology.

Today, we’re going to discuss what programmatic advertising is and how it can be an important part of your paid search strategy.

What Is Programmatic?

Programmatic advertising is the use of automated technologies to buy, place and optimize display advertising inventory.

Listed below is the general workflow once an advertiser begins working with a programmatic vendor:

  • Vendor provides advertiser a pixel that needs to be installed on their website/landing pages.
  • User behavior and search intent data is collected and analyzed.
  • Based on the collected data, audience lists are automatically created.
  • Ads are placed.
  • Once ads are placed, results are automatically compiled, analyzed and optimized.

The chart below is a simple way to view and understand the programmatic workflow.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.30.34 PM

Benefits Of Programmatic

Programmatic advertising offers some unique benefits. Two key benefits of programmatic are:

  • Frees up time to focus more on strategy.
  • The data provided through programmatic offers a more informed view of your customer. Data is king, so the more we learn about our customers, the more successful our paid search program (and overall digital marketing) will be.

Display is where most paid advertising is occurring. Employing technology to help create, analyze and optimize audiences can lead to better results while still freeing time to focus on the “big picture.”

What Kind Of Data Drives Programmatic?

The backbone of programmatic advertising is data. To fully understand how it works, it’s critical to understand key data types advertisers use. The data types are:

  • First-Party Data: Data that’s directly collected and owned by a company. Common types of first-party data are transaction information, lead form fills, search query reports, placement reports and more.
  • Second-Party Data: Data owned directly by the company but shared with an outside entity.
  • Third-Party Data: Data that’s collected by an outside entity. Third-party data is usually collected anonymously from other entities and sold to additional platforms.

As an advertiser, it’s important to understand these data types so you know how to best leverage them. For instance, first-party data might be used to create similar or lookalike audiences. On the other hand, third-party data is more generalized, requiring a messaging strategy geared specifically towards the general nature of that audience.

Programmatic is a perfect way to leverage these data types. The algorithm used to study both the behaviors and user intent behind the data helps create the most targeted audiences possible.

Programmatic solves the big problem of how to leverage massive amounts of data into highly targeted audiences that can be used to drive your paid search program forward.

Programmatic Advertising Strategies

So, how can we use programmatic to grow our businesses? Programmatic can be used to:

  • Conduct Market Research. Deploy programmatic advertising to conduct market research, such as analyzing customer behaviors, demographics and overall brand appeal.
  • Acquire New Customers. Create lookalike audience lists from third-party data that are similar to previously converting first-party data. Lookalike audiences have high conversion rates because they contain the same attributes of those that have already become customers.

There are numerous to ways to leverage programmatic advertising. However, using these strategies can provide quick ways to learn more about how customers behave and interact with your brand and finding new customers with the same traits of those who have already converted.

How Programmatic Drives Your PPC Forward

Programmatic can drive your PPC program forward by virtue of its ability to add new prospects to the conversion funnel. Targeting top-of-funnel display audiences through programmatic to create initial awareness provides a unique opportunity to convert them at a later point through the paid search channel.

Tapping new audiences can lead to an increase in both branded and non-branded searches, which means your overall PPC traffic and resulting conversions grows. In other words, using programmatic can increase your total AdWords and Bing Ads traffic and conversions faster than conventional account optimizations.

Programmatic can also drive your PPC program forward because of the value of the data it provides. Programmatic is rich in data. For instance, learning the interests, likes, dislikes, geographical location and gender of customers can help determine keyword buying and ad messaging strategies.

Using programmatic data to inform your overall paid search strategy can provide a competitive advantage and improve results.

Some Final Thoughts

I encourage you to add programmatic as part of your paid search advertising mix. Programmatic is a great way to target new audiences that can be cultivated into loyal, paying customers.

The data acquired through programmatic can be leveraged in numerous ways that bring people across the bridge from prospect to customer. Shifting our mindset from “buying media” to “buying audiences” is a powerful way to acquire targeted customers who are more willing to convert and drive your business forward.

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