Programmatic Marketing: All you need to you

2020 marketing: Programmatic Remarketing and Prospecting 

Programmatic Marketing sounds jargony. Many of our customers were either confused by Programmatic Advertising or had no idea what Programmatic was before they started working with us.

Programmatic Advertising gives you, the advertiser, the power to deliver personalized, always-on, highly relevant ads to current and prospective customers. Programmatic advertising technology uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to serve ads to users who have visited your website and to target users who are similar to your current customers.

How does Programmatic Marketing work?

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic Advertising refers to ads that are placed by platforms that bid on advertising space in real-time, based on target demographics and prices that advertisers are willing to pay for inventory. These platforms are called “DSP”s which stands for the “Demand Side Platform.” These programmatic marketing systems are the newest and most efficient way to give advertisers access to multiple ad exchanges and ad networks through one interface.

The History and Evolution of Digital Advertising to Programmatic Marketing

10+ years ago, advertisers would contact publishers directly to buy ad space on their websites. For instance, an advertiser would call the NY Times and purchase ad space directly through the NY Times. Their ads would run on, which was a shotgun approach to advertising. The advertiser had to buy a boatload of impressions on their website, hoping that some of the people who saw the ads were interested in their offering.

Fast forward to now, and we can buy ads on thousands of websites, focusing on reaching specific demographics rather than targeting particular sites. This way we are targeting demographics, not websites, by running ads wherever your customers are online. This advertising strategy is far more impactful than buying ads on a single website hoping to reach interested prospects through a numbers game. 

What is a DSP in marketing? Demand Side Platform

DSPs are what made this a reality. DSP stands for the Demand Side Platform. A DSP uses technology to analyze millions of data points in seconds! Then it uses that data to bid on ad space that aligns best with your goals in real-time, immediately serving ads to people more likely to be interested in your marketing at significantly lower costs.

What does this mean to a marketer? It means that you place a pixel on your website, and that pixel fires immediately upon a person landing on your site. When that person leaves your website without converting (making a purchase, filling out a contact form, etc.), the DSP starts instantly serving that person ads on the websites they visit later. This allows marketers to stay in touch with lost prospects and gives them access to advertising space on big-name sites that would be cost-prohibitive to buy directly. 

programmatic advertising
Here is our very own ad on This ad was so inexpensive! But look how amazing the placement is on a well-known brand like CNN. This is the power of Retargeting.

Programmatic Marketing is a significant advance for online advertising buyers

Programmatic Advertising provides buyers access to ad inventory instantaneously from millions of publishers. Programmatic has nearly replaced the old way of buying ads where a media buyer would buy ad space directly from a Publisher. This change in advertising, to a programmatic model, reduces advertising costs and delivers better quality impressions to more qualified prospects.

Remarketing and Prospecting through Programmatic Marketing

Remarketing (sometimes referred to as Retargeting) is what we outlined above, serving ads to customers who have already visited your website. A pixel on your website fires and the DSP begins tracking the visitor and then serves them ads based on the way they interacted with your website. Remarketing keeps your brand top of mind and delivers a compelling Call to Action that allows you to close more sales and increase your advertising ROI.

Prospecting is a different and separate advertising tactic that utilizes that same pixel data gathered from Remarketing efforts. However, Prospecting acquires new audiences based on behavioral data collected from Remarketing. Prospecting serves ads to people who are similar to your current web visitors. Using Artificial Intelligence and Data, we can serve ads to Look-alike prospects and specifically targeted users based on a plethora of characteristics. 

Want to go a step further? Layer in Big Data to your Programmatic Prospecting ad campaigns to really deliver results!


What is a Data Management Platform (DMP)? How can I use Big Data to improve my advertising campaign performance?

DMPs are software systems and services that gather a variety of data related to digital marketing activities. DMPs first analyze data, then target, verify and use data for marketing improvement processes. DMPs are the data aggregators that allow Programmatic advertising to target users by behavior and demographics. DMPs are responsible for the “creepy factor” that you get when ads resonate so well in your feed or in your browser.

