From an advertiser perspective, simply using programmatic technology to place your ads is a great way to get more for your money. It can automatically set spending limits, optimise advertising bids and help to prevent overspending. 

But making the most of your programmatic investment isn’t just about saving money, but also about making sure your campaigns are working as efficiently and effectively as possible. Here are five key areas to consider in order to get the maximum value:

1. Set clear objectives

It’s difficult to establish the value of your programmatic advertising without anything to measure the success of your campaign against. So it’s important to put goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) in place. You can then discuss these goals with your programmatic partner to find out what’s achievable with what budget. This will allow you to plan how much you will need to spend based on what success looks like to you and approach the campaign with a high degree of confidence.

2. Define your targets in advance

The performance of your programmatic advertising – the bang you get from your programmatic buck – is only as good as the intelligence you can provide. It’s possible to target your advertising in a number of ways, in terms of audience, media channel, device and more. So it’s important to define target audience (chosen demographic), preferred sites and/or apps (desktop, mobile, tablet, content, traffic type and volume), pricing, campaign length, and ‘frequency capping’ (how many times each consumer will be shown an ad).
If you target your ad properly, it will appear in front of those most likely to purchase your products or services. If you are too broad or specific, you could miss valuable advertising opportunities and thus spend money unnecessarily. One thing you can do to ensure your ad gets to the right people is create buyer personas before launching a programmatic advertising campaign. Doing so helps you visualise the people most likely to click through an ad and purchase.

3. Test and evaluate

You may have carefully defined the parameters of your programmatic campaign in terms of target audience and more, but it still pays to proceed cautiously initially. Before investing a lot of time and money into a campaign, start small and work up, evaluating the performance each time using the relevant analytics, so that you can optimise effectiveness. Continually monitor and adjust your goals, so you can test and optimise your audience segments, when your ads run, how often they run, and how your content and creative impact performance. Assess how your campaign measured up against your goals. Gain better visibility across your entire investment, with clear insight into audience, ad performance and spend, so you can be agile and make adjustments to your KPIs as needed.

4. Limit your spending automatically

Once you have defined your budget, you can programme spending limits into your campaign over a given time frame. Overspend mechanisms allow you to pick a period (daily, weekly, monthly or lifetime) and input the maximum budget you’re willing to spend during that time. Once your spend hits that amount, the ad or campaign will be paused for budget control. When that time frame is up, the campaign will keep running until your budget has been used up.
This helps to ensure the longevity of your campaigns by programming them to stay within your budget at all times. Plus you have peace of mind knowing that you won’t blow through your resources at times when you’re not there to keep an eye on things, like during the night, or while you’re out of the office.

Where you might want to consider being more flexible with your budget caps however does depend on your targeting and KPIs. If you find through your optimisation analysis that a certain strategy is working well, then allowing that to go uncapped, within reason, can often be beneficial.

5. Choose the right DSP

Looking for a demand side platform (DSP) that can help you fulfil all the above criteria will allow you to get the most from your programmatic budget. One key area is the data it can leverage, which is be vital to accurate targeting. Look for one that can leverage first and third-party data across your entire investment, making it easier to find and engage your desired audiences wherever they are. You will also need access to the largest sources of cross-device inventory, including web, mobile web, mobile app publishers, and both linear and connected TV.
Finally, go for a DSP that is transparent over its pricing, and happy to divulge key financial information, such as the percentage of media spend it will charge you to use its technology. There should be no hidden charges and all fees should align with your requirements.