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Greetings Readers! In this week’s PPCChat, host Julie F Bacchini was joined by Marc Poirier who sought experts’ views on programmatic advertising and its challenges or frustrations. Marc also answered PPCers questions regarding the best use cases for programmatic for Google advertisers, the difference between traditional PPC and Programmatic advertising, and more

Q1: What does the term “programmatic advertising” mean to you?

A display network where they use some tech to match your ads to content. @stevegibsonppc

To me, in a slightly exaggerated way, it just means advertising outside the PPC world. Programmatic is pretty much everywhere (except on paper, we haven’t solved for that yet!). @marcpoirier

To me, programmatic advertising means display advertising, but at different level than the Google Display Network. It’s more sophisticated & placements are of better quality. Historically hasn’t been super accessible to smaller advertisers, but that’s changing. @NeptuneMoon

The future of marketing. I am actually expecting Google, Meta and other social platforms will be forced to open up auctions to other platforms because of legislation. @360vardi

I’ve never done programmatic advertising, but have always thought of it as basically being a more advanced version of Display. @adclarke10

“Programmatic” is buying through a platform to show on 3rd-party publishers. Using that definition, Google Display is programmatic, but most of Google search wouldn’t be. Facebook Ads generally aren’t programmatic, but FAN is. @ferkungamaboobo

Programmatic is everywhere: besides online display and video, in-game ads, in-app ads and native ads, it’s also huge business on TV (CTV), it’s an emerging method for out of home advertising, and don’t forget audio – radio – podcast advertising. @marcpoirier

I’ve always understood it as Display ads but on a more advanced/complex level. @adwordsgirl

What it means to me? Top of my head: “Same thing as regular PPC but better OR different/unique targeting options because of a mix of data providers and publishers you may not get from other standard platforms. Sometimes premium placements you can’t get elsewhere. @timmhalloran

Anything that doesn’t require a human to work, so most digital channels are programmatic since we set the parameters but machines are doing most of the work. @MichealGumbert

Programmatic means automated. Programmatic advertising is automated ad placement. I like to define it as such: we use a tech to automate ad placements on inventory outside of social. The same way we use Facebook tech to automate placement in Facebook. @iamheleneparker

Programmatic is basically PMax + Audio Ads on different advertising platforms. Some marketers consider it a more advanced form of advertising because of the available inventory, but at the core, it uses the same advertising principles. @1tagupta

When I got started in PPC back in 2012, the definition of programmatic was “real-time buys of impressions” instead of the fixed deals display sites used to do. Since then I believe all advertising is “programmatic” in nature when put in auction with targeting. @alimukadam

Sorry, unpopular opinion, I but I view programmatic as a fancy way of saying: Behavioral sequence triggered display/video for cheap. @JonKagan

Q2: Are you currently managing any programmatic advertising for your clients or brands? If so, what platform(s) are you using?

Only Google display. @stevegibsonppc

@StackAdapt @Galliguez

Using Stack Adapt as our agency preferred platform, but have some legacy on TradeDesk. We found for the most part, programmatic platforms are similar. We liked stackAdapt’s customer service, No min budget req and over a certain amount of budget help on creatives. @360vardi

I don’t really consider Google Display Network (GDN) to be programmatic, but technically it is, so I guess I am doing programmatic! @NeptuneMoon

Oh yes, that’s all we do – and we use many platforms depending on what our clients need – The Trade Desk, Google DV360, and several other more specialized DSPs too. @marcpoirier

Yes! we use a few partners, including our brand’s programmatic product. @JuliaVyse

Yes, I’ve been dabbling in Simpli.fi because of their geo-fencing & addressable audience capabilities. I ran a couple campaigns on Stackadapt earlier in the year. And tried to use a few others in the past with mixed results. @timmhalloran

Nope, always down to test though. @adclarke10

I have in the past. I’ve… sort of decoupled from this recently, pushing more for individual publisher buys if display is the right call. @ferkungamaboobo

As I’m in healthcare – been looking at @LassoMarketing and Swoop too. @Galliguez

I’ve seen quite a few answers with some dope DSP. All excellent choices. It comes down to what and how we want to service our client. I’ve trained teams in most of the dsp mentioned. @iamheleneparker

