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Programmatic advertising is more than a tactic

Optimizing and enhancing programmatic advertising will be a focus for many marketers this year. The benefits of an optimized programmatic advertising strategy are amplified by predictive analytics writes, Kevin Cunningham, Founder, MRP

Customer experience, artificial intelligence and account-based marketing. We’ve all read about these leading trends in marketing for 2018. But another trend expected to grow in 2018 is the optimization and enhancement of programmatic advertising with data and IP address targeting. However, there are many misconceptions of the role programmatic advertising plays in customer acquisition – the biggest being the expectations of a huge direct return and many leads from programmatic advertising alone.


The onus of programmatic is to provide a great overall lift to the response rates and return on the downstream tactics a company is implementing. Programmatic boosts the effectiveness of tactics such as: email, content, direct mail, inside sales or even social media .

Many marketers make the mistake of only measuring click-through rates and direct leads from programmatic advertising, without considering its pipeline and revenue impact in conjunction with other tactics. Because of this, marketers often wonder if programmatic advertising is worth the investment. However, the ROI impact is often substantial when programmatic is measured as a component of the overall tactical mix, making it clear that it’s a critical part of any marketing plan.


While programmatic advertising in general is a beneficial component to overall marketing plans, predictive analytics can truly elevate a programmatic strategy. Tying in predictive analytics and using it as a foundation for programmatic advertising allows companies to better focus the messaging that they’re providing to prospects . Predictive analytics can uncover what exactly prospects are researching and where they are in the buyer journey. This empowers the company to pinpoint the specific messaging that should be used in a programmatic media buy.

On the front end, predictive provides powerful insight for programmatic advertising, especially when partnered with IP address targeting. This creates an opportunity for account-based programmatic advertising. Predictive already tells marketers what keywords prospects are consuming and whether or not they’re ready to buy. With the addition of IP targeting, programmatic advertising strategies become even more personalized with content hand-picked for each individual account. This personalized messaging will then trickle down to all tactics in the marketing mix for that same prospect.

On the back end, predictive analytics allows programmatic to provide support to all other tactics a company is engaging downstream, helping to move the needle in the buyer journey. After the programmatic ads are delivered, companies can tie the results into other tactics in an integrated way. It also helps inform business strategy: what markets to enter and which products to sell in which markets.


The boost that programmatic advertising gives other marketing tactics in an integrated strategy can be dramatic. For example, successful predictive companies can leverage programmatic advertising on a set of accounts for inside sales targeting and see a response rate 30%  higher than that of a set of accounts where programmatic ad placement was not implemented. Further downstream, programmatic ad placement shows a positive impact on the size of the deal and the likelihood that it closes. Programmatic is not just affecting the initial response rate, but continues to do so through the sale.

Predictive-based programmatic can elevate other tactics as well. For instance, when display is served to an account, email communications see a 71% increase in click-through rates. With direct mail, we can target where responses come from. For example, if an employee at one company responded to a direct mail piece, we can then light up that entire location with programmatic advertising and targeted messaging around the specific topic they responded to. There are never-ending synergies and integrations that can be done with programmatic advertising across tactics.


In 2018, focus will be on the attribution of programmatic advertising across tactics and how it can be enhanced and optimized. We’re already seeing progress in the form of automation and machine learning. Machine learning can help us understand where exactly programmatic is providing lift. The next step is to automate that process so that machine learning and artificial intelligence can automatically pinpoint which tactics are seeing lift from programmatic. Then, being able to test different messages in real time and to adapt and adjust tactics and messaging within a program based on the response received. A self-correcting and self-adjusting model is where I see programmatic advertising going in the future.

Tying in predictive analytics and IP targeting on the front end of programmatic advertising and testing the results on the back end through its effect on other account-based tactics is how programmatic ultimately can affect the sale. A lot of marketers think in terms of direct click-through rate, but there is a lot more to the value programmatic can deliver. It should be leveraged in a way to elevate the rest of your marketing tactical mix.

by Kevin Cunningham