At this point in the ever-changing digital marketing world, most of us have either worked on programmatic display campaigns for our company and/or clients or have at least heard about how programmatic is a strong marketing channel. To understand the power of programmatic, you must first educate yourself on the various targeting options and “data sources” provided by the different display vendors and how it can be leveraged into powerful marketing campaigns.

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In this article, we’ll dive into some exciting targeting options within programmatic and how it could potentially drive your marketing campaigns to the next level.

First, let’s begin with what exactly programmatic display is. Programmatic display uses real-time bidding on ad exchanges to set parameters on bid price and network reach. With this automation, you can then combine with data sources to target your market based on behavioral and audience data, creating the perfect storm of display marketing. It’s an effective way to not only ensure you’re reaching the appropriate audience, but also keeping the CPM and placements under control.

You may be thinking at this point what type of clients are a good fit for programmatic. Given the nature of this marketing channel, it’s important to have a brand that is recognizable or at the very least visually enticing. Unless you’re only running remarketing campaigns through programmatic, the smaller businesses may have a difficult time capturing engagement. That doesn’t mean smaller businesses can’t generate conversions at a good CPA through programmatic, but they may be more limited with targeting options.

To understand a few of the targeting options within programmatic display, here are a few of the most common options along with a few more innovative strategies.

Branding/Awareness – Increasing awareness and consideration for the brand, branding campaigns can target all devices. With that, you can create short brand surveys to learn more about your target market or pre-roll videos on high traffic websites to boost engagement. Prior to getting started with an awareness campaign, you must first figure out what it is you want to learn about your target market. At the end of this campaign, you’ll want to have generated key findings that you can leverage across all marketing channels in the future. The other interesting thing to monitor with this type of programmatic campaign is the overall lift it creates to branded searches within PPC. When done right, it can have a major impact.

Direct Response – Driving conversions at a targeted CPA is the typical course of action with direct response campaigns. Using different data sources, as well as collecting their own data from tagging the site, programmatic display takes that information to create custom audiences by building a digital persona and driving high-quality traffic to the site. Additionally, many partners leverage behavioral information to target high-quality users at the ideal time for conversions based on past tendencies. Also included in direct response campaigns is remarketing and “look-a-like” modeling that helps to reach new audiences based on various demographics and behavior.

Social Media Integration – With all the information on social media, programmatic vendors can target people on Facebook based on their interests and behavior using both banner ads and videos to boost overall engagement. On Instagram, targeting particular users with banner and video ads within their feed is highly effective and boosts overall awareness.

Contextual Targeting – Using a custom keyword list (preferably the best-performing keywords from PPC) you can target people contextually across their vast network of sites to ensure your brand is in front of like-minded audiences. This tactic allows you to create a presence in online environments that compliment the user’s browsing experiences.

Amazon Purchase Data Targeting – Using purchase data from, you can target like-minded people who have previously bought similar products to what you’re offering. This not only works for identifying quality users, but quality users with high purchase intent.

Final Thoughts

For all the digital marketers out there curious to know all of the ins and outs of programmatic display and how you can utilize it to your advantage, you must first educate yourself on all the various targeting options available. Once you have a clear understanding of the targeting options, you can begin to build a tailored plan for your specific company/client to give them the greatest chance for success.

Keep in mind, programmatic display marketing running alongside PPC can make a world of difference. While programmatic display really helps to lift branded searches within PPC (typically the highest volume conversions and lowest CPA), programmatic also generates a lot of information on your target market that can be leveraged into PPC. This digital marketing combination allows the two channels to feed off of each other, creating a well-rounded approach and improved marketing performance across the board.