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How To Leverage Programmatic to Expand Your Digital Marketing Reach


Paid Media / April 21, 2020

About the author: StackAdapt is a self-serve programmatic advertising platform used by North America’s most exceptional digital marketers. This state-of-the-art platform is where some of the most progressive work in machine learning meets cutting-edge user experience. Ad buyers plan, execute, and manage data-driven digital advertising campaigns across all devices, inventory and publisher partners.

Digital advertising encompasses an array of marketing opportunities associated with targeting relevant users online. Although there are various channels an advertiser can leverage to reach their target audience, many are restricting their efforts to search and social. This is either due to the familiarity with those channels, the fear of venturing into the vast space of programmatic, or simply due to the lack of knowledge on what is available beyond Google and the Walled Gardens.

Search and social have their own benefits, especially as you are able to capture users in places where they are most: searching on Google and surfing social media. These types of activities only capture a fraction of the time users are on the internet. They are also reading blogs, catching up on the news, watching live entertainment and surfing in general on various websites. So how do you capture your users in these scenarios? Let’s take a step back to understand why you would want to find these users elsewhere.

When users are found on search and social channels, they generally have a specific purpose in mind. When searching on Google, users are looking for something specific, and are not always open to hearing about indirect topics—even if relevant. If they are searching for a specific car model, they want to read about that model, not necessarily a competitor. Likewise, when they are on social media, they are likely looking for updates from their connections or finding different ways to connect with their following. In some cases, they can be completely blind to any advertising as they are not in the mindset to receive these types of messages.

Enter Programmatic Advertising

To increase your propensity for digital success, do not restrict your marketing initiatives to just search and social. Expanding your media mix into the channels of programmatic, including native, video, display, and Connected TV (CTV), will allow you to gain better reach, offer a holistic approach and cohesive story to your target audience and their consumer journey. Each channel has it’s unique benefits, but you will realize the best combination of effects when used together.

Native Advertising

Native is ideal for educating users and amplifying your content that goes beyond organic channels. It allows you to bring light to new products and broadcast relevant information about the product or brand you are promoting. 


Likewise, video allows you to position brands or products in an entertaining manner to tell complex or emotional stories through the visuals. 


Display is like the workhorse, in that it helps to lift the performance of the other channels. It is the perfect format to integrate when you are trying to build awareness and product recognition, as it has an immense amount of reach and is highly scalable. 

Connected TV

Connected TV (CTV) is the newest channel to have entered the space and much like video it allows you to reach your viewers with video ads. Unlike traditional video ads, CTV ad placements are available on streaming and over-the-top (OTT) channels. The videos are highly viewable and non-skippable, while also reaching the viewers in the comfort of their living room, cultivating a viewing experience similar to that of linear TV.

Mix Programmatic Channels

Let’s consider a specific scenario. If you are advertising a new CPG product, you need to set yourself apart from what can be a crowded and noisy space. 

  1. You can capture attention and introduce a brand story through video ads, either on desktop, mobile or CTV. 
  2. Then, running a native campaign will work to amplify your content, and drive users to an informative page on the product. 
  3. Now that the user has been exposed to the product and has learned about it in-depth, you can retarget using display to reinforce the brand messaging and increase brand recognition. 

Strategically marrying each of these channels together will ensure the best exposure for the campaign overall. 

Complementing Search and Social

Now that you have an idea of how programmatic can benefit your campaign, we will explore how to integrate it into your media mix to complement search and social

marketing funnel

When combining your programmatic tactics with these channels, it’s important to consider how they can play to their strengths. Social media has a lot of inherent audience data, making it a good channel to add to the top of the funnel. Search is usually where users go after they have heard of a product and are looking to learn more, making it an ideal channel for the bottom of the funnel. Consider adding social to the start of your campaign run, along with video, as part of the awareness for your product or service. Then include your native ads to educate, inform and drive users to want to learn more. That is where they will start their searches. Using the audience pool that you gather from your search and programmatic campaigns, retarget your visitors with display ads. Using multiple advertising channels will increase your chances of reaching your audience and maximize your advertising budget. 

Where do we go from here?

You can get started with programmatic quickly and you can leverage many of the assets and targeting you already have. First, take inventory of all creatives from your social initiatives. These ads can be directly translated into native assets. Start with what you have, and test different headlines, body copy and calls to action as needed. You can even leverage the creatives from the social ads to build your display creatives. Add the overlay of text and resize the images accordingly. Any audience targeting you had in place in social is easily translatable in programmatic, as most demand-side platforms (DSPs) will have diverse targeting options.

Once you have all your creative assets and targeting ideals in mind, map out what the customer journey will look like. If the person is exposed to your brand, product or service in social, be prepared to retarget and reinforce brand recall through your programmatic channels. Finally, keep in mind that once the user is exposed to your messaging, they will likely conduct a search to become more informed. Have your search retargeting ready to capture these interested users.

Your tech partner is an important resource to leverage as you work to incorporate each of these tactics into your digital strategy. Having access to a support team and a DSP that offers all programmatic channels, with knowledge in various verticals is key. You should feel confident in their abilities to answer any questions that may arise and help to come up with innovative techniques to drive your strategy forward. 

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