December 21, 2018 By Jenny Chesley,

Are you playing in the programmatic display playground yet? The thought of it tends to make some of us feel a little uncomfortable. There are quite a few elements involved and it seems as though most marketers aren’t aware of the boatload of capabilities. It’s time to get savvy, invest wisely, and dive into the world of programmatic. We’ll help you get set up for 2019 programmatic success with some basics.

The U.S. is the biggest programmatic ad market, worth $24 billion in 2016 and accounting for 62% of total global programmatic ad spend. (Source: Zenith Media)

Let’s start with some simplified definitions of the basic programmatic display types:

  1. Search: The OG of programmatic display - using people’s search engine search behavior to target them.
  2. Contextual: The Champion of programmatic display… in its simplest form, contextual targeting relies on a number of online behavioral and affinity oriented cues to get display ads in front of people based on relevant and timely online activity. Have you been shopping for gifts recently? Maybe researching certain types of lawnmowers for a friend… I may want to serve you lawnmower (or other landscape equipment) ads next to an article that includes reviews or comparisons of different lawnmower brands. Contextual is the way to do so.
  3. Retargeting: The Ankle Biter of programmatic display. We’re all pretty familiar with this by now. Nearly all ad platforms have adopted this programmatic tactic.

Now that we’ve covered the basic types of programmatic, you’re still probably wondering where to start. We’ve got a good foundation for you.

Assuming you’ve got your programmatic budget squared away, this is how we’d recommend breaking it down:

  • 30% to contextual targeting focused on sites about the industry or product how-tos, DIY, reviews specific to industry and product/services
  • 30% to search targeting focused on content containing custom keywords, or keywords about the industry (consider cross-checking with SEM program)
  • 30% to data targeting focused on consumers in market, shoppers, brand/competitor brand buyers/followers
  • 10% to retargeting - you should raise this budget as you fill your retargeting pool and spend is available

Layering in your CRM segments and creating some lookalike audiences is a great way to qualify the above audiences!

Now that you’ve got your channel strategy and approach pinned down, you need to make sure you’ve got the right assets! Since this is a display channel, you need catchy visuals, minimal text overlay, and simple messaging that embodies brand feel/tone. This is also a GREAT channel for digestible videos - think 6-15 seconds.

Here are the most popular and most engaging sizes:

  • 728 x 90 – Leaderboard
  • 300 x 250 – Inline Rectangle
  • 336 x 280 – Large Rectangle
  • 120 x 600 – Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 – Wide Skyscraper
  • 300 x 600 – Half-Page Ad
  • 970 x 90 – Large Leaderboard
  • 320 x 50 – Mobile Leaderboard

We’d recommend having at LEAST one of all the above. There are hundreds of ad sizes so get creative with your delivery! Stand out in the crowd, a little :)

Programmatic display is a great channel to become an expert in and we could go on for days about how much we love it. We’re always here to support you as you explore the wonderful world of programmatic display advertising.


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