Currently, no but in the past I have used DV360, StackAdapt, & theTradeDesk. @MichealGumbert

No, and I don’t recall if I ever have. @adwordsgirl

I agree Daniel. Google display network holds a small piece of the pie. There are over 30+ SSPs/ ad exchange in the ecosystem. Most offer enough measurement and transparency which is not always in GDN. @iamheleneparker

I have not used it in what I would actually call programmatic, because I don’t think Google’s Display Network really meets the definition of programmatic. @lchasse

Yes, regrettably yes. GDN (it is programmatic if done right), Simplifi, Tradedesk, etc. @JonKagan

Our team uses Amazon DSP, Mediamath, Pubmatic, AdX, to name a few for different clients. Personally, I prefer GDN @alimukadam

Hey y’all!! DV360 and another internal platform that’s proprietary to us. @JeremyKrantz

Q3: What is your biggest challenge or frustration when it comes to programmatic advertising?

Biggest challenge: either it’s too easy (kiddy gloves), or it’s too difficult (complex UIs, large learning curve). Easy self-serve takes away part of its value bc it categorizes and simplifies when you’d rather have more personalization + insight. @timmhalloran

I’ve worked with bigger clients with budgets available – but the entry point for SMBs might be tough. FB/Google definitely make it easier to enter at a lower budget amount – no day one TradeDesk for them. @Galliguez

I’d say the biggest challenge is the fragmentation of the ecosystem – it’s also our biggest opportunity as an independent programmatic trading desk – complexity creates a barrier to entry that we take away for advertisers and agencies. @marcpoirier

As someone who’s never run programmatic ads, a challenge would be not knowing where to start. I’ve heard about programmatic for years but it seems like a better fit for large businesses, and not as much for SMBs (which is primarily who we work with). @adclarke10

Three big areas for me. Targeting: How do we beat the roughly 45% average match rate? Inventory: How do we manage the cesspool of low-quality inventory? Positioning: What makes one DSP better than another? @ferkungamaboobo

The biggest challenges are 1. Initial Investment 2. Measurement although much more advanced can become fragmented 3. Inventory transparency, mainly due to lack of transparency from some vendors. 4. Fraud/ brand safety risk. These are the most common discussed. @iamheleneparker

I’d agree here. I think Programmatic sometimes make it sound more complex than it actually is (idk if by design or not) and therefore unapproachable. traditionally there was also the minimum budget “barrier” @360vardi

Learning curve for each platform. Big companies decide the platforms they wish to run ads on either native or programmatic. As a media buyer or consultant, you have to keep up with all the platforms and for that, you have to begin at some place. @1tagupta

When the client asks me for a screenshot of their ad live. @JonKagan

For me it would be more how to measure the impact of programmatic. At the end of the day, at scale, we’re still mostly talking about display, CTV, audio etc… prospecting. You still need to have a solid plan of testing and measuring. @360vardi

Similar to paid search, the steady increase in automation as platforms continue trying to tell me they know what I should be doing better than me. @MichealGumbert

I think bootstrapped companies and startups or SMBs try to choose platforms that are popular and can bring easy and fast roas. Testing different platforms for advertising is yet an objection as they don’t know in which direction to move. @1tagupta

We do find some spam traffic coming through programmatic, it’s true for GDN as well. And a belief (that could be wrong) that programmatic cannot be leveraged for performance. Maybe coz it wasn’t supposed to in the first place. @alimukadam

Yes, invalid clicks and irrelevant traffic is one of the biggest issues I face when I run ads on GDN, PMax, or other native or programmatic platform. Curious how do you avoid getting this? @1tagupta

We use a combination of AI (provided by to tier DSPs like TTD, Yahoo DSP, and DV360 for example) AND senior traders (human intelligence) to prevent irrelevant impressions. It’s a never-ending battle. @marcpoirier

Questions From Experts For Marc Poirier

Q1 What do you see as the best use cases for programmatic for Google advertisers? @tonyzara

