An Overview of Programmatic Advertising Options in 2021

Programmatic Advertising

You might be simply looking for options to expand beyond Google search campaigns. On the other hand, your client or boss may have tasked you with researching programmatic advertising options. Whatever the motivation for your research, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the choices that appear in search results when you start searching for programmatic platforms.

In this article, I’ll provide a high level overview of major options for programmatic advertising, including targeting options and attribution features. Let’s start by talking about what you can run directly within Google Ads.

Google Display Network

The Google Display Network (GDN) offers display placements on around 80% of sites across the web. You can access GDN by setting up a display campaign within Google Ads. A major advantage of GDN is that there is no minimum cost for testing the waters with campaigns.

Targeting options include:

  • Retargeting: You can create audiences based on the specific URLs, and build audiences based on Google Analytics criteria (such as engaged audiences who have spent a certain amount of time on the site).
  • Customer Match: You can upload a list of individuals (emails or phone numbers) who have opted in to receive communication.
  • Custom Audiences: You can target people searching for specific keywords or people interested in content similar to a list of keywords/URLs entered in. A couple of routes we’ve seen work well for custom audiences have been utilizing previously converting keywords or inputting a list of competitor URLs.
  • In-market Audiences: You can target people who are “in market” for certain services based on their web browsing activity. You may want to layer these audiences onto search campaigns as observation-only to get a feel for the best performers to test in display.

Google Display & Video 360

Google Display & Video 360 offers access to a fuller breadth of programmatic advertising capabilities beyond what is offered in Google Ads. It integrates with over 80 ad exchange networks and allows you to negotiate buys directly from publishers within the platform. 

You also get access to enhanced attribution using Google’s Floodlight pixel. You can create audiences based on past clicks, conversions, views, and impressions for capabilities beyond what Google Ads offers (tied to URL-based or Google Analytics-based audiences).

The cost of this platform would be significantly higher than GDN; pricing isn’t revealed without talking to a rep (it’s based on factors such as region and website volume), but one source cites fees of at least $12,500 monthly. The best route would likely be to find a Google Marketing Platform sales partner who can offer access at a lower rate through a shared subscription.

RollWorks

RollWorks is an ABM (account-based marketing) platform run by NextRoll, the parent company of the AdRoll retargeting software. This platform focuses on account-based marketing and allows you to target based on attributes such as industry, company, department, job title, sales/opp stage, and more. 

You can upload lists of target accounts from your data and also combine that with RollWorks’ own database to find the right people to target. RollWorks will also suggest net-new accounts that could be a good fit for the business based on a predictive model. There are also account scoring capabilities. 

In addition, RollWorks has a Site Visitor API that allows you to uncover company-related data about people who are browsing your site. Finally, you can also upload individual contacts for targeting, as well as utilize website-based retargeting.

Pricing starts from $975/month and scales up from there based on the features wanted.

The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk works with over 225 partners for targeting data and ad inventory. Native, display and video ads can all be served via this platform. Notable partners include ABC, ESPN, Hulu, the Wall Street Journal, Pandora, Spotify, and many more commonly known media platforms, in addition to data providers like Bombora and Oracle.

There is no pricing directly cited for this platform without talking to a sales rep, but reviews did note that it tends to be expensive.

Adobe Advertising Cloud

Adobe Advertising Cloud offers an array of targeting, including audience segments, as well as site/app/category-specific targeting. You can also upload customer lists to build lookalike audiences, as well as target individual prospect lists.

For the awareness advertising end, Adobe offers a brand survey option to measure the impact your ads have had on brand lift. There are also brand safety tools to screen out negative placements.

No pricing is revealed without talking to a sales rep; however, this product also has a reputation for costs being on the higher end.

MediaMath

MediaMath integrates a wide range of targeting options, including third-party data. Display advertising includes a dynamic creative optimization option that can personalize ads based on the viewer, to show content relevant to categories/products recently viewed. This platform integrates with a number of ad exchanges.

Like most other platforms cited, pricing is not revealed without talking to a rep about custom solutions, but some reviews cited mentions of costs on the high end.

Verizon Media DSP

Verizon Media offers advertising solutions, including native/display/video ads. They purchased the product that was formerly Yahoo Gemini and expanded it to include more properties.

According to their site, they have “exclusive reserved access to Verizon Media & Microsoft properties and the largest premium native marketplace.” They also cite incorporating first party data as a way around challenges resulting from privacy regulation forcing the move away from cookies.

You can either use pre-build audience segments or incorporate custom segments. 

Reviews appear to be mixed; however, some reviews date back to older products such as Yahoo Gemini. Some reviews cite the reach being less broad than other platforms.

Further Research

As you delve further into finding the right programmatic solution for your advertising needs, come prepared to sales conversations with the right questions. Will their costs work within your budget? Do their data sources align with your targeting needs? How does attribution play with existing systems you use to track performance?

Programmatic advertising platforms may not be the perfect solution for every business, but you may find one that suits your needs, particularly if you have budget to spend beyond search. So start researching, determine if a certain platform fits your advertising needs, and begin testing!

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