Is Programmatic Advertising Right for My Business?

DSP. Retargeting. Ad networks and ad servers. Programmatic advertising and media buying. What does all this mean to a small business owner?

Buzzwords and advertising land jargon like this do nothing to inform business owners of the complex and ever-changing landscape of programmatic digital ad placement, so this post is here to help. Let’s start with the basics: What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising space, as opposed to the traditional process that depends on humans. Theoretically, this makes ordering and placing your ads more efficient.

But how does it all work? First, you start with a demand side platform, or DSP. Some of these platforms include those produced by Ad Roll or Simplifi. A tool like this allows you to tell the software who your audience is and how much you are willing to spend per click to reach them, and this kind of real-time bidding, or RTB, is similar to how businesses often bid on certain keywords in a pay-per-click search campaign.

The digital ad story goes that if you want to reach people visiting the New York Times’ website, for example, then you create a display ad for those prospects with certain attributes defined by the advert host. Because it’s understood that you’ll have to compete for that ad space on the New York Times, you can tell the DSP how much you are willing to pay for that placement. In short, if your bid is higher than your competitors’, your ad gets placed. You can set a daily cap on how much you are willing to spend and BOOM — the ad’s parameters have been set. When the daily cap is met, your ad is simply replaced by another.

Now, perhaps you are wondering if programmatic ad buying is a strategy you should employ to promote your business. The answer depends on a few things:

  1. Where do you want your ads to show up? If you have some idea of who your audience is, and if you have an idea of the sites they visit, then programmatic ad buying might be for you.
  2. How much money do you want to spend?  The programmatic game is one of volume, and many partners who place ads have a minimum spend threshold. Make sure you can meet those.
  3. How local do you need the placements to be? Many platforms deliver localized ads as a specialty.
  4. Do you need additional account management support? Some providers take a self-service-style approach, while others offer a range of customer service communication options.

Asking these questions of yourself and of your potential ad purchasing partner(s) will help you understand what kind of campaign you want to run and with whom you’d like to work. Once you’ve found the perfect partner, you’ll be able to get the best possible results for your campaign, no matter what size your business is.

Carrie is the Digital Strategy and Social Media Manager at Brandpoint with over a decade of experience in the tech industry. She is passionate about helping others understand how social media and unified digital marketing strategies can help their businesses reach new customers and open the door to greater opportunities.

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