Another strategy is to augment or optimize GDN reach, which can have a meaningful impact on results, sometimes. Finally and perhaps the most obvious and familiar thing Google advertisers can do of course is retargeting users on a much larger network than just GDN. @marcpoirier

I would add audience and tactics targeting augmentation. Breaking out of the google shell to increase reach and impact. And yes it can be measured and performance can be proven. That’s where additional measurement tech can be added. @iamheleneparker

When you say “additional measurement tech can be added” do you mean that a third party something is needed to fully measure programmatic performance? And if so, what are you using for this? @NeptuneMoon

You can measure programmatic without 3rd Party. You will need to add them once you speak of overall view on performance between multiple channels especially ran outside of the DSP. Think showing ROI/ROAS between social search and PRG. @iamheleneparker

Any recommended 3rd party measurement platforms? Understanding each has it’s gaps and advantages. @KurtHenninger

Ah that’s a great question! I hate to answer by saying this. What are we doing for our clients? What’s the goal why will this measurement vendor help us prove for our client? Then understand what type are available. They are post verification vs pre-bid partners. @iamheleneparker

There are some great ones. Some are specialized by industry others have AI support. Measurement is important because it helps us show performance so how easy is it to read reporting post campaigns? Things like that. @iamheleneparker

Many ways to make programmatic work for Google advertisers, higher value strategies usually revolve around reach and awareness, or driving tonnage. Once you’ve reached a plateau harvesting existing demand, you have to create it and that’s where programmatic shines. @marcpoirier

Q2 What are the biggest differences between traditional PPC and programmatic advertising? @timmhalloran

The amount of audience building and the need to be paying attention to multivariate signals that the audience is sending. Plus, it is more like traditional marketing than digital in that while you have a specific audience in mind you need to go broad to find it. @MichealGumbert

In my view: 1) bottom-of-funnel demand harvesting VS top-of-funnel awareness and demand building 2) diversity of data options, tools, channels 3) increasingly opaque hosted auction vs transparent real-time auction. @marcpoirier

Q3 How to best leverage programmatic in a holistic way to augment existing social, search campaigns? And how to show impact? If GDN is already being used, what is the USP of other platforms that could be a differentiator for insisting on Programmatic? @alimukadam

Q4 How can smaller advertisers onboard and activate data? @tonyzara

(1) There are 2 main paths to onboard and activate data for smaller advertisers. The first is almost always to install and configure a pixel on the web properties to start building audiences of web visitors. @marcpoirier

(2) The second path is to upload or provide a feed of custom audiences (emails / mobile numbers) into a platform such as LiveRamp for example. There are costs associated with the latter so it wouldn’t apply to tiny advertisers, usually. @marcpoirier

I will also add this for uploading customer data and SMBs – please make sure you have permission to use customer or potential customer data in this way. Platforms want us to upload with reckless abandon, but we need to be careful as liability is now on us/advertiser. @NeptuneMoon

I am going to keep beating this drum because it is SO important. Get with your legal advisor to review your terms and/or privacy policies. Consultants & agencies review your contract language to make sure you’re not taking on liability client customer data! @NeptuneMoon

Indeed. Legislation is already in place for multiple Countries and States, and it won’t stop anytime soon. @marcpoirier

Q5 If you have to choose platforms for programmatic, what are the factors you would consider for a specific type of business at a specific location selling a specific product assuming that the specific is “X” here and it can change with different scenarios? @1tagupta

I would add what’s the goal? Look at 1. What type of KPIs are important to client therefore what the DSP need to offer. 2. Inventory transparency GDN lack of visibility on where things are served. You can see that in PRG. 3. Measurement & 5 targeting. @iamheleneparker

Q6 One Q I had was around embedding the Meta pixel or any other ad channel (LI, TW, etc) as a view-tag in CTV campaigns & RT those CTV view audiences via native social. Never done it but want to. Would that work u think? @timmhalloran

We use this tactic a lot, but not with social pixels, all programmatic – we RT CTV audiences on CTV, Online Video, Display, etc. We usually create audiences based on engagement using metrics like % completion. It works really well. If I were you, I’d try it. @marcpoirier

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