PROGRAMMATIC AD BUYING: Utilizing Data for Success

Programmatic Ad Buying: Utilizing Data for SuccessProgrammatic ad buying has revolutionized media buying for advertisers. And, while this process is already making major contributions to marketing ROI for a wide variety of advertisers, this revolution has just begun.

What exactly is programmatic ad buying? Simply put, it is automated algorithmic media buying based on human analysis and oversight. In practice, it is an advanced mode of targeting digital media to reach your target audience. Through the use of software, data and logic, this technology provides a highly efficient and effective platform to buy advertising placements.

Programmatic ad buying eliminates much of the manual work that previously cost man hours, thereby freeing media planners and buyers to devote their time to strategy development and other necessary tasks.

In 2017, programmatic will account for 78% of the over $31B display advertising market in the US. Most of the growth is increased spending on mobile devices; this trend is projected to represent approximately three-quarters of the media dollars spent through programmatic channels, or around $24B vs. $8B on desktop advertising.

In the coming year, over 88% of major advertisers are planning to either utilize programmatic ad buying and/or increase their buys via programmatic platforms. In this article, we will detail what this process entails, how to best use it to drive substantial growth for your business plus how to integrate it with TV campaigns to generate the maximum advertising ROI for your business.

Two Types of Programmatic Ad Buying

Programmatic Media Buying

Real time Bidding

With this method, digital inventory is bought instantaneously from publishers, based on specific targeting and cost parameters. How quickly does it work? In virtually milliseconds, user data from the publisher is sent to a buying engine, which places bids for each desirable impression.

As with Search inventory purchase scenarios, the winning bidder doesn’t necessarily pay the bid-price; instead, the winning bidder pays one cent more than the next-highest bid for an ad impression.

This transaction information gets passed to all parties, and the cycle begins again for the next available ad impression, and then continues until the inventory is gone or no more bids are made.


  • Flexible pricing: maximum bid amounts can be placed for each individual targeting case, allowing you to bid more for the most desirable audiences, and less for lower performing targets.
  • Ability to adjust strategy in real time
  • Precise targeting utilizing 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data to identify the most profitable audiences

Automated Guaranteed / Programmatic Direct

Deals are negotiated upfront between advertisers and publishers to attain a fixed CPM (cost-per-thousand) to reach a targeted demographic.

The buy is executed automatically, utilizing a programmatic platform that handles all transactions. This platform also provides real time, ongoing visibility for the buy.

Social properties like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all engage in this ecosystem, as well as a myriad of demand-side and data management platforms.


  • Guaranteed audience delivery against negotiated targets
  • Early access to premium inventory
  • Site specific delivery though direct publisher relationships

How To Maximize the Effect of Programmatic Ads

Amplify Remarketing Reach

Remarketing to previous visitors and/or customers is one of the most efficient ways to increase sales. At InterMedia, through our Demand Side Platform partners we have created an environment consisting of world-class data management platforms with dozens of data partners, over forty supply-side partners, and over fifty ad tech point solutions.

When combined, this structure provides us with efficient access to billions of ad impressions daily, and delivers the opportunity for unparalleled remarketing reach to the vast majority of available digital inventory.

The Remarketing ProcessRemarketing through programmatic ad buying can be instituted in a number of ways. One of the most powerful is to segment the specific products/site pages that a consumer visits, and then adjust ad messaging based on the users specific interests.

Your existing customer database can be utilized to target opportunities using programmatic media. This same data can also be used to uncover potentially-lucrative look-alike marketing opportunities.

Dynamic Creative Messaging

Dynamic ads allow an advertiser to seamlessly and simultaneously isolate and test various creative elements to find the best-performing combinations, and drive up ROI while minimizing creative development costs.

An example of how to utilize this opportunity would be to serve an ad creative that shows the last product and price the consumer has viewed on your site. If after 24 hours the consumer hasn’t transacted, they’d then be served with a 10% off coupon with a countdown clock embedded to indicate urgency, and hopefully, generate a quick response.

Advertiser CRM data can be used to reach recent purchasers with targeted add-on messages, a thank you reply, or a sales communication regarding upcoming product releases. To maximize frequency, these targeted messages can easily be propagated across any of a user’s devices by utilizing responsive ad designs.

Engagement Targeting Metrics

The goals of generating sales, driving new business, and selling to existing customers are sometimes viewed through proxy metrics that illuminate the consumer’s purchase path.

