Knowing your audience at large isn’t enough. You must segment in detail.

Programmatic is all about selling to specific audience segments. Knowing your audience is therefore key to success.

It starts with identifying your audience’s most urgent concerns. Decoding your audience’s main problems will have a profound impact on not just your marketing and messaging, but also on the way you conduct your business overall.

1.      Knowing who your audience at large isn’t enough. You must segment in detail.

Audience segments will allow you to clearly define your targeting parameters. Demographics like age, gender and location are great, but they may not be granular enough. For example, say you’re a travel company and you know you have a strong millennial audience. But segment deeper: pockets of your millennial audience may prefer to travel at very specific times of the year and to certain places only. Some may prefer quiet, luxurious retreats, while others prefer extreme outdoor adventures.

Properly segmenting your audiences will allow you to target with more precision and relevancy which are keys to conversion.

2.     Understand the Customer Journey

Knowing your audience helps you learn why your audience buys. But getting to know your customer journey helps you determine the how and when they buy.

How do you do this? Make sure that you’re properly tracking your audience’s behaviour and actions as they visit your website. If you work with a DMP, events based data can provide a lot of insight into your audience behaviour.

  • Consider the average time spent between first website visit and first conversion. This tells you how long it takes your audience to decide to buy.
  • What’s your audience’s pathway towards a conversion? This tells you precisely which pieces of content your audience views before they convert which helps highlight good content from bad.
  • Which sales channel results in the highest sales? Knowing your rate of sales per channel helps to identify your best performing channels so you can reallocate your resources to focus on those, or optimize your other channels.

Dissecting all of this will help you optimize your customer’s buying journey and user experience towards more conversion.

3.      Set Clear Goals

As with everything in life, setting goals leads to success. The same goes for programmatic buying, so ensure your goals are clear, measurable, and attainable.

Ask yourself and your team, what goals you want to achieve. Do you want to generate more online sales? Or boost brand awareness? Or perhaps you want to influence offline consumer behaviour?

Keep the following KPIs in mind:

  • CTR (click-through rates)
  • CPA (cost-per-action), CPC (cost-per click) and CPM (cost-per mille)
  • Conversions
  • App installs
  • Viewability
  • Reach and frequency

Programmatic buys enable you to measure your audience’s online buying behaviour at nearly every point of the purchasing funnel. Beyond these tangible results, marketers also want to measure brand impact.

While harder to measure, it’s not impossible to correlate. Look to lift in branded searches, social media engagement growth, and attitudes towards your brand as indicators of brand impact even when you’re executing programmatically.

4.      Invest in Brand Safety with Premium Inventory

For marketers, there are a number of things that are top of mind when you run a campaign. First, your ad spend budget is finite. You need to make sure that what you spend ensures maximum ROI. Second, your brand reputation is at stake every time you run anything digitally.

So how do you make sure your brand stays safe but you get the most bang for your buck? Invest in your own brand safety and go with premium inventory.

But keep this in mind, not all “premium inventory” are equal. Premium inventory is set within the context of high-quality, brand-safe content – on trusted and reputable properties.

Working with vendors that have exclusive relations with publishers can ensure that your ads only land on these properties. However, for added brand safety look for vendors that provide additional anti-ad fraud security measures. Vendors that work with GeoEdge or Integral Ad Science are concerned with putting your brand safety first.

Demand more from your advertising partners and get a better understanding of how their premium inventory is bought and sold. Ask them which other platforms and exchanges do they work with? The answers will tell you the types of security measures your ad partner has in place to prevent ad fraud and ensure your ad dollars aren’t wasted.

5.      Always Employ Data

If you’re running your campaigns without insightful audience data, your ads might as well have never been seen.

The more granular and accurate data you have, the more opportunities you have to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of your campaigns. Data helps determine how well you target, how far reaching your ads are, how many conversions you will achieve, and ultimately, how much revenue you make.

Data can come in the form of 1st party, generally the data you as a marketer collect, 2nd party, non-proprietary data unique data retrieved from a partner, and 3rd party data, aggregated data usually from DMPs that can be built into custom targeting segments.

While each are important on their own, combining your data layers will transform your targeting capabilities and help your campaigns perform better.

6.      Use Relevant Creatives

We’ve talked about the significance of relevant creatives before and we’re going to say it again. If your creatives and messaging aren’t relevant, all your audience segmenting and granular targeting parameters are wasted efforts.

If your campaign messaging isn’t relevant to your target audience, it won’t resonate and therefore won’t result in the actions you aimed to stir from your potential customers. Additionally, if you’re always using the same ad copy for your campaigns, you reduce the power of that ad’s ability to persuade.

Split test your creatives, from copy, to images, to the colour of your CTA buttons to optimize for the best results. Refresh your creatives often so you don’t bore your audience.

Consider using Dynamic Creative Optimization platforms (DCO). DCOs can drive better engagement by swapping out components of an ad dynamically, in real time. DCOs can help increase the efficiency of this process, and helps deliver the most relevant creatives depending on your audience’s pass behaviour and targeting parameters.

7.      Go Mobile – Now

Everyone has gone mobile. That includes your audience. Are you reallocating enough budget to the mobile market? Optimizing for mobile right now may be one of the best things a marketer can do to boost their campaign results.

In 2015, the Pew Research Center estimated that 64% of American adults own a smartphone of some kind. For many, their mobile devices are their primary way of retrieving information.

In the US, programmatic digital display ad spending will reach $22.10 billion this year – an increase of nearly 40% over last year. A big driver of this growth in programmatic spending is mobile and eMarketer predicts that US mobile programmatic ad spend will reach $15.45 billion by the end of the year to represent 69% of all US programmatic digital display ad spend.

The shift towards mobile has been happening for years and marketers must adapt. Realize that the executions that worked on desktop may not work on mobile. Experimentation on the mobile frontier may be what puts you ahead of the competition.

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