MMW Op-Ed: Four Common Mistakes People Make When Using Programmatic Advertising

MMW Op-Ed Four Common Mistakes People Make When Using Programmatic AdvertisingThe following is a guest contributed post to MMW from Kent Keilback, CEO of Admobix.

As marketers, brands, advertisers and media companies become more familiar with programmatic media buying, there are still some who are not utilizing it to its full potential; thus not optimizing their campaigns and ROI as effectively as they could be.

When buying programmatically, one must figure out if it will be effective for their specific campaign(s) that they’ll be running, be open-minded about new ways of advertising and have a solid marketing plan going in to it.

The reason for this could be because programmatic users don’t have enough knowledge about the artificial intelligence, they’re still hoarding over old habits of marketing or they don’t have a solid overall marketing plan in mind.

If you are new to the technology and currently buying media programmatically, see if these four common mistakes relate to you and how you can fix them:

1) Not knowing enough about your target market

Programmatic is all about making it easier and more cost-effective to serve an ad to the right people – marketers who are not familiar with their primary and secondary target market may make the mistake of “under-targeting”. If they don’t have enough information about their audience or their data is too broad or vague, they may be missing the opportunity to advertise to a large majority of their target market.

“The misconception is that you [marketers] can leave it all to programmatic to optimize,” adMobix VP of Platform Sales Paul Cook said. “While this is true in some ways, it’s faulty when you think that you don’t need to put any thought into your messaging and the Four P’s of marketing.”

“You need to still consider who your end market and target markets are, and serve them the right message at the right time at the right place.”

Historical marketers who have been in the business for quite some time usually have a wealth of data about their target audience. They’ve collected information through surveys, poll questions, consumer product reviews and many other methods. Whether it’s demographics, location or interests, these are all sacred knowledge in order to drive customer acquisition.

2) Marketers tend to over-target

While it is important to be specific when targeting, it can also backfire when marketers try to be too restricted.

An example of over-targeting would be: targeting only 22-year-old females with purple hair who are single and standing at a bus stop between the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It is difficult for a campaign to do well under these circumstances. There aren’t a lot of people who fit that demographic compared to the rest of the population.

Marketers need to find a balance and make sure they feed the programmatic platform enough data in order for it to optimize and make decisions based on all the variables.

3) Setting false expectations

There are marketers who have very high expectations when it comes to earning ROI through a programmatic platform. For example, they expect to make more than 50% return on their first $100 deposit. However, when this is not met, they start to panic and stop the campaign. There needs to be realistic expectations and marketers have to know that they can lose some money in the beginning, even if they are very familiar with their target market.

“People need to understand that the money they put into programmatic media buying is an investment,” Cook said. “By nature, there are risks associated with it in the beginning. “This is why we set guidelines to ease marketers’ expectations.”

“If you are between 20% to 40% return on the first $500, you’re in a good place. However, anything under 20%, we tell them to pause their campaign and re-evaluate it – whether it’d be a targeting strategy or marketing material issue.”

4) Don’t fully understand the process of optimization

Just like how there is a set ROI expectation for some marketers, there is also a set expectation that their campaign will succeed on all placements. There are currently thousands of placements available for programmatic real-time bidding which means there are many placements to “test” – and not all of them are going to work.

“You can have all the data in the world and know who you are targeting but you still have to test placements to understand the viewability,” Cook said. “You also have to expect that not all ad placements will benefit your campaign.”

The process of optimization naturally occurs over money spent and time.  Different placements work for different ads and campaigns. If one ad optimizes very well above the fold, it doesn’t mean that it will do well interstitially or below the fold. It’s all about testing each placement overtime and coming in to programmatic with reasonable optimization expectations.

Although programmatic is still quite new to the marketing and advertising scene, more and more companies and brands are adopting to it. The success of a campaign will depend on whether marketers do their research, get to know their audience and come in with the mindset that sometimes they’ll win and sometimes they’ll lose.