Programmatic Media Buys: What You Need to Know

Digital Marketing|Thought Leadership|

There’s a phenomenon going on in the digital ad space and it’s called Programmatic Media Buys. Here’s what you need to know about it and why it’s one of the best uses of your digital dollars.

What is a programmatic buy?

Programmatic Media Buys serve digital ads to the right users, in the right places at the right time through specialized media campaigns with highly targeted, streamlined tactics utilizing data-driven algorithms and human expertise.

These tactics can include:
  1. Placement on various channels including Display, Mobile, Video or Cross-Device
  2. Advanced Geo-Targeting through State, DMA and Zip Code Targeting or mobile-focused Hyperlocal Targeting
  3. Audience Targeting through:
    • 1st Party Cookies: Placing a pixel on your website and following users where ever they go online
    • 3rd Party Behavioral Targeting: Targeting by relevant user searches, popular websites, online magazines, mobile apps, etc.
    • Audience Match: Utilizing an existing database or Look-Alike audiences
  4. Content Targeting by Demographics, Interest/Categories, and Industries relevant to your target demographic

Why is it better than other digital buys?

Over the course of a campaign, data correlates to identify patterns for optimum delivery and performance. Media placement adjusts daily to improve spend and targeting parameters based on performance. Each campaign builds upon the existing data ensuring your media spend is more targeted and more cost effective each time. It essentially takes the guesswork out of it granting you quality impressions.

What roles do media spend and campaign duration play?

A higher media spend and longer campaign duration are very important for the first programmatic campaign. The more media spend available, the more tactics you can test to properly identify which resonate best with your target audiences. Sufficient funds are required to run more than 2 tactics to avoid spreading the budget too thin, risking optimum data analysis. Additionally, a longer duration for the first campaign, such as 60 days compared to 30, allows more time for feedback on the target demographic’s online behaviors.

Once the initial data is collected on tactic and targeting performance, you can accurately select tactics you know perform well with your audience and conduct future campaigns over a shorter time frame requiring less media spend. It’s important to note that sometimes seasonality plays a factor into necessary spend. For example, digital ad bids are more competitive during the holiday season and therefore more media spend is required to ensure your ads outbid competitors also trying to serve ads to your target audience at the same time.

How is performance measured?

Performance is assessed through primary KPIs like Impressions, CTR, CPM, Conversions, etc. Over the course of a campaign, you can see Impressions increasing, CPM decreasing, CTR increasing and CPC decreasing because the ad placement is automatically optimizing based on performance.
If you’re ready to learn more, email our Digital Brand Strategist, Chelsea Cannon, at
Tags Paid Media

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