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What is Programmatic Buying For PPC?

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Advancements in the advertising industry have led to data-driven methods to promote and market your business.

One relevant example is programmatic advertising.

A study found programmatic ad spend will top $59.45 billion in 2019. By 2021, $81 billion of digital display ad spend will be conducted programmatically.

How can programmatic buying benefit your business? What does it even mean? This guide will share everything you need to know about this latest marketing trend and how to leverage it for your business.

What Is Programmatic Buying?

Previously, buying ads was a long and arduous process.

Advertisers were required to purchase impressions from publishers, negotiate terms for ad inventory, and send proposal requests to get their ads out into the world.

This meant a lot of back and forth and follow-ups across multiple parties. It was costly in most cases and, worse, inefficient.

The rise of programmatic advertising has sped up the process. Advertisers can now leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to automate the ad buying process in real-time.

This graphic from PubMatic shows the difference between the different types of ad buying:

programmatic buying definition

So, how does programmatic buying work? Here’s an example to help you understand the process.

Let’s say you sell tech products, like an iPhone.

You opt for a PPC campaign to promote your products on Google. Your goal is to bid on advertising inventory to get your promotional content featured on Facebook, Google, or in a 30-second pre-roll video on YouTube.

In the programmatic buying process, cookies or anonymous data are sent to a demand-side platform where the ad-buying occurs. Data can help identify users who have visited your website, live in your geographic location, or are existing customers.

This data could help you identify people who resemble your ideal target audience. In this case, it could be users who have read an article about the latest iPhone, visited the Apple website, or searched for iPhone reviews.

How to Get Your Ads Shown to High-Converting Users With These Attributes

Real-time bidding occurs between various advertisers who want to send an ad impression to the user. This entire process is automated and based on algorithms rather than human input—and it takes less than a few seconds.

The winner of the bid gets to show their ad to the website user.

Here’s to hoping website users will click the ad and convert!

In summary, programmatic buying lets advertisers identify their target market through behavioral insights rather than just keywords, bid on those users, and deliver the ad in the blink of an eye.

Advanced ad targeting capabilities means access to high-converting consumers who are more interested in the products or services you offer.

Why You Should Use Programmatic Buying in Your PPC Campaigns

Programmatic buying lets your ads reach your ideal target audience at affordable price points.

Here are some statistics on the results of programmatic buying:

  • Programmatic advertising generated an astounding $129.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach 155 billion in 2021.
  • The data-driven characteristics of programmatic advertising have led buy-side decision-makers to choose this option. Nearly half (48 percent) believe data is the driving force behind their programmatic investments and strategies.
  • Fifty-two percent of publishers state they have sold more than 81 percent of their ads inventory.
  • Video is a leading driver in programmatic advertising. Fifty-four percent of agencies purchased more than 41 percent of their video inventory through programmatic advertising, compared to only 50 percent in 2019.
  • Sixty-eight percent of marketers have stated paid ads are “very important” to their marketing strategy.

These statistics prove programmatic advertising can bring a load of benefits! Here are a few more benefits to leveraging this ad-buying strategy.

Increase Reach

Programmatic buying is supported on numerous ad networks and marketing channels. It lets marketers access private marketplaces or get ad space from thousands of websites with the click of a button.

Since the entire process is automated, advertisers can scale their PPC campaigns with minimum effort while staying within their budget.

More Transparency

Publishers and advertisers can receive real-time information about ad placements and activity. More transparency guarantees every penny is well-spent while simultaneously improving ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).

Target Beyond CTR

A PPC campaign can lead to thousands of impressions and clicks. Yet, these numbers don’t matter if you aren’t generating conversions and increasing sales.

With programmatic advertising, marketers can use advanced ad targeting features. Leveraging website behavior or demographic data lets advertisers reach their intended audience at scale.

Access to Data and Results

Programmatic exchanges provide real-time information on your ad performance. Once you get the insights, you can maximize results by investing in high-performing ads.

If you have subpar ads, then consider modifying them based on data from past campaigns. As long as you know what works and what doesn’t, you can optimize your campaigns and scale fast.

When Should I Use Programmatic Buying in PPC Campaigns?

Programmatic advertising looks promising, but it may not work for everyone. In this section, I’ll discuss when programmatic buying is a good fit.

How to Use Programmatic Buying in PPC Campaigns

  1. Move Beyond the Google Display Network

    If you’re a PPC marketer, you’ve probably used the Google Display Ad Network (GDN) to reach website users. Programmatic buying can help you make the most of it.

    Programmatic buying lets advertisers connect with 80+ additional inventory sources and get placements in sites that were previously inaccessible.

    On top of this, you can reach premium inventory previously considered too small to warrant placement in the GDB or too expensive for direct buys. An example would be ad placements in popular websites like The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg, or Entrepreneur.

  2. Access to First-Party Data

    Marketing strategies often rely on big data to be effective.

    With modern analytical tools, we can easily monitor results and gather information about our customer base.

    Demand-side platforms (where ad buying takes place) can integrate first-party data. This includes data from your customers or audience.

