Programmatic media: what it is and how to implement this way of buying ads in practice

Programmatic media has revolutionized the advertising market and has been transforming the way companies communicate with their consumers

Until a few years ago, the online media purchase process—display and video—was completely manual and time-consuming.

To advertise on the internet, it was necessary to negotiate separately with each site on which the campaign would be displayed.

And it was to make this process more practical and efficient that programmatic media emerged, an automated way to buy advertising space on the internet.

It may seem like something out of this world, but it was exactly this process that other sectors, such as the financial market, went through. Where before a call was needed for traders to buy or sell shares, today buying and selling is done in real-time by electronic trading through a specific system: the Home Broker.

Therefore, programmatic media is nothing but a new way to buy online ads, just like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, which brought automation, efficiency and intelligence to the process. Its arrival revolutionized the advertising market and has been transforming the way companies communicate with their consumers.

In the last two years, the programmatic media market started to develop a lot in Brazil.

The latest survey of IAB Brazil Acct ilizou first investments in its annual report. According to the publication, the programmatic media moved R$1.9 billion in the market in 2016 — 16.5% of investments in digital ads.

But this is just the beginning: the expectation is that investments in programmatics in Brazil should be above double digits over the next few years.

In more mature countries in this market, such as the United States, it is already expected that in 2017 programmatic media will correspond to 78% of investments in display ads, according to eMarketer.

How programmatic media can help your company’s Digital Marketing strategy

Programmatic media facilitated the online ad purchase process, as with just one operation the campaign is displayed on multiple sites.

In addition, it brought more relevance, since most of the strategies are focused on buying audience — and not channels.

Another big difference is the segmentation, which allows the message to be highly personalized and targeted to each target audience. Companies can also display different creatives for each of the interests or purchase intentions of consumers, for example.

With all this, the return on investment is greater, as the media is much more accurate, reducing the dispersion of funds. And the best part: the different strategies can be tested and optimized during the campaign, increasing the chances of better results.

Programmatic media is suitable for all types of businesses, as it brings benefits to all companies. It is highly recommended to increase recognition and arouse the desire to buy in users, also increasing the flow on the website of people with the advertiser’s consumer profile.

With a well-structured strategy, programmatic media can also help with performance, generating Leads or sales. This is because it impacts consumers who give signals — through navigation, such as cookies and pixels — of interest in buying a certain product or service, which can be working with retargeting in paid media campaigns.

But in practice, how can your company start to include programmatic media in the digital strategy?

To think and plan programmatic media, it is necessary to get rid of some concepts brought by traditional advertisements. For this to happen, Blue World City suggest three steps:

  1. Understand programmatic media strategies;
  2. Plan the campaign;
  3. Choose a partner to manage the campaign.

1. Understand programmatic media strategies

A programmatic media campaign is always operated through a Demand Side Platform (DSP).

In practice, DSP is the software in which it is possible to configure the campaign and access the online media inventory, made available by publishers (site owners) through AdExchanges. So, what happens is a real-time auction: the advertiser who places the highest bid for a given advertising space wins the impression and delivers the media to that user.

Furthermore, another tool is essential for planning programmatic campaigns: the Data Management Platforms (DMP).

With these tools, the advertiser can extract qualitative information about his website’s audience. DMPs map users through partnerships with numerous internet portals. With this, they are able to track, using cookies, the browsing behavior of users.

With this plethora of data to which they have access, these companies — through big data analytics — are able to create clusters, which segment the demographic information, interest and purchase intent of each of these mapped users.

The DMP is then used to know the company’s target audience, helping to define programmatic strategies in a much more assertive way.

With this information and already within the DSP, a programmatic campaign manager will create a series of strategies that work independently, seeking to reach the campaign’s target audience. The main ones are:

  1. Semantic content: A bid is placed only when a web page has content that relates to the category of the advertising company. For example, construction campaigns only appear on pages that are talking about real estate;
  2. Whitelists: A list of relevant sites is set up, and bids are only placed on those selected placements. For example, a sporting goods advertiser might create a list of several websites with sports-related content to target their campaign;
  3. Third-Party Data: The campaign is segmented according to users’ demographic characteristics, interests and purchase intent. The bid is only placed when a person with the selected profile enters a webpage with available inventory. A shoe company, for example, might show its media only to women interested in buying shoes. This data is provided by data suppliers, which are connected to DSPs. These companies usually also provide DMP services.
  4. Retargeting: Tags installed on the advertiser’s website allow you to map users and impact them later as they browse the internet. 72% of online shoppers are likely to leave shopping carts before paying. Co m the retargeting, the chances of the user returns to the site and complete the purchase increase on average 225%;
  5. Data onboarding: with programmatic media it is possible to upload a list of advertiser contacts and find them online. As a result, the company uses its own data — even if it’s offline data, such as email and CPF — to target campaigns.

