Programmatic Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

by    |    Feb 13, 2018    |       5 min read

It seems as if the future of online advertising, programmatic advertising (PA) refers to the utilization of software to power digital ad campaigns through automation. With some reports predicting close to 80% of spending to fall on programmatic advertising in the USA alone in the next two years, marketers are overwhelmingly going for it. Programmatic advertising streamlines the entire ad buying and selling process with data-driven, automated technology, resulting in higher returns and better efficiency.

Still, if you’re one of those who believes innovative technology will do wonders for you with little to none of your own input, you’re dead wrong. Adopting it doesn’t automatically produce desired results, proper guidance and execution do. Let that be the number one lesson in PA for you, and what follows is a set of mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

1. Not Defining the Right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The success of your programmatic campaign depends greatly on the ability to measure the right KPIs. Among the most common mistakes in programmatic advertising is the lack of clear-cut clarity in determining the key performance indicators that perfectly align with your goals. It’s a fine line between setting effective KPIs from ineffective ones. For instance, social shares and clickthroughs are great, but they should take a back seat to more meaningful parameters like conversions, lead quality, and revenue.

Without the ability to distinguish between the two groups, there will be confusion about what the real campaign performance is, not to mention the fact that optimization goes right out of the window. Effective KPI’s help determines what’s good and, equally important, what’s not.

2. Having a “Channel” Vision

Exercising a certain level of the tunnel-like field of vision when it comes to digital marketing is a proven misconception. With advertising frontiers moving towards outbound, new channels are offering more opportunities to boost your campaigns. In such an ad-friendly climate, why would you limit yourself to one or two specific channels?

For example, the Google-Facebook duo holds the lion’s share of the ad market. As such, these companies are typically the starting points for many marketers, but by looking beyond them, you can discover new platforms or solutions that can be your main growth drivers. In addition, a true multi-channel experience can reveal which channel (or combination of them) is the most effective and worthy of your attention.

3. Failing to Segment Audience Data

Programmatic advertising handles a huge volume of user data that provides numerous metrics, including audience data. With a variety of user touchpoints, the possibilities in terms of audience segmentation are practically limitless. This is important because it allows the creation of different profiles, which creates segmentation and affects performance for the better.

Taking advantage of these real-time stats can also help discover new audiences and strategies for future campaigns. Failing to segment your audience means you won’t be able to filter out those that do not fit your target audience, which means fewer conversions. And that’s bad.

4. One Creative Suits All Customers and Leads

On a similar note, PA’s strength (one of many) is aiding in the delivery of highly targeted ads to a relevant audience, thus maximizing ROI. In that light, approaching different users with the same message just doesn’t make sense. It’s unrealistic and severely restricting, as it takes the advantage of having a personalized creative for different profiles you are looking to impact, especially if you are aiming for a perfect start. Not going to happen. Testing different versions of your ad at the same time will provide a comparison and insights into the best performer.

PA tracks each version and records its performance with respect to the target audience, helping you identify the best. Some will argue this customization is not done frequently enough, given the potentially negative impact it has performance-wise.

5. Going Over the Budget Line

In performance-based programmatic advertising, the budget is always going to be a concern. Some advertisers and media buyers spend thousands of dollars a day, while others keep it down to a few hundred during an entire campaign. What matters is how you use that money without being too ambitious, or, even worse, obsessed with your spending. It’s all too easy to envision all that extra money stuffing into a funnel and coming out gold. However, it rarely turns out that way, which is why you always have to keep an eye on your budget and look for platforms that offer you the power to set a flexible budget that holds you accountable to your business needs.

Digital display ad spendingSource: eMarketer

6. Ignoring Expert Help

Even though this kind of advertising is designed to be easy peasy for the better part, there are still some instances where knowledge and expertise are required to make decent campaigns great. In particular, programmatic advertising has a lot of bells and whistles that add to its complexity, something that one-man army marketers cannot cope with, no matter how much they believe in running the show by themselves. Sometimes, you need specialist help to reap maximum benefits.

We are not talking about a battalion of foremost experts that will cost you an arm and a leg and your dog’s luxury kennel. It’s enough to look for a platform that has a readily-available, hands-on support team for assistance. These can offer the necessary knowledge and skillset for assistance when it comes to targeting, optimization, as well as your short and long-term plans.

Programmatic Advertising Is Here to Stay

Even less than a decade old (about the time the first iPhone was released), PA is one of the youngest kids in the whole advertising family. However, that hasn’t stopped it from taking over the world of digital marketing by storm. For future success, you need to have a deep(er) understanding of it and its role in your overall marketing strategy. If you can avoid the mistakes outlined in this post, you’ll have a chance to thrive with this efficient data-driven technology and use it to its fullest potential.