    First-party data can include CRM, social, behavioral, and subscription data.

    As a result, advertisers can launch highly personalized and targeted campaigns. Similar to Facebook campaigns, they can build lookalike audiences that match the profiles of their existing target audience.

    Research-backed data also means you can create content more likely to resonate with your audience. You can also create effective campaigns to get new prospects down the sales funnel.

  3. Personalize Ads

    People are bombarded with ads 24/7 on their phones, in their email, while they watch television.

    Programmatic buying lets advertisers create ads using behavioral targeting and demographic data. Hence, they can connect with their target audience without being spammy or annoying.

    For example, the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), which owns hotel chains like Holiday Inn, used programmatic advertising to compete with Booking.com and Expedia.

    According to their data, consumers opted for their competitor sites because of the myth that they offered better prices. In reality, customers were charged between 15 percent and 30 percent more than the original price.

    The campaign did well because targeted users were more aware of the cost of booking from third-party sites.
    programmatic buying IHG

5 Programmatic Buying Software Options

At this stage, you’re probably wondering how to start with programmatic buying. Let’s take a look at some of the top programmatic buying software options to consider.

Simpli.fi

programmatic buying simpli.fi

Simpli.fi’s programmatic platform lets users efficiently buy targeted impressions or ad inventory from real-time advertising exchanges.

What makes it unique is it lets marketers leverage unstructured data instead of pre-made audience segments. Users can create highly targeted custom audiences based on CRM data, browsing behavior, search history, and geographic location.

You can also use insights to understand audience behavior, and optimize audiences in real-time. This is advantageous for businesses with a huge customer base and tons of data.

For seamless analytics, it has 60+ pre-built reports which lets users easily organize data from campaign results. They also have visualization tools to help you better understand data through graphs, charts, heat maps, and tables.

Adobe Advertising Cloud

programmatic buying adobe experience cloud

Adobe Advertising Cloud offers an independent platform for programmatic buying.

The demand-side platform can plan, optimize, and manage your ad campaigns.

AI pulls audience data so advertisers can launch a paid media strategy that fosters brand awareness. Content creators can also streamline content and build meaningful user experiences.

Budget is a main concern when it comes to running PPC campaigns. With Adobe, users can use AI to analyze data and conduct performance optimization for cost-efficient spending.

AdRoll

programmatic buying adroll

AdRoll’s programmatic platform uses customer intelligence data to identify and target potential leads. It aggregates consumer purchasing behavior on your website so you can understand what works and predict audience reception.

With its powerful analytics capabilities, marketers can send relevant messages to prospects, leading to more engagement and conversions. You can also run omnichannel marketing campaigns and connect with your audience through email, social media, or web across multiple devices.

DoubleClick by Google

programmatic buying google marketing platform

DoubleClick is a programmatic ad platform that automates the ad buying process and effectively runs campaigns in real-time.

Here’s a look at some of its most notable features:

  • DoubleClick Digital Marketing Manager: Built-in intelligence to uncover significant marketing insights on trafficking and reporting. This lets advertisers make data-driven decisions and gain more control of their advertising spend.
  • DoubleClick Bid Manager: This tool helps agencies effectively purchase display media from different ad exchanges in a streamlined platform.
  • DoubleClick Search: Powerful search features provide real-time insights on KPIs and ad performance. Their Ad Data Hub leverages data from Google Ads or your own CRM system to improve your PPC campaigns. By diving into the details, you can make smart bidding decisions and run ads across multiple platforms.
  • DoubleClick Rich Media: Data dashboarding tools streamline information from Google Ads, Analytics, or spreadsheets. Their interactive dashboards also generate easy-to-understand reports so you can communicate results to teams and executives.
  • DoubleClick Studio: Workflow and production tools help marketing teams and media agencies create high-quality and compelling ads which delivers results.
  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics helps users aggregate data to create tailored lists, identify digital touchpoints, and create shareable reports. As you get more information about your company, you can better understand your target audience.

Rubicon Project

programmatic buying rubicon project

Rubicon Project has an automated advertising platform connecting media buyers and publishers from across the globe. Top brands use it to reach over a billion consumers.

The platform centralizes the traditional proposal process and deal negotiation. User-friendly tools and real-time performance analytics capabilities seamlessly consolidate the ad buying process.

Furthermore, insightful reports from their Prebid impression funnel data provide information on page load and impressions across websites and mobile apps.

Conclusion

Programmatic buying lets marketers leverage AI and big data to reach their target audience.

Not only can you identify high-intent consumers, but you can also present ads at the right time and place to maximize results. The automated bidding process speeds up the process, so you can access premium ad inventory with minimal effort.

While it has a lot of benefits, it may not be a good fit for everyone. We highly recommend this solution for advertisers who have maximized the Google Display Ad Network (GDN) or have access to first-party data.

If you want to try it out for yourself, there are multiple platforms that can help you get started in an instant.

How will you use programmatic buying to power up your marketing?

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money


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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.



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