Digital Advertising

5 Ad Campaigns that Show the Power of Programmatic Advertising

5 Ad Campaigns that Show the Power of Programmatic Advertising

Though it was once dismissed as nothing more than a fad, programmatic advertising is rapidly becoming a dominant force in the digital marketing industry.

For nearly a decade, programmatic ads have seen consistent growth, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.


Programmatic advertising ad spending

According to eMarketer’s 2020 Programmatic Ad Spending Forecast, Worldwide digital ad spending will achieve 2.4% growth this year.

The predominance of programmatic advertising can be attributed to the fact that it just works better than traditional forms of advertising.

Its targeting and tracking capabilities ensure ads are served to the right audience and the efficacy of advertising can be easily measured.

Because it’s automated, it eliminates human error, improves efficiency and allows algorithms to make data-driven decisions almost instantly.



Here are some display advertising campaigns that show the true power of Programmatic Advertising.


The Economist

In an effort to attract people who might otherwise be reluctant to read The Economist, the publication turned to programmatic ads.

It analyzed data on subscribers’ use of its website and app to identify readers preferences.  This determined which content would be most engaging and relevant for several different audiences.

Each audience reflected people who’d likely be interested in.  This included careers, economics, finance, politics, social justice and technology.

User data and page context were assessed, allowing an appropriate ad to be served to each prospective reader.

Here’s an example of one of the ads:

Programmatic Advertising


After clicking on the ad, users would be directed to an appropriate article and invited to subscribe.

The campaign inspired more than 3.6 million people to take action, achieving a return on investment of more than 10:1.



Mobile network operator, O2, has run several successful programmatic campaigns.

One campaign was meant to repurpose its TV ads and make them more interesting for mobile users.

With its vast amount of user data, O2 created video ads based on people’s mobile usage, such as device type and their location.

More than 1,000 versions of the ad were made, allowing a personalized ad to be served to each user.

Not surprisingly, these personalized ads had a 128% better click through rate.

To coincide with the company’s sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup, it launched a website that allowed users to create rugby-inspired avatars.

Using data from the website, O2 came up with a campaign targeting those who’d already accessed the website.  This gave them personalized video ads that addressed them by their first name and invited them to go back to the site.


The videos would include a personalized call to action that referenced whether they’d already made their avatar or abandoned the process before finishing.

The campaign generated an 11% increase in engagement.



To coincide with the launch of its luxury SUV, the Q2 Audi created a programmatic ad campaign.  It used data from it’s website to ensure it was serving highly relevant ads to prospective customers.

A car configurator was added to the brand’s website, which offered consumers the chance to customize a digital version of the Q2.

Users could play around with quite a few options, allowing for more than 6,000 unique combinations.

Information collected from the car configurations determined which ad would be served to each user.

This campaign yielded an average conversion rate that was 4x higher than what Audi had experienced with traditional advertising methods.



In an attempt to boost confidence in the airline after the horrific AirAsia crash in 2014, the brand launched a programmatic ad campaign on Facebook.

The campaign targeted three groups of users.  Those who:

1. bought an AirAsia ticket before the crash.

2. purchased a ticket after the crash.

3. were considered regular customers of the airline.


Each group of users was served a unique ad.  Those who:

1. bought tickets prior to the crash were shown an ad for routes they’d flown before.

2. purchased tickets after the incident were served an ad containing information on routes they’d previously searched for

3. were regular customers and were served a video ad for AirAsia.


The Facebook campaign generated a 30x return on investment and 20% of viewers watched the video in its entirety.



British shoe manufacturer, Boxfresh, was losing business to behemoths like Nike and Adidas.  They invested into a programmatic ad campaign on Facebook to try to re-establish the brand in Germany and the U.K.

Rather than trying to sell products, the campaign focused on generating an emotional response by showcasing the values of the brand. (authenticity, nonconformity, simplicity and value for money.)  The campaign targeted Facebook users based on demographics and interests using several different ads.  Each ad appealing to users at a different stage of the buying cycle.

In the U.K., these ads had a click-through rate that was 233% higher than the Google benchmark.  The ads in Germany had an 800% higher click-through rate.

In addition, they generated 169% higher conversion rates for SEO and PPC.  The average order value grew by 20%.


Read more on why you need programmatic ads.


Excited to see what the power of programmatic can do for your business? Contact The Best Media and visit our display advertising services page to learn more.




Rob Pacinelli

Roberto Pacinelli is the VP of The Best Media and Senior Digital Marketing Strategist with a career in digital marketing spanning over 19 years. Roberto and The Best Media have helped thousands of small, medium and large businesses succeed online across Canada, USA and the world with many business owners recognizing Roberto and his team as their Key to Success in helping their businesses earn millions of dollars as a result. Call Roberto Pacinelli at 416 253 0934 or email him at