How to Build and Futureproof Your Programmatic Strategy


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, August 1, 2022

Privacy changes and customer preferences are challenging programmatic advertising – here’s how to create a winning ad strategy that futureproofs your brand.

Article 6 Minutes
How to Build and Futureproof Your Programmatic Strategy

Programmatic technology has altered the way that brands connect with their customers in recent years, and it’s become a go-to technology for advertisers. In 2022, 90% of all digital display ads will be done programmatically, and over $120 billion (USD) will be spent on this type of advertising.

By automating and personalizing ads to users, marketers have been able to tap into the holy grail of online advertising. But as consumer privacy continues to pose a challenge, developing an evergreen strategy will be the biggest hurdle.

While over 60% of consumers say they would lose interest in a brand if the experience isn’t personalized, only 40% actually trust brands enough to hand over their data. This leaves brands in something of a paradox where it’s hard to win either way. So how can marketers create a personalized brand experience while respecting the privacy preferences of customers?

Here we show you how to build an effective programmatic strategy – one that has staying power in an evolving digital landscape.

What is a programmatic strategy?

Programmatic advertising involves the adoption of software to automate the ad management, buying and measurement process. A programmatic ad strategy has the sole purpose of reaching one or more goals for the brand using these programmatic tools.

It can be for a single campaign to increase awareness of a certain product or service, or it can be for a set of campaigns angled at different customer segments – as long as the goal is reached.

There are four types of programmatic advertising that can be used in your strategy:

  • Real-time bidding (RTB)
  • Private marketplace
  • Preferred deal
  • Programmatic guaranteed

In terms of programmatic ad formats, you can use display ads, video ads, native ads or audio ads.

How to build a successful programmatic strategy: 4 steps

While programmatic campaigns are driven by technology, it’s important for brands to approach their strategy as humanly as possible. Programmatic's biggest value comes from its ability to enhance those critical customer experience (CX) moments, so that means taking an empathetic approach and understanding the needs of your audience.

Here are the four most important steps to take if you want to transform your strategy and leverage it to support your CX goals.

1. Have goals (but stay agile)

One of the most important parts of creating a successful programmatic ad strategy is to have clearly defined goals. A vision of what you want to achieve both in the short-term and long-term (plus knowing what resources are available to you) IS key. At the same time, it’s also vital for marketers to pay attention and be reactive.

The very nature of programmatic is dynamic, so plans won’t always be set in stone. An intelligent strategy is one that keeps moving, adapting to new information on where, when and how best to engage with customers.

2. Prioritize customer preferences

To avoid pitfalls, work with your audience and meet them where they want to be met. Keep an eye out for future programmatic trends and put their preferences first. For instance, a privacy-first approach can help to build trust, and adopting videos can help you connect with millennial and Gen Z users.

3. Get the creative right

Creating engaging ads is getting harder as the internet gets more saturated with content, displays and information. Test a mix of ad formats – including banners, video and rich media to see what works best. Programmatic creative should also be kept fresh (ideally updating every 8-12 weeks), as seeing as the same ad over and over again can result in bad CX for customers.

4. Ride the learning curve

Analyze previous ads to improve decision-making. Your next move should always be backed by data, and your approach should always be nimble. With feedback, you can take learnings to adjust targeting and create plans for new tests based on past performance.

How to futureproof your strategy

In order to futureproof your strategy and ensure programmatic ads are still relevant in years to come, it’s important to monitor trends in the AdTech world. For instance, there’s a lot of emphasis on data privacy, making the concept of brand trust more important than ever.

Content preferences are also evolving, with the average person spending almost 12 hours per week watching videos online.

To fully embrace the future of programmatic, marketers will need to build an evergreen strategy. Here are some ways you can do that:

Adopt privacy-first marketing

While privacy has been a contentious issue in recent years, research actually tells us it’s a good thing. Google's phasing out of third-party cookies means marketers must rethink their approach, but 87% of people believe these changes will actually make programmatic better than before.

This will lead us to more sophisticated programmatic advertising, ensuring personalization and better CX at every stage of the journey. 

Ramp up the video

2022 marks the first year that video will surpass non-video formats in programmatic spending, and over half of consumers say they want to see more videos from brands. It’s also important to note the rise of mobile in the equation, as 65% of programmatic video ad spend is now dedicated to mobile programmatic display.

Explore new environments

The growth of video formats is largely due to connected TV (CTV), such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation, Roku and others. This generates new ad buying opportunities, and modern strategies must explore these evolving environments if they are to stay connected today’s digital audience.

Final thoughts

It’s clear that the way that customers connect with their favourite brands online isn’t what it used to be. They demand personalization, but they also want privacy. They want to interact with brands, but only when/where they feel comfortable to do so. They value experience and crave communication, but they may not be ready to hand over their money (yet).

The bottom line is, the power is in the customer’s hands and it’s in every company’s interest to adapt their ad approach to changing consumer needs. With a chaotic funnel, the customer journey is no longer predictable, and that means marketers must think on their feet and be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.

If you want your CX to be successful, make sure your programmatic strategy is data-driven and customer-centric. Focus on the customer lifetime value instead of just quick wins, and you’ll have a sustainable solution that remains impactful in the long run.

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