What Are Programmatic Ads—And Should You Be Using Them?

What Are Programmatic Ads—And Should You Be Using Them?

Today’s marketing world is highly competitive, and it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve if you want your brand to come out on top. By embracing the latest marketing trends, you’ll reach your audience more effectively and attract a steady flow of new customers.

And while online advertising has been around for a while, programmatic ads are a new niche of advertising that is taking the world of marketing by storm. But what are programmatic ads? And how does programmatic advertising work?

Review our complete guide to learn more about the tool that’s saving marketers time and optimizing the advertising process like never before.

What Is Programmatic Marketing?

Let’s get to it: What is programmatic marketing? This is a form of advertising in which software, rather than humans, is used to buy online ads. With traditional online ad buying, humans spend their time making bids, manually entering orders, and negotiating to buy ad space. But programmatic marketing eliminates this tedious process by using a highly effective, efficient technology to do the most repetitive aspects of the task.

In 2020, 84.5% of digital display ads were purchased using programmatic software, according to eMarketer. This type of advertising is used for all sorts of platforms, including TV, mobile devices, video content, social media, and more. Video ads are one of the largest areas of programmatic ad growth, expected to surge by 31.3% in 2021

What Are the Benefits of Programmatic Marketing?

Clearly, programmatic advertising is not only the future of marketing—it’s the way of the present, too. So what makes it so popular? And how can it help your business?

Programmatic marketing offers a wealth of benefits, including:

  • A more efficient ad-buying process, which gives marketers more time to optimize ads
  • Lower cost of advertising
  • Real-time optimization of the target audience
  • Increased ROI
  • Highly detailed data that can be used to further optimize ads and understand the customer base
  • Greater ease of scaling future ads
  • Quicker launch time for any ad campaign
  • Ease of creating ad campaigns across multiple platforms at once

How Does Programmatic Advertising Work?

First, advertisers use the programmatic software to automatically bid on website ad impressions. The highest bidder earns the ad impression space, and the website shows the ad to the website visitor.

Programmatic software uses artificial intelligence to analyze the user’s website activity, optimizing the campaign in real-time. If all goes well, the user clicks on the ad and does whatever the ad is asking them to do (converts).

Marketers can then review the data from every ad impression to further optimize future ads. This whole process works for both first-party or third-party ads.

Though it may sound like a lengthy process, all of these steps happen practically instantaneously. Advertisers don’t have to sit and bid on ads as they become available; instead, the software creates a cost-effective bid.

Types of Programmatic Ads

Programmatic ads can be found all over the internet, from retail websites to social media platforms and apps. Most advertisers use one of five types of platforms to buy programmatic ads, including:

  • Ad servers: Ad agencies and networks use ad servers to build and manage digital ads of all types. The server automatically decides which ads to run on which website, then delivers data about impressions, conversions, and more.
  • Supply-side platforms (SSP): Website owners, app owners, and bloggers use SSPs to sell their ad space to advertisers. This allows them to monetize their digital content by displaying a variety of ads on their site or app.
  • Demand-side platforms (DSP): Advertisers who want to buy ad space from multiple websites or apps at once can use a DSP to do so. DSPs have been compared to the stock market—here, advertisers take advantage of real-time bidding to buy space based on website impressions.
  • Ad networks: Ad networks take unsold ad space from across the web and sell it to advertisers at a discounted rate.
  • Data management platforms (DMP): This type of ad platform collects data from publishers and ad campaigns to help advertisers improve their targeting.

Are Google Ads Programmatic?

While advertisers can access Google’s advertising network using programmatic software, the Google Ad platform itself is not considered to be programmatic advertising.

Programmatic ads differ from Google Ads in many ways. Unlike programmatic ads that offer real-time bidding, Google Ads provides delayed data about current ad campaigns (usually within a few hours or days.)

Programmatic ads are considered to be more advantageous to advertisers, mainly because they allow greater optimization. Advertisers also have more freedom to add video, audio, and other content to the format of programmatic ads, whereas Google Ads are limited to text and images. 

Are Facebook Ads Programmatic?

Facebook ads are one of the most popular forms of programmatic advertising today. Facebook is considered a DSP, which allows advertisers to automatically buy ad space.

However, it’s important to note that while advertisers can buy inventory on a wide range of apps and websites using other programmatic DSPs, Facebook’s Ad Manager only allows advertisers to buy inventory from Facebook or Instagram.

Facebook ads are popular because they have the ability to target very niche audiences, and the platform has an unparalleled amount of information about its users. Because the average person spends 22 minutes on Facebook per day, it’s a great place to catch the attention of any demographic.

In addition to Facebook and Instagram, programmatic ads are offered by Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

How Can You Start Using Programmatic Ads?

If you’re ready to start using programmatic ads for your brand, you’ll need to first decide what goal you’re trying to achieve: Boost brand recognition? Lower the cost of ad spending? Increase conversions?

Then it’s time to select the type of programmatic ad campaign you want to run. From banner ads to social media video content, there are a wide range of options for you to choose from.

Once you’ve narrowed down the type of campaign you want to run, you’ll need to choose a DSP, which will allow you to launch and optimize your ad.

Start Using Programmatic Ads Today with the Help of Agility

Agility Digital is the best choice for your programmatic advertising needs. Our platform helps you deliver ads that convert—all while saving money and increasing customer loyalty.

You can access analytics in real-time, any time, and take advantage of our in-house design team, which offers complimentary creative services to enhance your ads. We can even help you solve the mystery of post-impression traffic. Contact us today to get started.

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    The majority of digital spend has shifted to programmatic, which means leveraging programmatic has become vital to the success of online marketing strategies. What most don’t realize is it requires the use of man and machine to drive results. Pick a partner who has the right technology and a team of experienced professionals. At Agility, we have a passion for helping advertisers find their key demographic and spending their advertising dollars efficiently. Most agencies are the jack of all trades and master of none – we focus on programmatic display and not all of your online advertising channels. We do one thing really well and it’s display advertising. Let’s meet to discuss your return goals around display campaigns now.