Not too long ago, it seemed like display ads might be a thing of the past. Click-through rates had bottomed out, and other digital channels were delivering much stronger ROI. But thanks to a range of new targeting and tracking methods, programmatic ads have reversed this trend. Once again, image-based ads play a critical role in online marketing.
But with all of these new tools, the game has changed. While they appear simple enough to the average user, programmatic ads are powered by a number of moving parts and a dizzying array of data points. That makes running an effective programmatic campaign a complex proposition. To get the most out of your brand’s programmatic efforts, you’ll need to follow a range of best practices.
How to Optimize the Programmatic Strategy for Your Brand
Most people are conditioned to scroll past any ad that doesn’t immediately catch their attention. So it’s important that your ads stand out from the pack. Not only that but once you have users’ attention, you’ll need to reward them with compelling content. Eye-catching visuals, crisp copy, and clear value propositions are the backbone of successful programmatic campaigns.
Consistent Brand Visuals
Programmatic ads depend on visual media, so it’s important that your visuals deliver a powerful message. These visuals also need to be consistent across your brand. If users are already familiar with your brand, your ads should be instantly recognizable. If users are discovering your brand for the first time, your visual style should set the tone for your brand identity.
Multi-location brands can thrive with programmatic ads by applying hyper-local targeting on a location level. Google and Facebook both provide tools that allow you to serve ads to users in specific areas, neighborhoods, and even street addresses. What’s more, you can customize the content of your ads to reflect the user’s location. Learn more about Hyperlocal Parogrammatic.
Another important targeting method for programmatic ads is behavioral targeting. This involves serving ads to users based on their search histories, browsing habits, and online purchase behaviors. It also allows you to serve ads next to specific types of content, ensuring that your ads are seen within the right context. By serving ads to users based on location and behavior, you can precisely target your ideal audience.
Remarketing & Similar Audiences
Perhaps the most effective type of behavioral targeting is via remarketing lists. With remarketing ads, your content is shown to users who have previously visited your website or interacted with your brand. These ads have some of the highest click-through and conversion rates of any programmatic ads. Remarketing lists can also be used to generate lookalike audiences, which mimic the interests and behaviors of your existing audience.
New & Underutilized Platforms
Most of the popular platforms used for programmatic ads have become saturated over time. While these platforms still offer strong ROI, it’s getting harder to cut through the competition. Our suggestion? Try seeking out newer, underutilized platforms. One great example is OTT-CTV advertising, which displays programmatic ads on services and devices used for streaming TV.
Ads are only one part of an effective programmatic campaign. Even with through-the-roof click-through rates, you need an effective landing page to translate those clicks into conversions. You also need to ensure that your ads and landing pages create a seamless customer journey. If users end up on a landing page that doesn’t fit the feel of your original ad, they’ll jump ship in a hurry.
Tracking & Testing
Programmatic ads boast two important advantages over display ads of the past. As we’ve discussed above, they offer much richer and more precise options for targeting. They also give you exceptionally detailed analytics. To make the most of your programmatic campaigns, you’ll want to take full advantage of this data. Track how your campaigns perform, pinpoint what works, get rid of what doesn’t, and continually refine your brand’s strategy.
Your image is one of your most important assets as a brand — if not the most important. But keeping that image consistent can prove difficult for multi-location brands. In these cases, brands need to maintain a degree of control over the image and messaging in programmatic campaigns. Some brands do this by funneling all ads through a corporate marketing program. Others give locations control, but provide detailed requirements or recommendations for ad content.
Our suggestion? Allow franchisees to manage their own local campaigns, but have them partner with a single digital marketing vendor. That way, locations can exert control over the scale and targeting of their campaigns, but the messaging and overall brand strategy will remain consistent.