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 has seen consistent growth, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.
According to eMarketer’s 2018 Programmatic Ad Spending Forecast, in 2020, American advertisers are expected to spend almost $69 billion on programmatic digital display ads.
That means the vast majority (86.3 per cent) of digital display ad dollars in the U.S. will be spent programmatically.
The predominance of programmatic 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.
And because it’s automated, it eliminates human error, improves efficiency and allows algorithms to make data-driven decisions almost instantly.
Here are some campaigns that show the true power of programmatic ads.
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 and determine which content would be most engaging and relevant for several different audiences.
Each audience reflected people who’d likely be interested in one of The Economist’s sections, which include careers, doing good, 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:
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 which device they use 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 per cent 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, serving them personalized video ads that addressed them by their first name and invited them to go back to the avatar 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 per cent increase in engagement.
To coincide with the launch of its luxury SUV, the Q2, Audi created a programmatic ad campaign using data from its 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, and for those who completed a configuration, their customized vehicle was featured in the ad.
This campaign yielded an average conversion rate that was four times higher than what Audi had experienced with traditional advertising methods.
Read our blog if you want to learn more about the benefits of programmatic ads.
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’d bought an AirAsia ticket before the crash, those who’d purchased a ticket after the crash, and those who were considered regular customers of the airline.
Each group of users was served a unique ad.
Those who’d bought tickets prior to the crash were shown an ad for routes they’d flown before, those who’d purchased tickets after the incident were served an ad containing information on routes they’d previously searched for, and regular customers were served a video ad for AirAsia.
The Facebook campaign generated a 30x return on investment and 20 per cent of viewers watched the video in its entirety.
British shoe manufacturer, Boxfresh, was losing business to behemoths like Nike and adidas, so it decided to invest in 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, such as authenticity, nonconformity, simplicity and value for money.
The campaign targeted Facebook users based on demographics and interests using several different ads, with each one appealing to users at a different stage of the buying cycle.
In the U.K., these ads had a clickthrough rate that was 233 per cent higher than the Google benchmark, and ads in Germany had an 800 per cent higher clickthrough rate.
They also generated 169 per cent higher conversion rates for SEO and PPC, and average order value grew by 20 per cent.