How to Run Programmatic
Launching your first programmatic ad campaign may seem like a tall mountain to climb. But with the right tools and processes in place, you’ll find yourself at the top in no time!
When starting to plan a programmatic campaign, break it up into the 3 Ps: Planning, Preparation, and Performance.
Planning a Programmatic Advertising Campaign
Planning is the most important step when it comes to programmatic. If you ventured to climb a mountain, but didn’t plan with a map or purchase the right equipment, you’d likely find yourself struggling to get anywhere.
This is also true when putting together a programmatic campaign—by taking some vital steps prior to setting up and launching a campaign, you’ll set yourself up to hit your campaign goals.
As with any digital campaign, first ask yourself what your objective is and what constitutes success. Do you have a target audience? Take notes on the available budget, creative assets, and geo-targeting to help guide what targeting tactics you’ll run.
Use historical performance as a benchmark when deciphering KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). If you haven’t run the campaign in the past, use this campaign to set a baseline benchmark for ongoing campaigns. Once you understand those primary goals, you can begin to decide on the best tactics that align with your campaign’s KPI.
When deciding on tactics, use a full funnel approach. Different tactics within the funnel generate varying results, but should work in cohesion to address all parts of the consumer purchase cycle—from awareness, to consideration, to purchase.
Targeting tactics like prospecting and hyperlocal sit in the upper funnel, or within brand awareness, whereas retargeting or look-alike modeling fit much lower in the funnel, between consideration and conversion.
If you’re running a direct response campaign, you may want to heavy-up your targeting to tactics that fit more lower funnel. But on a video completion campaign, you may focus more upper or mid-funnel on your tactic selections. Be sure to align your campaign’s dCPM with the types of targeting tactics you’ve selected.
Preparing for a Programmatic Advertising Campaign
Did you make a checklist to ensure you packed all the necessary equipment for your climb? Even with strategic planning, you need to prepare for success in your programmatic campaign.
Ensure that pixels are placed and firing properly prior to launch. Placing pixels early will not only give extra time for troubleshooting any issues on tracking, but it will also help to build retargeting audiences. This prevents running into spending issues upon launch.
Are you using an ad server? If so, make sure settings in the DSP mirror the attribution settings in the ad server to closely align conversion data.
Consider capturing converters so you can suppress this audience if the conversion is likely to not occur again. Converter audiences can also be used on future campaigns to serve different messaging to previous customers.
Optimizing Programmatic Campaign Performance
Planning and preparation have led you to the launch of your programmatic campaign—let’s call it your first ascent up the mountainside.
Programmatic advertising is a true data-driven approach—you’ll quickly find that it’s both an art and a science. Testing and learning are critical.
Once you launch your programmatic campaign, give it time to accrue data. This will allow the campaign to ramp up on spend and collect data points to help aid in optimizations.
Once enough data is collected, you can begin making minor and mid-tier optimizations—like adjusting daily budgets between targeting tactics—as well as top-performing or domain-level optimizations—like turning off low-performing sites or apps. Other optimizations, like deciphering a dayparting strategy or frequency capping, can also be made at this point.
Major optimizations like testing new tactics or data segments can begin with time. Even with auto optimizers, always keep an eye on performance and make manual tweaks to ensure campaign success.
Once you reach that mountaintop, make sure to celebrate your victory! Keep track of the journey you took to get there so you can apply that knowledge to future climbs.