Zoe-lee Skelton
Zoe-lee Skelton 24 June 2015

How To Power Up With Programmatic Marketing

The key to successful marketing in the simplest terms is: having the right product, in the right place, at the right time and being seen by the right audience.

The key to successful marketing in the simplest terms is: having the right product, in the right place, at the right time and being seen by the right audience. These are undoubtedly the main challenges that all marketers face.


The fiercely competitive online environment means that you need to get noticed by your audience, engage their interest, and in the fast paced world of today, win them over in the quickest and most profitable way.


Programmatic marketing lets you to deliver targeted messages, prompted by specific events, to your most valuable customers and prospects. These events are usually automated and defined by business rules and software algorithms. For example, if a customer’s online shopping is interrupted by errands, programmatic marketing can help the retailer reach the customer on their smartphone as they shifts to shopping on the go.

Programmatic marketing brings agility and responsiveness to your online marketing campaigns, and is designed to drive conversions by engaging – and re-engaging – with consumers in the most effective and efficient way.

But, in order to achieve this, you’ll need to understand your audience’s online behaviour and how they interact with your marketing materials and ads. Your campaign stats and analytics are a good place to start, but you’ll only have access to online activity, for example clicks and form submits, and this is not enough.


How to set up programmatic marketing

Programmatic marketing relies upon data. Data guides the buying process: You can choose whether to show a user an ad based on a set of demographic data such as gender, age, browsing history, location, interests, purchase history and more. You can mine your own data stores, like AdWords, Analytics and your CRM, to help you identify your target audience.

Once you have identified the characteristics you want to target you’ll then be able to determine where and when your ad is displayed. You can pre-define your maximum bid alongside your chosen demographics and the automated technology will take care of the bidding process.

However, using these data sets for your targeting and bid optimisation doesn’t necessarily give you all of the information you need to continue redeveloping and retargeting your campaign to be both efficient and provide ROI. For example, what if the majority of your enquiries, like most other businesses, are made via the telephone?

We know that critical information about conversions usually occurs in the last step before the sale and so recording as much information as possible from these calls is incredibly valuable to your campaigns. Adding call tracking software to your marketing campaigns will help you to extract important data from your leads and conversions that will supercharge your analytics and data set for your programmatic marketing campaigns.

Why add call tracking to your programmatic campaigns?

Call tracking data bridges the gap between your marketing efforts and the offline response. It’s a critical piece of the puzzle, able to capture detailed information about your callers – such as who they are and which advert they are responding to.

For example, what if a consumer sees your programmatic ad on a smartphone, on a blog post, via social media or even on TV, but calls instead of clicking on the ad? You would have no way of knowing how each of these campaigns is working. But, if you were to assign each of your programmatic advertising or automated advertising campaigns with a tracked telephone number, you would then know whether a caller saw your advert either on their smartphone, on a blog post, via social media or on their television set.

Data derived by software that tracks phone calls enables you to understand what aspects of your marketing efforts are the most effective at producing qualified leads and enquiries. It can also identify the campaigns that aren’t performing well – enabling you to focus your budget in the right areas to get results.

The increasing popularity of programmatic buying is encouraging marketers to divert more of their budget to digital; especially because programmatic advertising allows marketers to target their audience at scale.  This is why call tracking is vital to these marketers – providing them with the intelligence needed in order to make critical decisions about how to allocate their marketing budget.

What are the most commonly used types of programmatic marketing?

The most commonly used types of programmatic marketing on digital channels include:


  • Buying advertising data via real-time bidding and ad exchanges: ad inventory is bought and sold on a per-impression basis generally via instantaneous auction. With real-time bidding, marketers can bid on an impression and, if they win, the buyer’s (or marketers) ad is instantly displayed on the publisher’s website.
  • Remarketing: Remarketing helps you reach prospects who have previously visited your website. This works by adding a remarketing tag (a small piece of code) to your website. When a user visits a website and leaves without converting, they are served with a banner ad from your website on subsequent sites they visit.
  • Get smart with personalised retargeting: Remarketing ads become smarter by personalising them based on a user’s past actions on your site. For example, a consumer visits your website and browses products A, B and C, then leaves without converting. The user will then be

How to buy advertising space

There are many different ways of buying advertising inventory. Here’s a run-down of the different ways advertisers can buy impression space.

Real-time bidding (RTB): RTB is reminiscent of Google AdWords except it’s just for display ads rather than the paid search results.

RTB software is used for serving internet users with display advertising around the internet. So, when a consumer visits your website, the browser communicates with an ad server – the technology that places adverts on websites. The server then sends a message to an ad exchange with information about that user, such as the IP address, location and details of the website the consumer is visiting.

A web page has space on it for ad space which is available for real-time bidding. Information about the web page, and the user viewing it, is passed on to an ad exchange, a platform which then auctions off the available ad space to the highest bidder. As an advertiser, you – or your media buyer – send a bid electronically to the ad exchange via a demand-side platform (DSP).

Advertisers will use DSPs to help them decide which ad impression they should purchase. The most commonly used product for bid management and ad space buying is DoubleClick by Google.

This is an automated process via a piece of software which removes the need for human sales people to make the decision and negotiate, which obviously can take time. So, when the bid is made, it’s immediate and simple: the buyer who bids the highest wins and an ad is served when the website loads. This process typically takes about 100 milliseconds.

Here’s a snapshot from a really useful infographic created by Google which explains the whole real-time bidding process:


How to bring it all together

The growing success rates with programmatic marketing are leading many more marketers to divert a lot more of their budgets to digital. However, in order for marketers to prove the value of this investment, they must have the right intelligence to inform their decisions about where to allocate budget. Using technology like call tracking will tell you whether people are calling from your programmatic ads and where they saw the ad. Leading to a greater understanding about where your audience are more engaged on the internet.  


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