If your business uses online advertising then you must have heard of programmatic advertising that has changed the landscape of how digital advertising used to work once.

Most people who indulge in online advertising do participate in conversations regarding digital ads without ever understanding how programmatic ads work.

Well, we have put together this article to help you understand what is programmatic advertising and what are the best practices.

What is programmatic advertising?

Simply put, programmatic advertisement buying is the use of software to buy digital ads. There are no proposals made, tenders submitted, quotes or human negotiations take place like with traditional methods. In programmatic advertising buying, there is the use of machines and algorithms to purchase display space on several web properties.

That being said, the entire process is not automated, there is a segment of digital ad buying that remains manual. Traditionally you would have to prepare ad insertion orders or ad tags, which is menial but a labor-intensive task. Programmatic advertising has made this easier and now humans have more time to optimize and improve the quality of their ads.

No matter how automated the realm of digital advertising gets, there will always be a need for humans to plan and optimize advertising for better return on investment. Programmatic advertising means there will be better opportunities for businesses and people to compete with big brands without going bankrupt.

What is programmatic advertising depend on the point of view you look at it. If you are an ad buyer then for you it is a method of getting better ads served to a wider targeted audience. And for advertisers, programmatic ads are the end product of software that makes them better at their job of planning, optimizing and targeting audiences.

However, a major concern with this form of digital advertising remains the uncertainty over the source where these ads are being displayed. In 2019, several major advertisers pulled from video and text ads from YouTube due to concerns over that the video platform not able to guarantee that the ads will not be displayed over extremist content.

Due to the enormously large size of such platforms, it becomes incredibly difficult to ensure that your ads are displayed at the right source.

Is programmatic advertising successful? If so why? 


Simply because of its incredible efficiency, there is an increase in programmatic advertising buying year on year.

According to EMarketer’s 2017 report, the US spend on programmatic advertising was at $33 billion. This was 84% of the all-digital display ad spend. More interesting 74.5% of the spend, i.e. $24.25 billion was done through direct setups or private marketplaces.

According to eMarketer principal analyst, this is because private advertising exchanges offer buyers more control over their spend. From a baker’s store to a small enterprise, anyone now can run digital ads in the same space as multi-billion dollar multinational corporations.

Private advertising companies like SeoEaze, provide a lot better control to buyers and sellers of the programmatic advertising. You get the consultation, assistance and training how to make your ads better and more targeted.

Programmatic ads work because it is a system that allows for efficient use of both time and resources.

According to Ankit Pandey, director of SeoEaze,

“Programmatic advertising is a major relief from the traditional, hit or miss campaign design. The old-fashioned model was notorious for costing marketers too much money and was inherently fruitful for people with deep pockets. But now you can improve your business and sales with a shoestring budget. All you have to do is to optimize your digital ads for the right audience.”

Now you have algorithms that determine whether your ad money is being spent in the best way or not. All you need to do to find the performance of your ads is to input info about your campaign and key performance indicators, and you are ready to find insightful data to improve your ads.

The system of programmatic advertising is designed to not only launch your campaigns but also monitor the ad spend and look for the area of improvement. There is no way to dispute the efficiency of programmatic ads. Now, you can understand the media journey of ads better than ever before and provide one-to-one solutions to individuals with more confidence.

How can you get into programmatic advertising buying?

While programmatic advertising opens scope for every individual, there are some better ways than others to get into it.

  1. Know your marketplace

You must get to terms with what you are doing. As a person venturing into programmatic ads, you need to know what are the terms used in the market and what do they represent. You will be faced with a number of new terms and ideas, take your time to understand them.

There’s a long list of programmatic ad terminologies, get your hands on it and start learning what they mean.

  1. Have clear goals

Your efforts will be everywhere if you are not sure what outcome you want from your digital marketing campaigns. Use the existing data to determine what type of advertising awareness is required and then form a fitting strategy. Separate your short-term and long-term goals. Most importantly, do not start with programmatic advertising unless you know why you are doing it.

  1. The approach 

Programmatic advertising relies on machines and algorithms but the platforms that make that possible need human investment. This is why you will find advertising solutions that are fully or half-managed and also platforms that allow you to handle programmatic advertising buying on your own.

Depending on your skills, you will have to decide whether you need managed or self-controlled platforms.

  1. Protect the brand

As mentioned above, one of the challenges of programmatic ads is the reliance on algorithms and uncertainty of your ads appearing in the wrong place.

In this regard, you have to work continuously to keep your demand-side blacklist (list of appropriates sites and apps where ads are displayed) updated and monitored for inappropriate sites. Platforms like Google Ads allow you to exclude entire categories from ad spends that can be particularly helpful.

If you have a product that is sensitive, you can use the whitelist. This is a list which contains approved sites rather than denied. Although it will narrow the scope of reaching the audience and will be a bit more expensive, but you can be 100% sure that your ads are not being associated with unsavory material.

  1. Beware of frauds 

According to the Mediative, bot fraud costs the digital advertisers approximately $6.5 billion a year. This hampers the ability to fully incentivize the potential of programmatic ads.

But programmatic advertising has an industry-wide standard of 16% fraud which when compared with other display ads is much lower.

What brands are already benefiting from programmatic advertising? 

Missing People

Charity service, Missing People shifted to programmatic ads because of lack of resources. This has allowed the charity to move from displaying one appeal ad a week to micro-targeting people in areas where their ads matter.

According to the director of funding Ross Miller, “When we first started using out-of-home, 50% of children we appealed for were found alive when we switched to a more programmatic use of out-of-home our response rate went to 70%. People respond to a message that is relevant to either where they live or a location.”

The Economist

During 215/16, the Economist ran an award-winning campaign where it combined the content with thought-provoking and humorous headlines targeting intellectually curious readers. The result was a huge success and the magazine was able to get a high return on investment. According to eConsultancy, the Economists programmatic advertising campaign was impressive, to say the least. The magazine was able to get 650,000 new prospects, 3.6 million people taking action and got a campaign ROI of 10:1.

Ready to start with programmatic ads? 

Digital advertising is an enormous domain, and if you find yourself lost with a myriad of options available, take your time to learn about programmatic advertising. It might take time to wrap your head around the idea, but rest assured if done correctly, the returns will be enormous.