Unless they’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, all digital media buyers have now heard of programmatic buying and know some of the benefits that can be seen by using it. Before you dive in and launch your first campaign though, here are some tips that will set you up for success.

digital-marketing-1725340_640.jpg Define KPIs that all parties agree on before launch, because metrics can sometimes conflict with each other. You don’t want to focus on getting the CPA as low as possible, and then hear that the client is concerned because the audience is falling outside the of the intended demographic if the audience on-target % wasn’t a priority in the planning stages. If the client has different priorities, you can set baseline KPIs while optimizing to a different main KPI. For example, you want to drive a lot of traffic to a website, but you want to make sure the traffic is of good quality. You can optimize to a CPC while ensuring that the non-human traffic doesn’t fall below X% and the viewability doesn’t fall below Y%.


  1. Collect and make use of first party data. This can’t be stressed enough! In acquisition campaigns it is very common to see retargeting tactics perform the best. Make sure to tag all elements of a website, so that they can be targeted and/or lookalike models can be built. However, don’t limit yourself to site data. Are you sending out email newsletters? Maybe it would make sense to target people who interact with different elements of the email, which can be tagged. Do you have a CRM? Identify a high value audience, and use a data onboarding partner to build a lookalike audience and target these people. Get creative!
  2. Speaking of creative, look for opportunities to align creative with the audience and/or the environment. For example, if you have two versions of the creative for male vs female, set up two versions of targeting (male vs female) and see if the different genders are responding to one creative more than the other. Another example is if you have an audience of people who already converted. You can negatively target them with the prospecting creative, and then target them with different ads that feature upsell opportunities.
  3. Optimize on a regular basis, but in a structed way. If you’re digging into detailed DSP reporting and looking at variables like time of day, site, browser, device, etc, you may be tempted to make a lot of optimizations at once. Don’t do this. Pull one lever, and wait for some time to make sure performance improves and you can still achieve the needed scale.  Then pull another lever and do the same. By performing too many optimizations at the same time, it can be unclear what worked vs what didn’t work and can also negatively affect scale.
  4. Be a responsible buyer to make sure you’re not feeding the fraud machine. Even if the client isn’t tech savvy or concerned with fraud, it is your responsibility to act with their best interests in mind and proactively take measures to avoid buying fraud. In addition to everything in the linked article above, work with your DSP to make sure you’re only buying inventory on sites which have a clear connection to the exchange in which it is being sold via txt.