ROI: These three simple letters often turn into four-letter words in marketing departments and agencies. ROI is either invisible or just, well, not good.
Programmatic advertising is often associated with the latter. To many marketers, it’s nothing more than a quick, easy way to advertise low-value inventory. Consequently, premium brands opt to avoid the medium entirely because they think it will associate them with dubious products like internet games, penny stocks, and belly fat trimmers.
In the same vein, brand safety is commonly cited as a concern when it comes to programmatic display. Historically, advertisers would achieve scale by purchasing large volumes of impressions through ad networks, without any transparency regarding the actual site placement. Unfortunately, this practice led to many brands being featured on websites with objectionable content — or even fraudulently on ad farms.
Fortunately, programmatic display has come a long way over the years. It’s no longer the “Wild West” of advertising.
Through expert use of brand safety providers, judicious application of white and black lists, and the development of campaign management best practices, these common brand safety concerns can easily be addressed and eliminated.
Moreover, most major websites and premium publishers don’t sell the majority of their available impressions directly to brands. Top-tier ad inventory is instead garnered through private auctions. This approach enables a deeper level of audience targeting, making the resulting impressions far more valuable and efficient — thus boosting a brand’s ROI.
Harness the Power of Programmatic
At the end of the day, an effective digital advertisement is one that reaches the right person with the right message at the right time and in the right environment.
That’s exactly what programmatic technology allows brands to do.
Marketers can use an abundance of data to identify and target the right demographics. Then, based on an individual’s current interests or historical behavior, relevant ads can be served at exactly the right time. Messaging can be matched based upon demographic information, geography, and a range of other attributes, and the environment can be selected through URL, category, and contextual targeting.
All told, modern-day programmatic display ads are a recipe for great ROI. Here are three tips that will help you maximize this opportunity:
1. Utilize first-party data targeting and modeling. Modern-day brands have so much data at their fingertips, and they can use these insights to fine-tune their marketing messaging and placement. First-party data — from email lists, CRM databases, website analytics, or elsewhere — is an absolute gold mine. Yet just 62 percent of CMOs incorporate it in their marketing efforts, and only 27 percent feel they can access all of that data.
Rather than “spray and pray” nontargeted digital impressions, your first-party data can inform your programmatic targeting strategy, allowing you to send personalized messaging to the core audience and acquisition messaging to demographics sharing similar attributes.
2. Tailor your creative. Too often, digital creative is merely a recycled version of offline creative. That’s because more than half of marketers feel they don’t have the resources to implement dynamically optimized creative.
Driving ROI with programmatic is greatly impacted by the types of creative ad units that are implemented. As such, it’s pivotal for brand marketers to invest in unique creative while embracing more engaging and immersive ad formats — such as video, rich media, and native. Social channels, in particular, provide a vast canvas for multiple creative options to fit a campaign’s objective.
3. Establish and measure the right KPIs. It can be tempting to gravitate toward the lower-funnel metrics of CTR and last-touch conversion with a digital campaign. However, this is not an ideal approach if your goal is to create brand awareness and drive overall ROI. When you optimize with an eye on vanity metrics, you ignore the KPIs that indicate whether you’re actually boosting consideration and sales.
Establish benchmarks for metrics such as viewable CPM, cost per visit, and overall return on advertising spending. Evaluating these KPIs, along with lower-funnel metrics, will provide a more holistic and accurate view of your programmatic results.
Programmatic media has always been viewed as a direct response tactic for generating leads and clicks, but throughout the years, a few misconceptions have persisted that sway brands away from leveraging it.
By taking a data-driven approach that prioritizes strategic ad placement and unique creative, however, savvy marketers across all industries can easily reap terrific ROI through programmatic display.
by Sean Cotton
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