In part, InterMedia develops these capabilities by using Engagement as a proxy for purchase intent. Through Facebook, programmatic video ads and site metrics, we generate marketing messages based on consumers’ past connections and interactions with our clients’ brands. We then serve follow-up messaging to those users who have watched extended portions of our client’s video, which tends to drive further engagement with the brand.

If your video is over 60 seconds — and a user has watched more than half of it — then there is an excellent opportunity to send a special message or offer to drive the prospect further down the sales funnel — to the ultimate goal of purchase.

Remarketing tactics can also be used in conjunction with engagement metrics to drive an indecisive user toward a specific action. For example, users who have clicked on a lead form, have seen an ad, and/or have taken action deep within a mobile app, can be re-engaged using specific messaging to create additional interest, plus the sense of urgency to act now.

The more data and information we are able to gather, the more tactics that can employed to further engage users, ultimately, reach the client’s marketing goals.

Prospecting with Look-A-Like Models

Prospecting with Look-A-Like ModelsTo develop a look-alike model, an advertiser uses its site conversion pixel in conjunction with a programmatic buying platform to isolate and identify the specific user attributes of its most valuable customers. The programmatic buying engine is then used to target anyone that has a similar user profile. This allows advertisers to leverage their first-party data and reach a previously-untapped audience that has a higher propensity to convert.

InterMedia’s data management platforms match this profile to the digital universe to find those users with the same attributes as your best converters. By segmenting tens of thousands of syndicated audience data points, our look-a-like models collect user characteristics from a variety of high-level sources, including Nielsen, Mastercard, Oracle and Polk from our group of partners.

Plus, the process is iterative; the more consumers we drive into the purchase funnel, the more precise our look-a-like modeling becomes, and the better your results will be.

Hyperlocal Targeting

Consumers are becoming more mobile than ever, which presents expanding opportunities to reach them in real time with relevant and motivating messages. Using GPS data from the target audience’s mobile device, an advertiser can deliver specific messaging based on a users current location, or based on one that the user previously visited.

On average, consumers access their mobile devices more than 200 times a day. Hyperlocal targeting allows advertisers to reach their prospects in real time and in those specific places where they are most-likely to act on the message.

Wherever there’s a physical sales or visitation component to your business, there’s an opportunity to reach prospects with this capability. By utilizing latitude and longitude coordinates and a cross-device user management system, we are able to locate and reach those people whose physical-world actions indicate a high propensity that they are looking for a specific product or service.

Opportunities utilizing hyperlocal targeting:

  • Delivering a coupon to a user who is close to your restaurant around a meal time
  • Inviting a user to come back to your restaurant a week after their last visit
  • Targeting users with a specific brand message when they’re at an event, like offering team jerseys at a sporting event

The Human Factor

Human interaction is a necessary part of programmatic strategy. Programmatic buying is not automatic; there are multiple factors that have to be taken into account, including setting the strategy and goals for the campaign.

Many times a failed campaign results from a set-it-and-forget-it mentality, which leads to a one dimensional approach and substandard results.

We truly understand that regular human analysis and input is integral to understanding and integrating the nuances that define a successful programmatic campaign. We have built a team of professionals who can devise the right strategy, analyze and interpret the data correctly, and then react quickly to deliver top performance for our clients.


Without question, programmatic ad buying is here to stay. The process will continue to identify and expand targeted, cost-efficient advertising opportunities, and InterMedia will help you navigate the complexities and inner workings of the space to maximize the return on your advertising investment.

Whether you want to dip a toe in the water by trying programmatic for the first time, or you want us to optimize the results of your current programmatic campaign, we have the knowledge, mindset and personnel to make it a profitable component of your company’s marketing plan.

The Authors

Robert YallenRobert Yallen
President & CEO


Joseph PouloseJoseph Poulose
SVP, Chief Information Officer


Richard ChellewRichard Chellew
SVP, Digital


InterMedia Advertising® annually places over $600+ million in media and remains true to our founder’s guiding principles. Our cutting-edge, proprietary resources include targeted media networks, exceptional analytic and reporting tools and a state-of-the- art TV production facility. These, combined with our service first mindset, has positioned InterMedia at the top of the direct response industry.

Contact us at 1-800-TIME-BUY or email [email protected] to get started.