Ever feel like your being stalked online by brands that are eerily well-tailored to you? DMPs use income, credit data, profession, interests, demographics, psychographics, and personal preferences and beliefs to serve ads to specific people. You can go ahead and thank DMPs and the invention of Programmatic Advertising for those perfectly relevant ads on your screen. Did we mention there are even health data segments available for Prospecting? We can serve ads to people who have specific health conditions and who take targeted prescriptions. Invasion of privacy? Or incredibly valuable advertising tactic? You can decide. But this is what all the big brands are doing to you and this is why the ads resonate so well these days. Think your phone doesn’t listen to you? Read our blog on your phone listening to you if you want to be truly mindblown, or furious.

Programmatic Marketing Example

What does this mean in the real world?

Say you are a Resort Marketer, Sarah visits your website and books a Stay and Play Package with a Spa Credit. 

picture of resort marketing agency

Programmatic Prospecting technology can find Look-alike users who behave similarly online to Sarah and serve them ads for your resort to see if they’re interested in also booking a vacation package. This is called Prospecting. The Look-alike served the ad will have similar income, taste, and demographics to Sarah.

Pretend Sarah didn’t book the Stay and Play Package, she just added it to her cart. Then we’d use Retargeting to serve her ads on the websites she visits over the next several days reminding her that your resort would love to have her visit. Remarketing is an extremely advertising tactic that delivers significant ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).

If the Resort Marketer wanted to take this a step further, we could layer in 3rd party data through a DMP and deliver ads to users who are similar to Sarah AND to people who have a specific income level AND an interest in skiing at the mountain near your resort.

These Programmatic Advertising tactics are all done through AI-assisted analysis of millions of data points that determine which users are more likely to be interested in your ads and offerings. These advertising strategies make it so that you get a more targeted ad campaign delivering higher ROI at a significantly lower cost than you could buy ads directly from a content publisher.

Marketing Geofence

A Geofence also known as “Geofencing” is a location-based digital marketing tool that allows us to send messages to smartphone users who have been in or currently in a defined geographic area. Geofencing can be done in real-time or with historical data.

Why is this awesome? Well, if you serve a user an ad for the above resort when a guest is staying at the resort, you may be able to upsell them into a larger Spa Package. But even cooler than that, in our opinion, is the use of historical data. Historical data gathered from Geofencing can help sellers of high ticket items sell their products. For instance, a resort community that also sells homes may define a Geofence around the resort so they can later serve ads to guests who have stayed at the resort hotel. This gives them the ability to serve those guests ads for vacation homes at the resort! The guests are usually more likely to consider buying if they’ve stayed at the resort in the past, so this Geofencing marketing tactic delivers a significantly higher ROI than standard banner ads.

Another example is using Geofencing to beat your competition. Say your a home developer and you decide to have us Geofence the exact footprint of your competition’s development. We can serve an ad to any user who has visited that competing housing development within the past 12 months! Can you imagine the possibilities?! This works well for car dealerships and many other businesses, too.

Cornell University’s Digital Marketing Program

Our goal is to simplify sophisticated advertising methods and make them understandable and digestible.

Did you know that Robin recently completed a series of Cornell University Digital Marketing Courses that allowed us to connect with marketers from across the country? Many of her classmates were from Fortune 500 companies and Media Buyers from the biggest ad agencies in the U.S. Do you know what she learned? Even the best and the brightest marketers need help staying up to date on the latest digital marketing tactics. It’s a lot to keep up with, and that’s why we invest so heavily in continued education. Digital and Traditional advertising have come a long way!

We’re about to start B School in March 2020! B School is a Digital Marketing Course that thousands of wildly successful marketers have completed led by Marie Forleo.

picture of seattle media buyer robin rucinsky 2020 Digital Advertising Trends
Robin Rucinsky, President and Media Director

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Want to read someone else’s definition of Programmatic Display Advertising? Check out this article from Outbrain

Prefer a quick video explanation of Programmatic Marketing, check out this video below.