How to Identify Your Secondary Markets Programmatically


When marketers target their display ads only to obvious demographics, they miss out on additional revenue opportunities and risk alienating thousands of potential customers.

Consider this example: A video game company launches a campaign for a new game and runs ads only on sites geared toward avid gamers, the clear-cut target audience. Sure, this demographic will make up the greatest number of sales, but how can the company ever know whether a different market is also eager to play the game?

It’s not that marketers are unaware of the value of secondary audiences; it’s that they haven’t quite figured out how to digitally advertise to them effectively. They commission costly consumer studies, conduct their own tests, or take a shot in the dark using their intuition — but, of course, they won’t know whether their intuition was accurate until they’ve already devoted countless dollars to this ill-founded approach.

Instead of wasting your budget on an unprofitable guessing game, you can easily leverage programmatic data to get a more accurate picture of your various targets.

The Power of Programmatic

Through a programmatic approach, ideal audiences identify themselves via interaction with marketing messages, website activity, purchase behavior, and social media activity. All marketers have to do is pay attention to their analytics and adjust accordingly.

When identifying target audiences in this fashion, advertisers can then confidently develop future strategies that expand their consumer marketing base. New campaigns that directly appeal to these new audiences can be created, and additional media placements that deliver even more of these high-value markets can be secured.

Programmatic also enables marketers to funnel all their media impressions through one source — a “single source of truth,” if you will. Aggregating these insights provides the most complete, accurate picture of every target.

If our hypothetical video game company simply scans its programmatic data, it might realize that its campaign performed particularly well on This would indicate that the new product is especially appealing to a Hispanic audience, opening the door for future creative media placements targeted specifically at this audience. For example, a new Spanish-language campaign could potentially cause the company’s engagement numbers to skyrocket.

Programmatic in Practice

Programmatic digital ad spending is expected to hit $22.1 billion this year, making up 67 percent of the total digital display ad expenses among U.S. companies. If you haven’t yet integrated this strategy into your display efforts, then you’re missing out on a key competitive edge. Use these three tips to make a programmatic approach work for you:

1. Implement website tracking for display campaigns. The only way to collect useful data is to ensure the proper tracking mechanisms are in place. Install tracking pixels and website analytics software to identify engagement on key webpages and conversion points. Then, use these tools to assess which target segments deliver superior ROI.

Employ predictive optimization tools. The sheer volume of impressions generated during a campaign make it nearly impossible to extract valuable nuggets of insight through manual review. Fortunately, most display platforms automatically compile reports on the highest-performing audience segments. Their algorithms can be used for predictive optimization by automating the identification and targeting of high-value audience segments.

3. Apply online measuring systems. Online measuring programs such as Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings and comScore Validated Campaign Essentials take programmatic campaigns a step further by identifying specific characteristics among potential targets. They offer access to a dashboard that shows which aspects of display campaigns deliver the most effective reach. You can use this data to find secondary audiences by the proportion of their engagement to the impressions served to them.

As the world becomes more interconnected, your consumer base will expand — but only if you let it. A programmatic approach enables you to look beyond your primary targets to see who else is interested in what you have to offer. You might be surprised by how many people crave your product — don’t let them slip through the cracks.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here