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Typically seen as a marketing tool used exclusively by large corporations and global brands, programmatic advertising has often been dismissed by smaller businesses as being too complicated or too expensive. However, recent advances in the industry have made programmatic campaigns more accessible than ever to companies of all sizes. Here are the top five reasons to upgrade your pay-per-click advertising efforts by trying a programmatic campaign.

1. Advanced Targeting Methods

While AdWords offers advertisers the ability to target users by basic demographic characteristics such as age, gender, and location, these alone are often still too broad for niche campaigns. While the array of advanced targeting settings can help increase targeting precision to an extent, they are still fairly broad in nature, with categories limited to descriptors like parental status, household income, and interest categories.

Google Adwords Demographic Targeting for Search

(Photo Credit: Wordstream)

Programmatic advertising offers far more sophisticated targeting abilities, allowing advertisers to use behavioral, contextual, and cookie-less techniques to not only isolate exact audiences—down to characteristics as granular as, for instance, a particular brand of migraine medication they might be using—but also link their devices using probabilistic and deterministic targeting techniques, following them around as they switch from device to device.

2. Real-time, Conversion Driven Optimization

Furthermore, since programmatic ad buys involve on-the-spot purchases of ad inventory through real-time bidding, changes to targeting can be made on the fly based on the way users respond to (or, perhaps more importantly, don’t respond to) the advertisements being served. These changes can impact factors such as day parting preferences, frequency caps, site placements, and contextual targeting settings, with all adjustments being made continuously—with conversion performance in mind—so that campaigns never miss a beat.

In contrast, optimizing traditionally managed pay-per-click campaigns requires periodic analysis of ad performance, using this feedback to then manually adjust factors like bid settings and targeting preferences.

This leads to…

3. Superior ROI Compared to Other Digital Ad-buying Channels

With such a vast array of precision targeting techniques available—and with these settings constantly being optimized in real time to drive conversions, rather than clicks or impressions—programmatic campaigns can be much more effective in not only minimizing wasted clicks but also serving advertisements to the individuals within a target audience most likely to make a purchase. The result is often a marked increase in return on investment for advertisers.

4. Cross-platform, Cross-device Capability

Recent research has shown that it often takes as many as 25 brand engagements to achieve a conversion; depending on the length of the sales process and ticket size of the purchase, this number can sometimes be even higher. While AdWords can solve this to an extent through retargeting campaigns, the cross-platform, cross-device capability of programmatic campaigns takes it to an entirely new level.

Traditional pay-per-click campaigns are limited to serving advertisements on Google search engine results pages and Google Search Partner sites, requiring targeted users to visit these pages in order for them to be served retargeted impressions. Programmatic campaigns boast a much broader inventory that spans multiple platforms—think native site placements, display advertisements, pre-roll video advertisements, email newsletter placements, and more—as well as multiple devices.

(Photo Credit: Lungfish Communications)

In addition, programmatic campaigns also have the ability to identify when an individual might have seen a display advertisement, only to then navigate to the advertiser’s website through an organic search; this capability is critical not only for reporting and analytics purposes (something usually missed by the last-click attribution bias of solutions like AdWords reporting and Google Analytics), but also for targeting purposes.

5. It’s Not Going Away

Programmatic advertising has received a lot of attention in blogs and op-ed columns of various industry publications in recent years, and very little of it has been good. Declaring the platform dead has been a favorite pastime of these writers, with no shortage of examples to draw from.

programmatic advertising

However, despite all of these assertions to the contrary, the platform has demonstrated tremendous growth over the same timeframe, and that trend is expected to continue—a study from eMarketer published earlier this year estimated that programmatic digital display ads account for nearly 80 percent of U.S. display ad spending, with that number on pace to increase to 85 percent by 2019.

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Kobe Digital—a boutique digital marketing agency based in Los Angeles—is one of the companies leading the charge by helping small and mid-sized businesses take advantage of all the benefits that the platform has to offer. The agency was recently ranked #1 in programmatic advertising by TopSEOs, an independent ranking company that compares digital agencies for consumers.