What are Programmatic Ads?

Programmatic ads refers to a platform that automatically buys & optimise online campaigns, rather than purchasing directly from publishers. Programmatic advertising may not be a familiar concept to most people and is still a new very methodology for display advertising. A good way to understand programmatic ads is to liken it to a lucrative commodity traded on the stock exchange. You can automatically place bids to buy advertising space and sell advertising space when the price is right. With programmatic advertising, you can automate the buying process so that when the circumstances meet the threshold requirements set in the system, you can immediately acquire the advertising space and display the ad to the right audience. This type of advertising relies on the dynamic fluidity of the digital advertising market, and enables ads to be placed online within a few milliseconds based on the user’s engagement. The ads, which are tailored to suit the exact requirements of the organisation, are ready to be deployed upon a successful bid.

The programmatic advertising market requires digital marketing specialists to use technology that facilitates the real-time bidding system. The process is channel neutral so depending on the scope of the system, you can bid for advertising space on a range of marketing channels like search engines, social media channels and other platforms that offer advertising. The benefit of programmatic advertising is that you reap the benefits of all channels, as well as accessing lucrative advertising space when you need it most without the manual fuss. This is a great way for organisations to accelerate their growth through targeted advertising across a wide range of media in an instantaneous manner.

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What are the key questions to consider when building a Programmatic Ads Strategy?


Are we using context, keyword, location targeting?

Are we using retargeting in addition to our targeting type(s)?

Which targeting type best suits our goals and objectives?


What’s our budget allocation for our programmatic campaign?

What sort of bidding strategies are we running (e.g Real Time?)

What’s our expected CPM for the industry?


Are our competitors using programmatic ads?

Am I planning on self-serving or using an agency to manage this?

What’s the CPM difference between programmatic & Google?


Which ad exchange am I using to purchase inventory?

Are we also targeting app inventory?


Are our image ads compelling & concise to entice users to click?

Does our ads have a key message that users can easily understand?


How are we measuring success for Programmatic ads?

Are we aligning our results with business performance?

Why use the Programmatic Ads?

Is programmatic ads the future of display ads?

This technique to acquire advertising space has been around for a while. For digital marketing strategists, programmatic advertising helps zero in on lucrative advertising space. The process avoids manual bidding which is time consuming and subject to error. The opportunity now presents the ability to engage in an automated process that uses machine learning to help find you the best advertising space at the right price. At Sharp Instincts, we understand programmatic display advertising and know how to work the systems for the benefit of our clients. 

We offer a transparent fee structure and understand some digital marketing agencies charge exorbitant fees for the real-time bidding privileges. We understand that businesses want to take advantage of the best advertising spaces possible, so we make this feature available to our clients at competitive rates. Most of the costs you will incur is for us to build the system and implement integration to facilitate the real-time bidding process. Once set up, ongoing maintenance costs will be required. However, the ROI far exceeds the costs incurred. Our client are often extremely surprised and delighted with the outcome.

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How does programmatic advertising work?

Without boring you with the details, and acknowledging the process behind the scenes is complicated, here it goes! All within a few milliseconds, you can deliver extremely targeted advertising to users who visit a site which has integrated advertising space based on their interests, behaviours and other factors. You can time the display of the ads and set your preferences so that you are completely in control of what ads are displayed when and to whom.

Programmatic Advertising Platforms 

Let’s look at an example to explain it further. A user is surfing the web and based on their browser history, has recently been looking at new pairs of shoes. With current website browser functionality and collection of data and cookies, the ads that display on the next web page that the user views (provided the page has integrated ads capability) will automatically show the user the most relevant ad out of those available. The factors determining which ad to show consists of customer interests, behaviours, bid price willing to be paid and relevancy of the ad. All of these decisions are made by AI which will showcase the optimal ad for that user before a user can blink to focus on the page that has loaded. That entire process happens in the backend instantaneously and if you are the winning bid (based on the variables you have set in the demand side platform), your ad will be displayed.

The conversion rate for programmatic advertising is extremely high because the advertising is targeted and is updated in real-time based on user interactions with relevant websites. We help you achieve higher click-through-rates by analysing user interaction with sites and building a programmatic advertising system that will target the right people. By putting your ad in front of more of your ideal target audience, the likelihood for them to visit your website for a purchase or enquiry increases dramatically.

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Are there any risks with programmatic advertising?

In addition to the high investment costs, you do need to engage a digital marketing agency to assist you with the process. This activity is not a DIY exercise. If executed incorrectly, the programmatic advertising approach can lead to no positive results as your ads might be incorrect, wrongly targeted and not suit your budget requirements. We recommend you engage an expert to review your strategy, assess your goals and help you evaluate the budget you need to set for programmatic advertising to be effective.

At Sharp Instincts, we help organisations engage in programmatic advertising. We look at the overarching approach to your marketing strategy and help you understand the benefits to be gained from programmatic advertising. We work within your budget to assess the opportunity and develop a process that will achieve the goals you have set. Watch your business grow as we help your business take part in programmatic advertising. For a no obligation and confidential discussion, please call us on 1800 189 787 to arrange a meeting or visit us.

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Programmatic Ads – FAQ’s

Programmatic ads refers to a platform that automatically buys & optimise online campaigns, rather than purchasing directly from publishers.

Programmatic advertising works by automating the buying process so that when the circumstances meet the threshold requirements set in the system, you can immediately acquire the advertising space and display the ad to the right audience.

There are a critical factors in determining a successful programmatic ads campaign including choosing the optimal targeting type, expertise in the chosen platform for managing the ads, display imagery & creation of the ad and ability to optimise for results.

Programmatic Ads have historically been very expensive and unattainable for the majority of business. With the advent of self service platforms the cost and potential ROI has significantly improved meaning it is worthwhile to invest in programmatic prior to the market being flooded with advertisers.

Programmatic Ads should be definitely part of your overall paid ad campaign strategy. The lowering barriers to entry for purchasing inventory mean these additional networks are more accessible than ever. Programmatic ads impressions when compared to Google Display Network (GDN) and other display networks, provides consistently cheaper inventory from a Cost Per Million (CPM) impressions perspective.

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