Programmatic Confusion Part 2: The Results

Programmatic can seem complicated and confusing, especially when you’re faced with a client who wants results and is paying you to achieve them. We’re following up our first post about the confusion surrounding programmatic and focusing on the results programmatic will achieve, and how to properly explain them to your clients.

Client Confusion: You’re not sure if your client could be getting better results, quicker.

Optimisation takes time and money and there are limits to what short term campaigns and programmatic campaigns under $10,000 can achieve.

As with direct media buys, it takes time and money to fully optimise programmatic advertising. It’s also important to be clear about the goals and possible achievements of the campaigns being invested in. Short term campaigns and campaigns under $10,000 are primarily about getting value for money, traffic and some conversions. Such campaigns are not about steadily increasing conversion volumes or driving down costs.

Here’s a better explanation, but just to warn you, there’s going to be some maths involved.

There’s a formula behind the algorithm that optimises real time bidding within a programmatic campaign and each ad will be subject to a version of the following (with the number in brackets being the number of possible options for this element):

Creative Size (3) x [Creative Message (2) x Website (100,000+) x Time of Day (24hrs) x Position on Website (2)] x Operating System (3) x Strategy (6)

And depending on how much you love maths, you can see that this results in a massive number of combinations, especially when including a large number of websites and 24 hours in a day.

Simplifying the formula to 1 website and 1 time of day still results in over 30,000 combinations.

A programmatic campaign is designed to measure the success of these combinations in order to find the most effective approach according to the campaign goals. The campaign will cycle through the options and compare the outcomes from multiple results. Now here’s the clincher, the speed at which your campaign can measure the success of these combinations is based on the number of ads bought. Time and money spent are also influencers in how quickly a campaign can be optimised. If you’re targeting is so narrow that there are not enough available impressions to be bought, despite a large budget, then time will be required for enough impressions to be available for analysis.

Luckily for you, we’re here to advise you. In most cases in our markets we suggest that an investment of $15,000 per month for three months is going to give you better results than $50,000 invested in just one month. Three months will deliver enough time for the algorithm to maximise the outcomes of the campaign and for enough information on prospects to be gather to optimise targeting results. Knee jerk reactions such as changing strategies or creative within a 3 day period is pointless as there simply hasn’t been enough testing to determine the success or otherwise of a campaign and such action hits the restart button.

Our best advice to determine if you are getting the best results possible for your clients is to consider averaging the spend over a longer period of time, watching the price drop incrementally and the average conversions increase. Alternatively the bonus volume may increase. It should look something like the following graph over a four month period.


But there’s just no way to produce these kinds of results over a four week period. It might be difficult but it’s important to have patience and commitment when working with programmatic, acquisition orientated campaigns.

It’s easier to have patience and commitment when you know you’re working with the experts. Brief us on your next programmatic campaign and see how much easier it is to know when your client is getting the right results when we’re the ones advising you on the progress of your campaigns.