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5 steps to choose the right platform for programmatic advertising

April 28, 2021

2020 was another year that proved that digital media is the future. Consequently, the budgets spent on online advertising continue to grow. Programmatic advertising, which allows the streamlining of the process of buying and selling ads online, therefore, will increase its share in the market. Programmatic advertising already accounts for more than 70% of all global digital media ad spend and that number will only grow further.
While there are numerous platforms aside from Facebook and Google, in reality most advertisers do not have the bandwidth to manage the more complex ones. This is where programmatic advertising comes in, which not only offers superior targeting, but also a wide range of platforms including mobile, video, display, native, connected TV, digital audio, as well as new channels like digital out-of-home advertising. Sound complicated already?
Well, there are a lot of factors to consider and getting your ad to work effectively does take some fine-tuning. As a result, businesses often rely on programmatic advertising companies to help with their digital media strategy and subsequent campaign management. Better outcomes and greater control over spending are just some of the advantages you would enjoy from working with a knowledgeable and experienced programmatic advertising agency.

What to consider

How creative are you feeling? If not much, programmatic ad agencies usually offer these services for you as well. As long as you can get your goals and needs across, they can use visuals and text to create a truly engaging ad that will trigger the right emotions in your audience and improve conversion. Going through a series of A/B tests, they can tweak the ad and end up with the one that performs the best for each platform.
Your partner should also help you find the best demand side platform (DSP) and conduct real-time bidding on programmatic platforms. Bear in mind that the more information you provide, the better the end result is likely to be.
Once your programmatic ad campaigns are launched, you can also entrust the agency to keep an eye on the budget and make sure everything is running smoothly on all programmatic platforms.
Budget permitting, you may even opt for a programmatic ad agency that goes the extra mile and offers omnichannel advertising, perfecting your creative for social networks, video platforms and more.
Ask yourself how well you know your audience and which platforms they use. This is crucial to determine before you create your detailed targeting strategy. Agencies can either learn this from past programmatic ad campaigns, or via independent research. This will enable them to create detailed buyer personas that would ensure that your ads are subsequently shown to the right target audience on the right advertising platforms following the programmatic bidding process.
But with so many players on the market, what is the best way to choose your ideal partner: one that will not only help with the initial strategy and get the ball rolling with bidding, but will also process the data gathered throughout the programmatic ad campaign to ensure the best outcome?
First of all, make a list of your requirements. Depending on your resources, you may want a full cycle programmatic advertising company, or one that will create synergy with your marketing team and help your own people achieve those goals.
Besides, a remarketing strategy can prove effective to potentially engage parts of the audience that were not drawn in during previous programmatic ad campaigns.

Steps to choose the right programmatic advertising platform

Step 1. Set your goals and budget
It is important to know your budget as early as possible because this can determine the strategy and scope of your ad campaigns.
At this stage, you need to also work out what your goals are both short-term and long-term. How do you want programmatic advertising software to help you achieve them? What other factors need to be taken into account?
Step 2. Research
Once you go through the advice presented here, it's time to start searching. Ask yourself whether you would prefer to work with a programmatic ad agency with local representatives within easy physical reach, or a big name that is only available online.
A good way to filter out programmatic companies you would not want to work with is to look through their website - agencies who care about their presence will have spent months perfecting it, which is a good indicator for potential clients.
Go through their case studies and objective reviews as well. Find out which industries they have experience in and whether they work with platforms you are interested in. If they have a good proven track record of successful campaigns at companies like yours, there's no reason to think they wouldn't be able to help you out too.
Step 3. Direct communication with programmatic ad platform
As soon as you have a pool of several programmatic ad agencies that might be your best fit, reach out to them and schedule meetings to talk things through.
At the meeting, pay attention to their manner of communication: are they responsive to your needs? Are they comfortable working with the budget you have?
Remember, you are looking for an ongoing, mutually beneficial partnership. If it seems like the company is merely after your money and addresses your queries reluctantly, thank them for their time and move on.
Enquire about their team, what does each member add to it? How creative are they? Are they good at meeting deadlines?
Another thing to consider is how many clients each account manager has. This question determines whether they put quality over quantity. If you are new to programmatic advertising, you need their staff's full attention, especially initially to ensure everything is set up right from the start and that your budget is used wisely.
Step 4. Choose your programmatic advertising agency
After you have interviewed your top picks, you should have one that stands out and meets your needs the most. Settle any last-minute issues, review the contract, sign it and off you go!
Step 5. Keep track of things
Schedule a weekly meeting to stay abreast of how the campaigns are going on all platforms.
Analyse what works best and share your findings with the programmatic ad agency, which may not be as accustomed with industry specifics as you are. The right programmatic ad agency won't promise you results from Day 1 on all platforms, but will eventually arrive at a solution that uses the budget efficiently and lives up to your expectations (if not exceeds them!). They should possess all the tools and workings from prior experience of programmatic online advertising.
At the same time, there should be no complacency. Some strategies may only work for a limited time and need to be tweaked to deliver on a constant basis. Ultimately, your success with programmatic online advertising will rely on your due diligence in ensuring that everything stays on track as much as the help and services afforded to you by the advertising agency.