Programmatic Advertising Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Programmatic advertising is soaring to new and exciting heights, with ad spend expected to accelerate to nearly $100 billion in 2022. This growing method for buying ads has quickly become a crucial component of an ecommerce brand’s successful marketing mix.

Traditionally, advertisers have had to spend time going directly to publishers, with a limited amount of inventory available per month. Poor targeting capabilities and a lack of campaign-level frequency have often created a trap for wasted ad spend.

As an efficient, data-driven way of buying highly relevant audiences at scale, programmatic advertising is the most efficient way to buy digital ads and get your ad live in the current advertising landscape.

Programmatic can help you reach customers along their entire path to purchase and drive more valuable conversions. It’s no wonder that marketers are putting more than 50% of their media budget into programmatic advertising.

In this programmatic advertising FAQ, we’ll give you answers to some of the most common questions brands and retailers like you ask when it comes to programmatic.


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Q: How will the deprecation of third-party cookies affect programmatic?

A: Google will phase out third-party cookies on Chrome starting in late 2023. Brands and agencies implementing programmatic need to take this into consideration when deciding on toolsets and identity management systems.

Third-party cookies may be going away, but as long as you’re willing to shift your strategy, there are several other targeting methods that can empower brands like yours to successfully reach your target audiences, such as a heavier focus on the use of first-party data, contextual targeting, and/or over-the-top (OTT) advertising.

Selecting a partner who already has a solution in place for personally identifiable information (PII) will also be crucial to your post-cookie programmatic strategy.

Remarketing will face some limitations since your ability to track individuals who have viewed your ads in the past will depend on having their information available through opt-ins, website subscriptions, or tracking through third-party identity systems like LiveRamp. Remarketing to past purchasers will depend on your chosen toolset’s ability to integrate with your CRM system.

Q: What are similarities between programmatic and the Google Display Network (GDN)?

A: Programmatic advertising and advertising through the GDN both offer targeting options such as the ability to target by demographics, interests, and keywords with strong offline to online capabilities. They also both utilize display advertising to reach a targeted audience.

They also both share some common open web inventory space for advertising, though the options aren’t identical.

Programmatic and the GDN both provide the ability to cap campaign-level frequency on a daily or monthly basis, meaning advertisers can ensure an ad is seen the optimal number of times across the entire campaign, wherever the ad is showing. Without this ability, your ad may be seen too many times, which can lead to oversaturation and cause the user to feel overwhelmed with and/or disinterested in your brand.

Undesirable inventory or websites can also be excluded with both programmatic and Google.

Q: How is programmatic different from the GDN?

A: The key differentiator between programmatic and the GDN is inventory. The Google Display Network only provides access to Google’s ad network, which contains approximately 2 million active sites. Programmatic allows access to the GDN in addition to other data and inventory sources for increased scale, offering approximately 200 million active websites – virtually limitless inventory.

The GDN also only allows brands to run video ads through YouTube. Programmatic offers additional opportunities for brands to execute video such as connected TV (CTV), OTT, and cross-device advertising.

In addition to larger scale and more video options, programmatic advertising offers more ad unit options than the GDN. Programmatic allows brands to reach shoppers out of their homes with highly visual creative on digital billboards and other outdoor displays through digital out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

Q: What are some key benefits of the Google Display Network?

A: With its low cost of entry, the GDN is a great option for brands that are new to digital display or have a lower marketing budget. Cost per click is cheaper than on the default Google search platform, meaning your brand can target shoppers with a high return on investment.

Another key benefit of the Google Display Network is that it allows for targeting specifically based on a user’s Google search history, supporting highly personalized experiences.

Q: What are some key benefits of programmatic advertising?

A: One of the key benefits of programmatic advertising is that it provides access to premium ad inventory through deals available via platform partnerships. Programmatic also uses DSPs that have fraud protection and brand safety controls that are integrated with leading third-party verification providers for peace of mind.

Programmatic also allows for advanced targeting such as location-based targeting and in-store attribution. It offers a wide variety of ad formats including streaming audio, native video, and out-of-home advertising in addition to cross-device display units.

Q: When should I go with Programmatic vs. Google & YouTube? When does it make sense to invest in both?

A: GDN is really good for brands that are already comfortable in their paid search strategy and are “starting out” with audience targeting. On the other hand, programmatic advertising provides access to additional datasets, premium inventory, and additional placements.

If your brand has goals like maximizing your reach, introducing new inventory or products, focusing on full-funnel strategies, or scaling across a wider audience, programmatic may be a good fit.

However, YouTube ads can only be purchased through the Google Display Network. Programmatic still allows video to be served across thousands of sites and publishers through a variety of DSPs with additional reach and scale.

Q: How does programmatic advertising pair with my paid search strategy?

A: Programmatic pairs well with paid search efforts and allows for full-funnel solutions using different types of targeting, including keyword, behavioral, geotargeting, contextual, and more. You can use your keyword data and strategy from paid search efforts to help inform and inspire your programmatic strategy.

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