Thought Leadership


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The Rise of Programmatic Marketing

Big Data

In the age of big data with more companies having a better understanding of who their customers are, it shouldn’t be a surprise that programmatic marketing has grown significantly over the last several years. Programmatic marketing is where companies leverage data to find the right customers, in the right places, at the right times, to make their marketing more effective.

The usage of programmatic digital display ad spending is expected to continue to rise over the next several years as companies learn how to leverage this new technology, which utilizes the data they have collected on their current customers to find new customers and target them with relevant messages at the right times, which typically produces higher ROIs than more traditional marketing efforts.

How prospecting works via programmatic marketing

A media buying company has a pool of customers (identified by a 1st party cookie) that they have appended attributes to in order to allow clients to select the right customers to target by a wide range of attributes such as age, income, location, buying patterns, etc. Clients provide a list of attributes for their best customers to the medium buying company. The media buying company returns a list of prospects based upon each distinct personas or targeting methodology. Once the customers are selected ads can be shown to the same person across various mediums including email, direct mail, websites, streaming TV, streaming video, streaming music, and social media sites to name a few. A match back process can then be run to identify which customers actually converted since there is a list of exactly who was targeted by the media buying company allowing for clear visibility into what groups and marketing mixes drove the highest conversions.

Selecting the right customers

Utilizing a company’s data to develop comprehensive personas that identify customer demographics and interests allow for incredibly precise selection of prospects through an ad buying company’s programmatic database. The more precise the targeting the smaller and more targeted the list of prospects will be leading to better results overall since the campaign will only be targeting people who are most likely to buy your company’s product or service.

If your company doesn’t have specific personas built or are looking to go into new business sectors programmatic targeting is a good way to test hypothesis about what customers are most likely interested in your company’s product. The ability to select customers on custom variables and post-campaign analysis of how well each group performed can help provide valuable insight into what persona attributes are most critical in acquiring new customers.

Also, it’s important to note since this is real time the campaign can be analyzed mid-flight to identify how well each group of prospects is performing and adjustments made during the campaign to improve performance.

Finding the right place & time

Once there is a list of prospects (cookies) to target it is key to identify and map the customer journey to select the right marketing mediums, messages and timing for each touch point in the journey from awareness to purchase.

According to a recent Forrester survey, nearly 46 percent of customers don't mind receiving messaging from companies they've opted into as long as the offer is relevant. The keyword is relevant and that is where programmatic marketing plays an important role.

With programmatic marketing it is possible to develop a comprehensive marketing plan that will touch the same person throughout buying journey so careful consideration should be placed on this flow and might be varied based upon the persona or targeting to better align with that specific group of prospects.

  • Marketing Mediums & Timing – What marketing mix should be used at which phase and what are the triggers that indicate the prospect is ready to moveto the next phase of the buying prospect? The right mix might vary by persona group so multiple mixes might need to be developed and tested before a clearwinning formula emerges. For example, persona 1 might receive display and social advertising for 2 weeks or until they click on the ad to learn more at which point they start to receive email with more information on the product and common use cases encouraging them to buy. Persona 2 might get 2 weeksof ads on Pandora, followed by 2 weeks of social advertisement on Facebook and Pinterest and after they click on an ad to learn more they start to receiveemails about the product encouraging them to buy. The key is to identity when and where the customers are most likely to engage and show the right ads in those places.
  • Message – The message should be tailored to the persona audience needs, the marketing medium it’s appearing on and the stage of the buying funnel thatcustomers are in. Since marketers now can target the same person across multiple marketing mediums it makes building a message over time possible and nolonger do marketers need to cram everything into one ad. This multi-stage approach to the marketing messaging allows for simpler messages that build thestory over time and across mediums making each mediums message unique. This helps avoid ad fatigue and keeps customers engaged throughout the buyingprocess.
  • Creative – People respond best when they see ads that are both relevant in terms of message and imagery. People tend to relate more when the people andsituations depicted in the ad are something they can relate to. Are the prospects single, married, have children, certain ethnicity, have a certain use case forwhy they need this product, etc. One of the great things about programmatic targeting is ads can be customized and the right ad can be shown to the right person making the advertisement more relevant to the prospective customer.

While more media buying companies are offering self-serve options, if your company is a little nervous about jumping into programmatic marketing contacting a marketing agency might be beneficial. An agency can help determine if this is right for your company and how to test your way into a program that will deliver the ROI you’re looking for without getting in over your head.

Author Bio

Nessa Felleson

Nessa Felleson is a senior marketing strategist for Yes Lifecycle Marketing Agency Services. Her role is helping companies develop the right marketing strategies to meet their overarching business goals and objectives. Prior to Yes Lifeycycle Marketing she defined, executed and reported on marketing strategies at a handful of smaller agencies in Minneapolis including NordicClick Interactive, Michaels Wilder and TMP Directional Marketing. Outside of marketing, Nessa resides in the heart of Downtown Denver but can often be found outside during all seasons biking, hiking, stand up paddle boarding, snowshoeing or whatever the season calls for.