For all of its incredible potential to maximize ad spend, programmatic isn’t without its share of challenges. Some arises from a misunderstanding of what programmatic is and how it works. Others focuses on practical hurdles that can make programmatic buying more complex. A key concern is the problem of wasted impressions.
Without proper controls in place, programmatic campaigns could potentially waste significant portions of ad budgets purchasing worthless impressions. But this can be controlled and avoided with the right strategy and systems in place. Let’s delve into two main issues a lot of media buyers are worried about—and how you can mitigate these issues in your campaigns.
Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be a Bad Thing: Wasted Ad Impressions
Ever been to a website and seen multiple copies of the same ad plastered across the screen? Or get hit with the same message repeatedly over just a few hours? You probably didn’t click on any of them. If anything, the advertiser responsible for them probably made a poor impression. These issues are commonly referred to as “Ad bumping” or “Ad Crowding”. The potential of this happening programmatically cuts to the heart of ad display concerns.
Each impression could have been more effective if it were served strategically and proper display controls were put in place. What if, instead of overwhelming people with ads all at once on the same page, the advertiser served impressions after a specific time interval that had been proven (through testing) to convert the best?
Additionally, frequency capping allows you to limit the number of times users are served ads over a certain time period. You can be persistent and create multiple touchpoints—without overexposing your brand by inundating people with ads.
You can even use data generated via programmatic buying to find a frequency “sweet spot”: the optimal quantity and timing of ads to serve for maximum ROI. A data partner can help you adjust frequency caps mid-campaign, making data-driven decisions to dial in a more profitable campaign.
Shots in the Dark: Ad Viewability Concerns
What happens when you serve an ad, but the person you’re trying to reach never sees it? Not much. They go along with their day while the media buyers are left with the bill. This happens all the time with 56.1% of all ads served online never actually being seen.
One reason why viewability issues are so prevalent is because advertisers end up inadvertently bidding on impressions that are “below the fold.” The ads serve correctly, but people don’t see them because they never scroll down the page after landing on the website.
Thankfully, publishers and the industry as a whole have been responsive to viewability concerns. The digital advertising industry has been focused on “ads served” for years. But pressure from media buyers has shifted the focus towards viewed impressions. Facebook has already adopted a viewable standard; they don’t measure ad impressions unless it enters the user’s screen.
There is still significant variation in inventory transparency across ad networks, but the overall trend is to arm media buyers with more information to make the best bidding decisions.
Maximize Your Ad Spend and Make The Most of Programmatic
The impact of properly controlled inventory waste is tremendous. Ad display issues and viewability concerns have the potential to waste a large chunk of your ad spend. But with proper controls in place including: proper technology stack for bidding and optimization, automated detection system, precise targeting, and a strategy that identify audience caps, you can reduce this waste to a negligible level and reap the rewards.