2. Plan the campaign

Once you understand how key programmatic media strategies work, it’s easier to understand important parts of planning a campaign.

See below the main points of attention:

Campaign objective

It is very important that the objective of a programmatic campaign is defined from the beginning of the planning and is aligned among all involved parties.

Is the goal to generate as many clicks as possible?

Filling in the registration form within a specific page?

This needs to be clear so that the campaign manager can work and optimize the media in pursuit of the right objective.

Target Audience

In addition to demographic information from traditional channel briefings — such as gender, age, and social class — programmatic media planning needs to go a little further and think about how a given campaign target behaves on the Internet.

For this, access to a DMP can help a lot, since, as mentioned earlier, this tool provides important qualitative information about users who access a particular website.


Many define programmatic as the right message to the right user at the right time.

The user and the right moment are up to the technology and the configuration of the campaign. But the correct message is all in the creative.

Therefore, it is necessary to think very carefully about the banner message, as it is the banner that needs to arouse users’ attention.

For this creation process, you need to take into account basic best practices, such as choosing contrasting colors, direct messaging that catches the user’s attention, and that has a button that encourages clicking — the so-called Call-to-Action button.

In addition, the ideal is to make the most of the advantages that programmatic media provides to companies, thinking about different creatives for different audiences within the same campaign.

Landing Page

A programmatic campaign should always be configured with the Landing Page a specific page within the company website to which the user will be directed if you click on the ad.

Choosing this Landing Page is very important for the campaign. It is essential that she continue what is being announced.

That is, if the displayed banner advertises a red shoe, the click must be directed to the page where the consumer can purchase that specific product.

In addition, for campaigns with the objective of generating Leads, it is important that the Landing Page design is thought to help as much as possible in the conversion.

3. Choose a partner to run the campaign

To run any programmatic campaign, you must have access to a DSP. For this, the advertiser will basically have two choices: look for a trading desk to run his campaign or close a contract with a DSP.

The Trading Desks are companies specializing in programmatic media that provide the service to technically enable campaigns on behalf of their clients. They have access to DSPs and DMPs and plan, manage and optimize campaigns on behalf of advertisers who hire their services.

Google Ads, Facebook Ads or Programmatic Media? Test it all together!

In addition to the large Google Ads Display Network (GDN) inventory, the program has operations on other networks, which increase inventory and amplify the placement channels for banners.

By working all the features and tactics together, you’ll begin to get greater recognition at different stages of the funnel, greater insight into your business, and better performance in your surveys.

And as your ad’s brand quality and target audience are increased, customers and potential customers are impacted by relevant messages, increasing trust in your brand. Furthermore, customers ultimately have a greater remembrance of your brand by actively researching your industry.

Below is an example of the brand research results after implementing programmatic media. The graphic shows the campaigns and the union of all campaigns together. Estimated conversions refer to the volume of conversions that were attributed to brand search versus prospecting efforts.

Programmatic media is a trend that is here to stay. This automated and data-driven way of buying ads is already a reality in digital and in a few years it should become the standard way of buying media in Brazil.

Although it seems quite complex and inaccessible at first, with the services of the Trading Desks the programmatic is already a very democratic strategy — both in terms of investment and in terms of access to information and assistance for planning.

You can count on pa rceiros and technologies that will help your company to brave this new world of Digital Marketing, in addition to complement its strategy pays media for Inbound Marketing couple to go beyond Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

With knowledge about the main strategies, choosing good technological partners and planning the main items that influence a programmatic campaign, your company has everything to take advantage of the countless possibilities that this new way of buying media brings to the engagement and relationship with your target audience on the internet.

Bonus: Glossary

DSP (Demand Side Platform):

It is the platform used for real-time media purchases. It is through it that advertisers and/or trading desks buy advertising space on websites and display their ads.

SSP (Supply Side Platform/Sell-Side Platform):

While the DSP is the platform that buys the media, the SSP is the platform that sells the inventory. Sites Connect with SSPs and make their advertising space available to advertisers.

DMP (Data Management Platform):

These are companies that work by monitoring user navigation through browser cookies, classifying these people into groups and categories as interested in sports, gastronomy, education and other topics.

These companies do not have personal information about the user, they only analyze the behaviour through navigation. This information becomes data, which is used to target programmatic media campaigns.

Ad Exchange:

It is a platform/environment in which real-time ad buy and sell (RTB) transactions between advertisers and publishers take place.

Trading Desk:

These are companies that work as operating tables, with service-based delivery, enabling the campaign.

They have access to DSPs and DMPs and plan, manage and optimize programmatic media campaigns on behalf of advertisers who hire their services.