Imagine Better Series: Mastering programmatic advertising

Passion Digital Passion Digital 10/07/2024 5 minutes

Are you looking to unlock the power of programmatic advertising? As a paid media agency, that helps brands get started and accelerate their marketing strategy, we recently sat down with Demi, a Paid Media Account Manager at Passion Digital, for our latest episode in the Imagine Better video series.

In this video, Demi dives into actionable recommendations for both launching and optimising programmatic advertising campaigns. Whether you’re new to the game or looking to take your existing campaigns to the next level, this episode is packed with valuable insights.

Here, we’ll highlight the key takeaways from the interview, but you can find the full conversation at the end of this blog post.

What is programmatic advertising and where does it fit into a full funnel marketing strategy?

Programmatic advertising (sometimes known as display advertising) involves placing high-impact personalised ad formats on highly relevant websites to your sales prospects.

There are many programmatic platforms on hand to help automate this process. At Passion Digital, we work closely with a provider called StackAdapt. StackAdapt has the capabilities to find the best places to show your ads, negotiate the price in real time and streamline all your performance data into one, single hub.

In terms of when and why a brand should consider involving programmatic ads as part of their marketing strategy, it really depends on the industry and goals of the overarching campaign. With that said, here are some common examples of when programmatic could be a useful addition:

  1. Programmatic can be a good option if you’re looking to reach a specific audience, as it’s a great opportunity to target specific demographics, interests, online behaviours and so on, which can make it a powerful tool if you know who your ideal client is.
  2. It’s a good channel to complement some of your more traditional forms of paid media such as paid search and/or paid social media. For example, it’s quite an easy way to escalate your existing activity and scale your campaigns quite quickly, whilst still optimising towards performance.
  3. If you’re comfortable or used to using data and analytics to inform marketing decisions, then programmatic can also be a good fit as it relies quite heavily on data for ad targeting.

Where should brands start when ready to incorporate programmatic into their paid media strategy?

If you’re ready to get started, the first thing to do would be to set out what your goals and objectives are. Is the core focus brand awareness? Or is it lead generation? Or something else even? In addition, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of who you’re trying to reach with your ads.

Top tip: the more specific you can be with the demographics and interests, the better your overall performance will be.

The next step – which is equally as important as the first – is to secure a Demand Side Platform (DSP). A DSP allows you to buy ad inventory programmatically. We tend to use and recommend StackAdapt as it’s a very reliable platform that is also user-friendly.

One thing to note is that no matter which platform you choose, managing programmatic campaigns can be very complex and time-consuming. We’d recommend getting in touch with a specialist agency who can help make the process a lot more straightforward.

So, once your groundwork is done and you’re ready to get going, the next key step is to get all of your creative together and start building out the campaigns. From a creative perspective, one great advantage of programmatic advertising is that you can be very flexible with the type of ad formats you can use. For example, your mix can contain static images, videos, GIFS, interactive formats (i.e. ads that change when you hover over them) and more, so it’s a great opportunity to get creative here.

Source: StackAdapt

Top tip: this is definitely not a set and forget type of platform, so it’s essential to keep monitoring your campaigns, keep a close eye on the important metrics (impressions, conversions, clicks, CPA etc.) and use this data collectively to determine the strongest performing assets.

How is programmatic utilised in different verticals’ marketing funnels?

Programmatic ads can be adapted to fit the specific needs and target audiences of many verticals. Some key examples would include:

  1.  E-commerce: You can use this channel to create different audience lists that target consumers who are actively in-market. Or you can retarget users who have been on site but not purchased. Taking this one step further, you can even use dynamic ds to showcase product recommendations based on their browsing behaviour.
  2. Travel: Another popular audience and similar to the above, there’s lots of opportunity here to be really smart and segment activity by destinations. For example, targeting users researching specific locations or looking at specific blogs. There’s even the opportunity to promote some last-minute holiday deals!
  3. Automotive: At Passion, we work closely with an automotive client and actively use programmatic to showcase tactical offers. This includes targeting browsing audiences as well as retargeting users on the website who haven’t converted. We then carefully monitor our placements to ensure that we’re displaying ads on relevant websites where our target audience would be looking on.

What are some considerations brands should be aware of before embarking on programmatic?

One of the most important things to consider is around data quality and technical ability. In order to successfully optimise your campaigns, you need to have access to high-quality data and then also be able to correctly read/analyse that data within the hub to influence future decisions.

Time is also a big factor to keep in mind. You need to ensure that you have enough time available to get set up and regularly check in on performance for general ongoing monitoring.

Another factor would be cost. It’s fair to say that you need a fairly big budget in order to run activity. Also, be sure to factor in any additional costs such as platform fees.

Finally, whilst choosing your DSP do a lot of research and stick to a reputable platform. In the past, this type of activity has been susceptible to fraudulent activity such as click fraud, so just ensure that you trust whoever you choose to partner with.

Where do you see programmatic advertising heading in the future?

The digital landscape we live in is constantly evolving and things change so quickly. There definitely seem to be a few key trends shaping up this year… Firstly, the deprecation of third-party cookies is on the horizon (if not here already!) so there’s likely to be a change in audience targeting and new measurement capabilities will need to be tested and integrated into marketing strategies.

Source: StackAdapt

AI is also going to have a big impact on programmatic advertising by enhancing ad creatives. Advertisers are already able to use AI to edit a creative’s messaging, the tone of the ads, the ability to sharpen up on brand consistency cross channel and so much more.

This results in advertisers having a lot more time to focus on other areas of the campaign rather than creating ads from scratch and then having to reform them to suit various, different dimensions and so on.

Dive deeper: Programmatic advertising interview with Demi Newlands

Interested to hear more? Watch the full conversation in our Imagine Better series video below. In the interview, we bring the theory to life through practical examples and expert advice. Click the link below to watch the full interview and discover the power of programmatic!

Imagine Better: Mastering programmatic advertising (

By integrating programmatic advertising into your paid media mix alongside search and social, you can create a seamless user journey that builds brand awareness, generates leads and drives conversions.

Our approach to display advertising is grounded in strategic insights, creative excellence and relentless optimisation to ensure maximum impact.  Want to learn more or get started with your programmatic strategy? We’re here to help! Get in touch with us today to discuss your goals and develop your programmatic advertising strategy.