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Programmatic methodology and why you should be using it

What is it? How does it work? Why is everyone talking about it? By Richard Webb - Associate Director

Programmatic advertising is a process of automated ad sales. It allows buyers to buy an extremely granular and bespoke audience through an online exchange using RTB (Real Time Bidding). With programmatic, we automate the process of ad inventory/space buying to reach a specific audience. We no longer need to worry about which publisher has which audience; we can target the user, not the site that they are looking at. To do this we use data that we gather from a variety of sources, from third party data that is collected from data providers, to website login data collected by publishers. This is all anonymised data and allows us to target the right user for the right campaign. As we begin automating the process, we can ensure that we are achieving greater efficiency and cost effectiveness.

How does it fit within the existing digital marketing mix?

Programmatic advertising started life as a way to use up any remnant inventory. It has since developed and evolved into a more robust method of advertising to an audience, rather than on a publisher’s website to anyone who should visit. Programmatic should be included as part of a digital strategy to be used alongside the usual methods within digital advertising as an additional tool, some campaigns will lend themselves to the programmatic methodology and some will not. For healthcare, it allows us to complete audience extension and retargeting models, so that we can also supply follow up campaigns based on awareness to a wider variety of titles. If a user has previously engaged with an ad or advertiser’s website, we can then target them outside the usual means with awareness campaigns on any website we would chose to use. Through the use of programmatic we can use a multitude of methods to target a user. These include user demographics, retargeting, behavioural segments and categorical segments.

How can we reach HCPs in a way that is compliant with ABPI?

With our partners we are building a network of HCP related sites that would mean that we have the right audiences. We are then able to ensure that we’re ABPI compliant, by only running across a white-list of websites and targeting the appropriate audience across them, we can reach the appropriate users. We no longer need to push out our ads to specific sites but can see that the sites are ABPI compliant and therefore we can be certain that the users are HCPs. This means that if we wanted to target cardiologists for example, we don’t have to just target through cardiology journals or publications, but we can reach the required users on secondary websites that might be of interest to the cardiologist.

What are the benefits towards my marketing campaign? What can it deliver for me?

The benefits of using programmatic advertising are that there is usually better engagement or interaction with the advertising, as the user is more relevant than the audience that was been targeted before. Programmatic advertising is a way to reduce the time invested in developing insertion orders for all the publishers and makes the media buying process more efficient and fluid. This means that the advertiser gets more return on their investment. With the true real time reporting that happens through programmatic as the bids are in real time, the campaign can be optimised on the go, and as soon as we see good performance we can change the direction of the campaign to suit that result. This works both ways, we can also stop bad performing areas of the campaign so that no investment is wasted.

How can we do programmatic well? What is programmatic best practice?

To do programmatic advertising well, we can keep to a number of different tactics. We would not necessarily just target cheap inventory to get a great reach but no interaction for example. We can use programmatic to change and evolve the campaign as it is progressing. Creative can also be designed towards the specific audiences rather than the publication, this means that the creative will be more likely to achieve engagement. Another best practice is to start with small budgets in multiple areas and with different targeting strategies, we can then monitor performance of these targeting strategies and then move the budget towards the better performing elements of the campaign. Overall the best practice with programmatic is to fine-tune the campaign as it progresses, to achieve the best results possible.

If you want to get in touch with our health and programmatic advertising experts then email Richard Webb, associate director of our health practice here.

18th September 2019

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Four Health

+44 (0)20 3697 4200

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20 St Thomas Street
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SE1 9BF
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