What is programmatic advertising anyway?

what is programmatic advertising2

A beginner’s guide to all things programmatic

By Alison Withers

If you’ve been asking yourself, “What is programmatic advertising?” and “How does programmatic advertising work?”, you aren’t alone. We can fill you in on what programmatic advertising is, how programmatic works, and why programmatic might be the right addition to your business’ marketing and advertising strategy. Take a few notes on the must-know terms like impression, site retargeting, and geo-fencing, and prepare to impress your coworkers, clients, and bosses with your newfound knowledge.

You’re browsing the internet, looking for contractors in your area who can pave your building’s parking lot. You’ve read a few blog posts and articles on paving, checked out a few contracts in your area, learned the difference between asphalt and concrete, and then an ad pops up in your browser:

“Contact us for all your paving needs!”

How did they know that’s just what you were looking for?

We’ve all had experiences like this online. A pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on pops up between recipes, cheap flights to your next vacation destination appear above the news.

What you’re witnessing during these experiences is programmatic advertising at play, and it’s completely changed how businesses advertise online.

But what is programmatic advertising anyway?

Programmatic advertising is a type of digital advertising. Online ads, which, when clicked, lead to a businesses’ website. These ads can show up on almost any reputable website, at almost any time.

How does programmatic work?

This is a huge question – and one that we’ll explain further in future posts.

Put as simply as possible, programmatic advertising tracks online user behaviour, to decipher what your ideal prospects are doing online, and targets those prospects with your advertisements wherever they spend time on the internet.

Of course, it’s a bit (okay, a lot) more complicated than that. But in a nutshell, tracking user behaviour and sending ads to your users is how programmatic works, and this unique ability to track and target prospects online is how programmatic differs from other, more traditional forms of media and digital advertising.

Traditional print and digital ads are typically hosted in one place, be it a billboard, a specific magazine, or on a set website. Marketers go through huge lengths to decipher where their ads should go in order to be seen by their prospects. Cosmopolitan magazine will typically attract prospects with different interests, hobbies, and spending patterns than Construction Business magazine.

With programmatic advertising, the ad is targeted specifically to the user who has exhibited the correct kind of behaviour online – regardless of what website they are on at the time they see your ad. That’s the beauty of programmatic: It targets your prospects wherever they end up online.

How to start a programmatic ad campaign

When you begin a Smart Display Campaign with us, you purchase a set amount of impressions (that’s how many times your ad is seen on a screen), to be delivered over a pre-determined length of time, which we often call a flight. The amount of impressions you buy and your campaign’s duration (or flight time) can vary drastically, depending on a company’s budget or size. But it’s always best to keep the impressions high and the duration long, to make sure your prospects really absorb your ads and messaging and your campaign has time to optimize.

The amount of impressions is flexible, as are flight times, but as we understand your goals and expectations, we can work with you to build a campaign that suits your budget and needs. Programmatic is quickly changing the landscape of digital advertising, and we want to make sure our clients are part of that change with us.

Give us a call if you’d like to know more about programmatic advertising, and we can help you add a successful programmatic campaign to your company’s advertising strategy.