Programmatic_Advertising_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.


More than half the money being spent on digital advertising in the U.S. funnels through automated ad buying services. This is known as programmatic advertising, which promises advertisers that their messages will be displayed to highly targeted audiences identified by the use of customer data. Digital display ads are the most popular form of programmatic advertising, but the technology is also available to place video, social media, and even mobile ads. Here’s what small businesses should keep in mind:


Automating advertising brings costs down

Marin Software, a provider of online advertising, recently released a white paper analyzing the costs of ads purchased in person, by advertisers working directly with publishers, to those purchased programmatically. On a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, ads that cost $10 when secured by a person average just $2 when purchased programmatically. That’s good news for small businesses. “Programmatic advertising can help you stretch your limited ad budgets 10 to 20 times farther,” says George Deeb, of Red Rocket Ventures, a marketing and staffing consulting firm. “That’s music to the ears of most small businesses with limited marketing budgets.”



Google and Facebook are the most well known providers of programmatic advertising

Many small business owners are already familiar with the process of buying targeted display ads. Additional marketing opportunities are available through ad exchanges such as DoubleClick and OpenX, which place ads across a network of publishers, ranging from very high traffic websites like CNN to totally obscure special interest sites.


Programmatic ad targets extend far beyond basic demographic information

“Many times, small business owners know they want to connect with an 18- to 35-year-old-males who makes $50,000-plus, or something similar,” says Lee Collins, president of Monkhat, a marketing firm. “But that’s not enough. You really need to delve into understanding your customers’ emotional perspective and identify the triggers that will make them take some kind of action. Otherwise, they’ll never click on your ads.” Programmatic advertising gives companies the ability to target based on consumer interests, context (displaying garden shed ads on a rose growing enthusiasts’ website, for example), and location. Additionally, ads can be targeted based on a person’s online behavior, including websites visited and social media activity.


Monitoring and measuring results remains important

While programmatic advertising streamlines the placement of ads, it in no way guarantees superior results. There are many factors for small business owners to assess regularly. Experts say the most important of these would be conversion rates, which detail how ads translate into actual customer action and sales. Plan on regularly reviewing the reports provided by the programmatic advertising platform. If the results you’re seeing aren’t in keeping with expectations, it may be time to adjust your messaging or consider another ad exchange. If you are getting satisfactory results, investing more heavily in that particular avenue could be a wise move.


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