Programmatic Confusion Part 1: The Prospect

In our post “How Data is used in Your Programmatic Campaigns”, we explain how programmatic digital focuses on identifying the perfect prospects and buying ads they are viewing in real time. The alternative is guessing where the prospects may be online based on historical site traffic reports and then buying bulk ads on a few sites. This means there will be thousands more websites used in a programmatic campaign than in a direct media buy campaign.

Are you confused yet? It’s easy to be confused, especially when you have clients asking why their ads are appearing on websites they have never heard of, or sites which have domains from another country, or why their ads are simply not able to be viewed on-demand where they expected them to be. So here’s how to avoid the confusion of this particular problem.

Client Confusion: The Campaign Reporting shows random websites your client has never heard of.

Avoid this by emphasising that programmatic is all about the prospect, less about the website.

Programmatic focuses on the prospect, the person sitting in front of the screen, and their overall behaviour online. Rather than try to predict which websites a prospect may visit regularly and place ads there so all visitors to that website see the ad, we focus more on the prospect. A programmatic approach may involve buying datasets that identify the Intent or Interest of a prospect in a certain range of products and overlaying them on websites so that instead of every visitor to the website seeing the ad, it will only be seen by those who fit the dataset.

MMTD - prospect right time

A Case Study: Sarah

Meet ‘Sarah’, your perfect prospect who views your direct media buy ads on This is unlikely to be the only website that Sarah visits while online and when she visits other websites she’s still a perfect prospect for your product. If you take a programmatic approach, when Sarah flicks across to,,, or you can put your ad in front of Sarah on each of these websites for 5 to 10 times less than buying directly. With programmatic, you’ll also be able to put your ads in front of Sarah on websites that you would never guess that she accesses, such as, a premium Chinese website,, a Chinese Video site, or even Plus, it’s likely that these less known (or completely unknown to you) sites are much cheaper than the bigger brands, giving your brief ten to twenty times more buying power.

So, if Programmatic puts your brand in front of Sarah in places where there is less of your competition and she still takes the actions you were wanting, your client can either keep some of that Direct Website Buy Budget in their back pocket for another project, or access the multiplying factor available with Programmatic and its reduced CPM/CPC prices.

You can easily avoid the confusion from “Campaign Reporting shows random websites” with your client by explaining the above upfront. In addition, reviewing the Campaign Report with them to answer questions and explain the results, as well as keep them focused on their overall campaign goals will further avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

Discussing the parameters and returns of programmatic with your client before their campaign starts is the key!

If you have any questions about how to talk to your clients about programmatic, want to know how to read the Campaign Reports or want more examples, such as an interesting one we had with “High Net Worth Finance Campaign” and the very valid but ‘interesting’ Russian Website, simply get in touch and let’s talk.

MMTD - in the background