Polytab Analytics Blog

How to get the most from programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is the use of software to buy digital advertising without human advertising. The role of the buyer is restricted to setting the bidding strategy, the impression volume, and planning. Marketers feed their requirements and key performance indicators into the programmatic solution to launch the campaigns.

While the system seems simple, it suffers from a few challenges. Addressing these challenges is key to getting the most from programmatic advertising.

1. Unsavory associations to your brand

Because of reliance on algorithms ads can appear in the wrong place. Recently Google was under fire because of brand advertising appearing next to extremist content. Independent analysis by Integrated Ad Science estimated that 8% of all digital display advertising and 11% of digital video advertising had the potential for brand risk in 2016.

2. Exposure to Fraud, bots and other malware

Incapsula reports that 53% of web traffic is bot traffic. And the association of national advertisers and whiteops study estimates that bot fraud cost the industry $6.5B in 2017. The report estimates that display ads sold by publishers with higher CPM rates were 39% more susceptible to bots.

Ad fraud is ‘second only to the drugs trade’ as a source of income for organized crime – Ronan Shields, The Drum

3. Programmatic errors – human or otherwise

This isn’t uncommon to see ad content appear at frequencies and formats outside the programmatic plan. A common observation is programmatic ads appear to shoppers right after purchases. For businesses paying on a CPM (impression) model, this is a budget bleed.

4. Open loop programmatic advertising

There is a Russian proverb, “Доверяй, но проверяй” {Doveryai, no proveryai} (trustbut verify). The biggest challenge with programmatic advertising is an operating model that is essentially an open loop. Any model that does not use independent validation is prone to abuse. Tools like Google Analytics are great for basic measurement but do not deliver the requisite transparency on what works in display advertising.

Winning with programmatic advertising

Programmatic is valuable because it is a complement to lower funnel tactics like search, affiliate and retargeting. The latter tactics essentially focus on an ever-shrinking pool of shoppers and programmatic is a vehicle to target a broad audience. But the traditional methods of last click tracking are inadequate. Addressing all of the challenges listed above require a technology like Polytab’s view-through attribution. You get the following

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