With digital media ad spend now making up half of all digital spend in the UK, it is no surprise that mobile is the catalyst, with programmatic buying playing a pivotal role. By 2018 emarketer predicts mobile ad spend is set to reach £6.9 billion in the UK as more brands are adopting mobile marketing strategies. According to Ofcom’s 2015 Communication Market Report a quarter of mobile internet users in the UK use it for a retail purpose, either finding a store location or buying through their phone, forcing brands to revise their online strategies. Using programmatic marketing lets brands target consumers across mobile and desktop devices seamlessly, targeting customers with relevant ads at scale and at the opportune moment. Increased efficiency, a reduction in overall advertising costs and higher ROIs have also fuelled the rise of programmatic.  

However, in order to drive efficiencies through programmatic marketing and maximise programmatic campaigns, it’s essential for you, as a marketer, to get to grips with how programmatic buying actually works. There are three key steps you should consider when building your campaigns to ensure you are not wasting your budget. 

Define your KPIs and goal setting

Firstly, you need to build out your goals and KPIs, and collate any insights from previous campaigns. By reviewing the data from previous campaigns, it can provide valuable insight which will guide your next strategies. This enables you to identify crucial data points to ensure your future campaigns are targeted on a strategic and granular level. Essentially, don’t look at programmatic campaigns from the top down, but rather from the ground up. Start with a hypothesis and build your goals from there; whether your objective is ROI-based or you need to generate a certain amount of revenue from the campaign. 

Perhaps your focus may be on raising awareness for a newly launched product or extending an audience base from an existing one to a new one – e.g. shifting from generation x to targeting millenials. Another example of a goal could be if a brand wanted to promote their new loyalty card scheme, the success indicator would be to acquire a certain number of users to sign up to it. Therefore, the way to approach this objective would be very different to how they would tackle a revenue driving initiative.  

On a prospecting campaign success may be defined through how much revenue should be driven, whereas if the focus is on branding, viewability or share of voice may be the desired KPIs.

Deciding what success looks like is imperative. By laying the foundation in this way and developing a precise and concise roadmap, it enables you as an advertiser to build a clear focus on how to carry out your programmatic campaign.

Deciphering the data

One avenue that can and should be explored when building a campaign is the use of first, second or third party data of a brand’s target audience. For example, purchasing data from a third party data provider can enable a certain level of granularity and relevance to your campaign.  Take for instance a brand’s objective might choose to shift their core customer profile. The approach to take might be to either target a specific dataset from a data provider or alternatively find a dataset from which is similar to their existing audience and choose to exclude them from their targeting. In short, by adding good quality data into the strategy for the campaign, you reduce the likelihood of impressions wastage. 

Once you’ve decided on your hypothesis, strategy and tactics, the next steps are to sit down and decide how your budget is divided amongst your different strategies.  Defining how much you will invest into each strategy enables you to build models for the measurement of campaign performance.  

Campaign analysis

When analysing the campaign at the end of its run, the key takeaway should always focus on the following statement “Do the results fulfil my objectives and how do they support or disprove my original hypothesis?”  It is very easy to simply focus on the top line results i.e. we generated x amount of sales/new site visitors, however the valuable insight comes from analysing each strategy individually. 

For example, understand how ‘Segment A’ compares to ‘Segment B’ and if there is an increase in spend, how will it impact future performance.  This way, you are armed with actionable insights which enable you to prepare for your next programmatic campaign. 

Programmatic is already a huge part of how ad space is being bought and sold, and this trend is set to grow. But marketers must understand both the pros and the cons of automated buying before they embark on their strategies. Once you lay the groundwork, define your KPIs, make sense of the data and are confident in your analysis will you ensure you are making efficiencies in your spend whilst driving results for your brand.