Skip to main content ↓
How to launch programmatic campaigns
  • Home
  • Blog
  • PPC 6 Steps for an Awesome Programmatic Advertising Strategy

6 Steps for an Awesome Programmatic Advertising Strategy


Not sure how to create a programmatic advertising strategy? Don’t worry. We’ll give you some pointers in this video.

Before we get into those details, let me quickly review what programmatic advertising is.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising is a form of digital advertising that uses different online tools to let advertisers and content publishers buy and sell ad space.

If it sounds like normal PPC advertising with a search engine or on social media, that’s because it’s similar. But it’s not the same.

Both regular PPC ads and programmatic campaigns let you bid for ad space and target a specific audience. But a big advantage to using a programmatic advertising strategy is the amount of ad inventory available to you.

Programmatic tools don’t just pull from one ad network, like Google’s Display Network, when they let you buy ads. They connect to a bunch of different locations on the web, so you have so many ways to reach your target audience where they are at online.

Let me briefly outline the programmatic process and the tools involved.

The programmatic advertising process

So, you have an advertiser who wants to buy space for their ads. They’ll use a tool called a demand-side platform (DSP) to buy placements for their ads on a bunch of different websites, like blogs, news sources, or video streaming platforms.

Publishers, like news sources, bloggers, or video streaming platforms, use a supply-side platform (SSP) to offer up the available ad space, or inventory, they want to sell.

In the middle, an ad exchange connects the people who want to buy space with the inventory from all of those publishers. A process called real-time bidding — which is this super fast automated bidding process — occurs to decide which ads appear in front of an Internet user.

To be clear, advertisers don’t have to pick and choose every single website they want their ads on. I mean, you can. Especially if you want to use a private marketplace. But as an advertiser, you can just pick the ad exchanges or marketplaces you want within your DSP, and the programmatic tool will sort all the specifics out for you.

So that’s a very quick overview of the whole process. Let’s move on to how to create your programmatic marketing strategy.

Traffic attracted through PPC advertising yields 50% more conversions than organic advertising.

Are you leveraging PPC in your marketing efforts? Let’s get started.

View the Guide

6 steps to create a stellar programmatic advertising strategy

1. Outline your budget and goals

The first thing we always say when planning a campaign is know what you want to accomplish. That includes the goals you want to hit and the metrics you’ll track. This information will serve as a guide for everything else in your campaign.

Don’t forget to figure out your budget. You should know how much you want to spend from the start so you can figure out how much you’ll bid to reach your audience.

Once those are sorted out, you can get moving on your strategy.

2. Choose a programmatic platform

Maybe the most important thing you need when planning your strategy is a platform to buy ad space and launch your ads. I think it’s safe to assume that you’re an advertiser, so you’ll need a tool with DSP capabilities to get your strategy off the ground.

There are plenty out there — Choozle, MediaMath, Adobe Advertising Cloud, and Xandr are just a few. You could also partner with an agency like WebFX to manage your ads for you. Our AdTechFX service can provide a big performance lift to your programmatic ads. Not to be too self-promotional or anything.

Each platform may have its own unique features, and the cost will vary, so you’ll want to research and get in touch with the teams from each tool before making a final decision.

3. Determine your target audience

Along with your goals, your target audience will shape the messaging of your programmatic advertising strategy. So, it’s crucial that you know the people your campaign will reach.

You don’t want to lump everyone together in one big group and target them with the same ad. You’ll want to separate — or segment — people based on similar characteristics.

Maybe you manufacture kitchen equipment, and you make stuff for both personal and commercial use. These customers have very different needs. So, the way you advertise to people in commercial environments will be completely different from how you reach people who just really like to cook at home.

Even if you only make commercial equipment, you may want to segment your audience based on things like their location, their history with your business, or the industry they’re in.

You can choose either first-party or third-party data sources to reach your audience. 

First-party data is what customers provide to you when they interact with your business. Examples of this include a list of your previous or current customers, current email subscribers, users completing lead form or ebook downloads, or IP addresses of people who visited your site.

This data is super valuable since it comes from people who have already shown interest in your business. They may be more receptive to your ads since they’re familiar with you.

Third-party data comes from sources not owned by you, such as data from a programmatic advertising platform’s database, or information from a data management platform (DMP). Again, you’ll likely have access to less and less third-party data with the Internet’s general shift to more user privacy, so you don’t want to rely too heavily on third-party data.

4. Select an ad format

A programmatic campaign can take many forms. Just remember to make sure your ad platform can handle the format you choose.

  • You can launch a display ad campaign, which appears in blocks on sites across the web.
  • You can create a connected TV (CTV) ad that plays as a commercial on your favorite video streaming services.
  • You can choose an audio-only format that plays while your audience listens to their favorite music streaming service.

Those are just a few of the options you have when thinking about your ad format. Once you know the format you want, it’s time to plan your creative.

5. Produce your ad creative

Whether you’re creating a video or designing eye-catching graphics, keep your audience and your goal in mind at all times.

Think about what language will resonate best with your audience, and what messaging will help you accomplish your goals.

Maybe you’re that kitchen equipment maker from earlier, and you’ve decided you want to do two display campaigns, both aimed at staying top of mind with your audience. One is for people who have previously purchased from you and the other is for people who haven’t.

Maybe the campaign for previous customers uses language like, “We miss you” or something else aimed at getting them back. You can’t tell a potential customer that you miss them! They haven’t given you anything to miss, yet.

The campaign for people who haven’t made a purchase may focus on communicating the benefits of your products, or just getting your name out there in general.

So, while the campaigns reach two different audiences, they are equally personalized to their needs. No matter which format you’re using, match your messaging with your audience and your goals.

6. Monitor your ad performance

After you’ve finalized your programmatic advertising strategy and launched your campaigns, keep an eye on their performance.

If you notice your campaigns aren’t hitting your goals, dive into the analytics to figure out what’s not working. You may be able to adjust your bid, your targeting, or even your ad creative, so spend some time narrowing down what went wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with learning from your mistakes. What matters is how you adapt to this new knowledge you’ve gained. And don’t make the same mistake twice.

And that’s the last step in creating an effective programmatic advertising  strategy. If you want to learn more about programmatic SEO and everything else digital marketing, take a second to subscribe to our channel and our email newsletter, Revenue Weekly.

You’ll get digital marketing insights from our team of experts right in your inbox.

Thanks for tuning in. Best of luck with your campaigns!

We post videos every Monday.

Yup. Every Monday.

Join the 12,000 marketers who get their marketing knowledge from WebFX videos.

Subscribe Now

Cost Per Click (CPC) Calculator

Do you advertise on platforms that charge per click? Use our calculator and figure out exactly how many clicks will fit within your budget.

Calculate Your CPC
CPC Calculator