4 Things You Deserve To Know About Your Programmatic Marketing

Imagine this scenario: your programmatic marketing campaign was a big success; you hit your goals and now your client wants to know why. Or, maybe your campaign failed — in which case, your client is demanding an even more elaborate explanation.

Know It AllIn either case, you need to know the behind-the-scenes details of your campaign targeting so you can answer your client’s questions and use the information in your next campaign. You especially need to know more about the people that converted. What were their behaviors, their search keywords, the sites they visited? Why exactly were they the right people to target?

If you’re using pre-packaged data segments, you might not know any of this — and that’s a problem. You shouldn’t need a Magic 8-Ball to answer your client’s questions or design your next campaign strategy. Understanding audience targeting and media optimization is your job, right?

But, because pre-packaged data segments obscure the data detail, they don’t offer that essential insight into converters’ pre-impression behavior. Most programmatic marketing platforms provide only a roll-up report of impressions, click-throughs and conversions for a particular audience segment.

Think about the first time you saw a keyword search marketing report — suddenly, you knew exactly where your money was working for you and where it wasn’t. As a result, you had the power to maximize your budget. You stopped spending your marketing dollars in areas where you couldn’t prove value and you started spending more where you could.

Programmatic marketers need this same visibility when it comes to display. Not only can it optimize high-performing elements, this kind of transparency is a must for guarding campaign integrity. Below are four “must knows” you need from your programmatic marketing platform — and why you probably don’t know them already.

1. You Should Know Who You’re Targeting

Pre-packaged audience segments are like Roach Motels — data checks in, but it doesn’t check out. It stays hidden. And that’s bad news, because data is only as valuable as your visibility into it. Once it’s put into a segment, you can no longer see the activities or behavior that put users in that segment in the first place.

Look at it this way: a “Pizza Intender” may have searched for pizza recipes, pizza delivery or the history of pizza, but you’ll never know which one. And if you actually get a conversion, you can’t learn any further specifics about that converter to help you design further outreach.

So, how do you find out just who you’re targeting? Unstructured data. That way, you don’t buy your audience — you build it and optimize it on the fly using individual data elements. As a result, you always know exactly who you’re dealing with.

2. You Should Know Precisely What It Costs

There’s a reason marketers invest in keyword search advertising: visibility and efficiency. Keywords can be managed in groups or individually, letting you pay only what you need for a conversion. In the era of Big Data, why should display advertising be any different?

Pre-packaged audience segments allow only a few bidding options: bid the whole segment up or down, or don’t bid on it at all. But when you work with unstructured data, the sky is the limit.

You can bid an individual data element up or down, combine individual data elements into precision combinations, suppress individual data elements or data combinations, or overlay recency parameters against an individual data element. This level of control allows you to wring out every bit of inefficient spend from your budget and allocate your dollars to the campaign elements that are making the register ring.

In addition to bidding clarity, your programmatic platform vendor should be completely transparent when it comes to costs: your costs, their costs, the media costs and the data costs. Only then will you be able to manage both your business and your client’s budget.

3. You Should Know That Your Results Are Real

Click fraud is a beat down. Just when you think your campaign is rocking along, it starts looking a little too good to be true. Bots and malware mean that any programmatic marketing platform must stay constantly vigilant against fraudulent activity.

Unfortunately, this is another area where hidden data can hide the truth. If you can’t see the context of your ad — the domain, the content surrounding it or the keywords that led there — you’re going to have a hard time telling the difference between numbers reflecting genuine success and those indicating fraud.

Here’s where unstructured data empowers you to fight the good fight on an individual data element level. Is a random domain pulling too much traffic? Blacklist it. Is a funky keyword combination delivering too much traffic? Remove it. You don’t have to dump the whole segment just because you see something fishy. Instead, you can surgically remove those elements to protect your campaign integrity and safeguard your media investments.

4. You Should Know Why It Works

As we said, any first-generation DSP using pre-packaged audience segments isn’t going to deliver in-depth insight. Unstructured data, on the other hand, provides all kinds of detailed knowledge on customer behavior.

For instance, you might find out that people looking for cold medicines are often up at night because they can’t sleep. Or that the conversion rate on an ad retargeted on a keyword combination like “plumber + ZIP code” decreases sharply within 30 minutes of the search. These are the kind of valuable insights available in unstructured data reports — and they can drive sales, maximize campaign performance and make the most of your media spend.


The key takeaway here is that visibility and control are must haves for your programmatic initiatives — and unstructured data is the reason to believe.

Ultimately, unstructured data can do anything programmatic marketing platforms do and a few things they can’t — like transactional CRM targeting, keyword contextual targeting and instant recency overlays. You’ll gain the strategic insight you need to optimize campaign performance and make the best use of your client budget. Best of all, you’ll have the answers to your clients’ questions — and look like the smartest person in the room.

(Image courtesy of simpli.fy, used with permission.)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column | Display Advertising: Programmatic Media Buying


About The Author: is the VP, Marketing at Simpli.fi, a programmatic marketing platform that leverages unstructured data. A former strategic marketing consultant, client-side marketing executive and agency strategist, Amber is an expert in trust-based marketing–creating lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships between brands and customers.

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  • Richard

    Too many marketing buzz words?I need to invest in a marketing word dictionary.


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