The Role of Programmatic Advertising & Paid Media Along The Customer Journey

There are many steps a customer takes when shopping for a product or service or even building a relationship with a brand. Many different touchpoints across the journey help to nurture that relationship, build trust and provide the customer with the answers needed to make a sound decision.

Understanding the stages of the customer journey and where paid media fits in is essential to any successful marketing, brand awareness or competitive positioning strategy. Seeing how various touchpoints impact the path to purchase provides brands with valuable insights to perfect and refine efforts

Paid media – specifically display advertising and programmatic – have been around for some time now. These aren’t new tactics when it comes to designing an effective digital strategy. To provide some context, here’s a little history on the start of display advertising and how programmatic came to be.

What is new and what has driven more brands to allocate greater spend to programmatic is the constant advancement of the technology, the proliferation of data sources and the somewhat scary precision when it comes to targeting specific customers at the right stage of their customer journey.

When programmatic first came around, most brands focused on low-hanging fruit through basic retargeting. But now brands can apply data and insights to educate, position and drive action in very targeted and creative ways throughout the various stages on the customer’s path-to-purchase journey.

At a recent Rhythm Amplification event, we explored how programmatic and paid media play an integral part in the customer journey. Here we get some answers to questions surrounding programmatic advertising from Brian Lahey, Client Solutions Manager at Genius Monkey – one of our preferred programmatic partners.

 Brian Lahey, Client Solutions Manager, Genius Monkey

Q: In two sentences, what is programmatic advertising?
A: Think of programmatic advertising as “program-aided” digital advertising. It’s the use of technology and data to automate the acquisition of digital media.

Q: Why should brands consider programmatic advertising?
A: Programmatic provides unparalleled performance compared to other display advertising solutions. The levels of targeting, cost efficiencies, measurability, and effectiveness are unmatched by any other form of display.

Q: Consumers are flooded with messages and advertising which has caused many to ignore display ads or even install ad blockers. How can brands respond to this? How can brands justify the spend when their ads may not be seen?
A: As consumers, we must realize that the alternative to receiving digital advertisements would be to pay for the websites we visit (a concept the vast majority of people will reject). As a brand, you need to stop paying for ad impressions and adopt platforms that allow you to pay for users’ engagement. You must also utilize different formats of ads beyond your standard banner and skyscraper ad sizes. The increased adoption of native, social, video and various sizes of display ads (combined in the right mix) help overcome this issue.
Additionally, brands will be rewarded for showing relevant messaging to their target audience and consumers will appreciate advertisements that resonate with them, introduce them to alternatives, save them money, and improve their lives.

Q: Understanding the time it takes for a customer to make a purchase (sales cycle) is an important factor when determining your paid media strategy at each stage of the customer journey. How do you suggest brands approach their budget and strategy in relation to their sales cycle?
A: It is critical to take into account both the sales cycle and the frequency with which customers purchase your type of offering when strategizing the commitment to programmatic (both the budget and length).

Q: How much should brands allocate to programmatic?
A: Brands should be investing a minimum of 50% of their overall display budget to programmatic and here’s why…daily media consumption consists mainly of digital (48%), TV (34%), radio (12%). As TV and radio continue to become more readily available through programmatic, brands should be confidently investing 1/2 of their budget, if not more, into programmatic. Think of it this way – what percent of your time are you spending with an internet-connected device (mobile, tablet, desktop, smart TV) compared to watching traditional TV or listening to traditional radio?

Q: How do you report on the path to purchase and/or ROI tied to programmatic?
A: Genius Monkey includes an impression pixel in every brand ad we serve. This pixel allows us to report on conversions attributed to campaigns back to the impression rather than just the click. We also provide a Path to Conversion report that shows all of the interactions a user has with ads as well as the actions taken on a brand’s website leading to the desired conversion.

Q: What tips do you have when it comes to creative and messaging for programmatic ads?
A: Genius Monkey strongly recommends that brands utilize multiple sets of creative (when possible) to continuously develop better creative and messaging. Importantly, Genius Monkey’s platform is able to show Conversions by Creative rather than simply measuring the effectiveness of creative based on Click-Through Rates.

Q: What role does programmatic play in an integrated marketing strategy? Do you suggest other mediums of paid advertising to support programmatic? Explain.
A: Programmatic advertising is the pinnacle of paid advertising. Brands need an integrated strategy including a solid website, strong SEO and content strategy to support rankings, efficient paid search strategy, engaging social presence, dedicated email marketing, etc.  in order to maximize the return of programmatic.

Tune in to the video below for more on how programmatic works to nurture the customer relationship, build trust and ultimately drive the customer to take action.

Featured article photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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