How to Maximize Programmatic Advertising in 2019


Shopify has previously highlighted the need for dynamic ads and has offered advice on how to automate it to help boost your brand. However, in 2019, it’s not just enough that you know when to post on Facebook to get the most engagement: it’s important that you find a smarter way to advertise. 

Enter, programmatic advertising. In 2019, 65% of all digital adspend is expected to be programmatic. And in 2019, that number is seen to rise to 80% in the US, Canada, UK, and Denmark.  

This article will discuss what programmatic advertising is all about and how you can leverage it for your brand. 

Programmatic Advertising Defined

Digiday simplifies programmatic advertising when it said: “It’s using machines to buy ads, basically.” 

Traditionally, ad space was sold and bought by humans. Requests for Proposal (RFP) were made and sent, multiple meetings were set, and negations dragged on before the advertisement was actually published. This meant the advertisers could be losing valuable real estate if they do not successfully secure an ad space. On the other hand, agencies may be putting money into ad spaces that might not actually be seen by their target audience. 

Essentially with the automation of programmatic ad buying, these risks are minimized. Advertisers get an agreed upon number of impressions per ad space, provided that the publisher is targeting their buyer personas. Instapage expounds on when it said that when you buy ad space through software, you rely on “complex algorithms to deliver advertisements contextually.” This also makes the entire ad buying, targeting, and placement process possible in less than a second. 

How it works 

Agencies and advertisers use a demand-side platform (DSP) that helps them decide which impressions to buy from publishers, and how much they are willing to pay for them. On the other side, the publishers have their own platform, the supply side platform (SSP), which shows available ad spaces. 

These two platforms are then paired in real time, so advertisers can see how their ads are doing. In case you see an opportunity to amplify or modify your message, then you can bid for more impressions. If not, then your continuous campaign will run as planned. 

This transparency and flexibility are what make programmatic advertising a growing industry. As alluded to earlier, an estimated $84 billion will be spent on programmatic ads in 2019. And with features like cross-device campaigns, and improved retargeting, the industry can only be expected to grow. 

How Programmatic Ads Help You Reach the Right Audience 

It has always been a challenge to get ads in front of the right audiences. With programmatic ads, you can place your ads based on your buyer persona’s age, social status, gender, and even geographic location. By design, you will be paying for highly effective and targeted ads that are delivered to the right users at the right time. This is akin to having your online store work across all devices.  

What’s more, once paired with analytics and its real-time insights, you can get valuable lessons on how you can improve your campaigns immediately. This has the added benefit of enhancing your targeting approach so that it will be spot-on in the future. 

Now that you know what programmatic ads are and how they can be helpful, here is how you can incorporate them in your strategy this 2019. 

How to Maximize Programmatic Ads 

1. Use a programmatic model you are comfortable with

While the majority of advertisers are comfortable with the use of their DSPs, some would want better flexibility to validate ad buys and ensure that there is no fraud. For this reason, it is important that you consider your programmatic model before committing to it long term. 

Some brands are opting to go in-house, particularly since this gives them full control. All aspects of the campaign—from ideation, execution, and to activation—are controlled by the company. However, this is far trickier than that. Programmatic advertising is complex, and unless you have an in-house team that actually knows what it’s doing, then you could be purchasing ad space that might not provide optimal returns. 

For this reason, many brands are choosing a hybrid approach, where advertisers can see what their agencies are buying, and having an internal team (whether through the agency or in-house) validate these buys. 

2. Pool all your data and come up with a sound programmatic strategy 

Once you decide on a programmatic model, then you should consider your strategy. Do not isolate your creative arm from your agency; rather, bring the two parties together to come up with creative executions of your programmatic ads. 

What this means is that you look at all your data—your analytics, CRM stats, and market research, as well as other data sources you may have—and try to see which media type, location, or device would best appeal to your audience. This way, your campaign is not a shot in the dark: you are actually running a data-driven programmatic ad campaign, so you are more likely to get better leads. 

Go beyond retargeting, and see how you can get the right response by testing out varying accuracies and scales of your campaign. Scale it back if you think you’ve gone too far, or choose a different method if you think your ads are not hitting the mark. 

To come up with a sound strategy, have a sit down with your data, creative, and agency: talk about your prospects and goals, and see how efficient your ads should be. 

3. Monitor Your Progress and Adjust Accordingly

Once you have tapped your preferred vendor or agency for your programmatic ads, it’s time to improve your campaign. Here are some tips on how you can do so: 


  • Ensure the integrity of your ads – You don’t want your ads to show up on damaging or irrelevant sites, which your target audience isn’t likely to visit. You can do this by blacklisting certain websites, and telling your vendor, which messages or context you don’t want your ads to appear next to.



  • Test your ads – Since you’ve already zeroed in on whom you wanted to target, it is critical that you test your ads before you actually make them live. Firstly, use a limited budget and run them through A/B testing or other traditional forms. This way, you wouldn’t be putting a large amount of money on a campaign that isn’t tested yet.



  • Be patient – Programmatic advertising can take time. As long as you know that you have the right target and the right message, then your programmatic ads should work. Just remember to keep an eye on the data—your insights and analytics are going to keep you on the right track to reaching your campaigns. 


Brands Who Got Programmatic Ads Right


Audi personalized its campaign with the help of Google to attract leads from different stages of the sales funnel. This resulted in a conversion rate that is four times higher than usual. 


Hor furnishing retailer ScS similarly used various data sources such as source, web analytics, and store visitor data. Using programmatic, they targeted customers on social platforms when they were most like to visit their store. This resulted in a 57% increase in the store’s foot traffic in the three months the campaign was active. 

Turner Sports

To extend its reach for the start of the 2016 NBA season, Turner Sports worked withGoogle to build audience lists based on previous AdWord campaigns. Then, they used algorithms from Google’s advertising subsidiary, DoubleClick, to determine the most relevant audiences.

Complementing live broadcasts with real-time video from tip-off events in different cities, Turner Sports launched a programmatic video ad campaign on YouTube

The campaign resulted in content being delivered to 6 million unique viewers across the US, driving a 17% lift in ad recall, and a 7% increase in brand awareness for the NBA on TNT. 

Experts Weigh In

Experts have varying opinions about data sources. As Kristina Kalpokaite, Summit’s Head of Paid Media, says, first-party data is always the best resource for analytics. However, DigitasLBi Head of Data, Sameer Modha, says, third-party data is still valuable. To get the best of both worlds, it’s still for the best to combine both. But as Daniel Gilbert, BrainLabs CEO points out, majority of campaigns combine first, second, and third-party data anyway. 


Programmatic ads are going to help you get high quality leads if you harness it properly. Before you start your own campaign, remember to do the following: 


  • Ask the right questions, such as what model you’ll use, and if you’ll choose a vendor or do it all in-house 



  • Come up with a good strategy. Know who you want to target. 



  • Use your data. Start targeting broadly, then narrow down your ads as you go along.



  • Keep your branding consistent throughout the campaign, and make sure that your ads are consistent with your campaign goals, content, and positioning. You want to support your own brand, not to overshadow it. 


  • Test, modify and test again.

Are you ready to start your own programmatic ad campaign? Let us know in the comments below!


About the Author: 

Aaron Chichioco is the managing editor of He loves to write about online marketing, eCommerce and web design. He has a vast experience in overseeing daily operations of several online businesses since 2011.  You can follow Aaron on twitter at @Aaron_Chichioco


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