How to Leverage Programmatic Ad Buying During the Holidays

August 28, 2020

For eCommerce businesses, the increase you get in Q4 from the holidays may not be what you want as people visit stores to check off their gift list. Thankfully, you can leverage programmatic ad buying to make the most of your ad spending this holiday season.

What is programmatic ad buying?

People are not perfect. We are already prone to make mistakes from time to time, and the busy holiday season ensures that something will slip through the cracks. If your ad buying is the first task to go or suffer from neglect when the holidays roll around, programmatic ad buying may be your answer. Programmatic advertising involves automated technology for buying media.

This process involves using data and algorithms to optimize ads. Programmatic ad buying can help you deliver the right message at the right time. It also helps manage your costs. The technology for programming your advertising is more efficient and less expensive than human workers.

What are your options for programmatic ad buying?

Many believe that real-time bidding and programmatic ad buying are the same, however, this is not true. Real-time bidding is a category of programmatic media buying, but there are two other options as well. Private marketplace and programmatic direct are the two other categories for programmatic ad buying.

Real-time bidding

Real-time bidding (RTB) is one of the most popular choices for programmatic ad buying. For businesses with a large audience, RTB can be cost-effective for buying media. A real-time auction decides inventory prices with this method.

Private Marketplace

Private Marketplace (PMP) places restrictions on participants, but they are otherwise similar to open auctions. Select advertisers can access PMPs through invitation. Publishers often have a selection process where advertisers can apply and be extended an invitation.

Optimize your programmatic ad buying

The robots may be taking over, but humans are thankfully still needed in the process. Marketers must set the direction and strategy for the campaign as well as the goals. Programmatic ad buying drives a high return on investment by finding the right combination of message, creative, and placement using data. The efficiency can be very beneficial for marketers looking to speed up the ad buying process in Q4. However, marketers can make the most of programmatic ad buying during the holidays.

Shift your focus

While marketers know that it is less expensive to retain a customer than gain a new one, programmatic ad buying is a great way to reach new customers. You should avoid targeting existing customers who are already planning to make a purchase. You can use your marketing budget to find new customers and grow incrementally over time.

Have full visibility

You may think that transparency and visibility are a given, but it may be more difficult to achieve than you anticipate. Your team should know what media is bought and your impressions across sites or apps. Visibility will ensure that the impressions you pay for are actually delivered. Transparency is the only way to check your spending and identify problems before they become expensive or drive low-value traffic.

Set your goals

Knowing your customer journey is a crucial part of setting up programmatic ad buying. You can invest in ad spending based on your consumer journey and optimize your goals accordingly. There may be times when a higher cost per acquisition is beneficial to get a better return.

Determine your ad guidelines

Programmatic ad buying can make the process of buying and placing media extremely efficient. The use of data to display ads to the right person at the right time improves your ROI. However, you still have to set the parameters for your ads. You might already have a good idea of the sites that you want to appear on, but have you considered which sites or apps you do not want your ads to appear on?

Tailor your ads

Programmatic ad buying enables marketers to exercise creative control over their ads. You can create a custom and tailored experience for your consumers based on the stage of their journey. With sequential messaging, you can show your ads in the order you want and test different sequencing to optimize results.

Make the most of dynamic creative

The end of the year push has your team stretched thin. You can save yourself from extra work during the holidays by setting up dynamic creative. The copy or information for your ads, such as a limited-time promotion, can be adjusted without manually updating the creative.


Programmatic ad buying is the way of the future, and there is no better time to start optimizing the practice than the holidays. During the fourth quarter, employees are often out of town, busy at home, or suffering from seasonal illnesses. The factor of human error can greatly impact your ad buying and success, but programmatic ad buying eliminates these issues.

By leveraging programmatic ad buying, you can boost sales and make the most of your media buying budget during the holidays. Q4 is busy enough as it is, so utilizing automated ad buying technology can save you and your team a lot of time. This method for advertising is also cost-effective because the human interface is removed and there is direct access to inventory. Ad impressions tend to be less expensive and you eliminate the costs associated with human error.

Before the holidays are in full force, consider implementing a programmatic ad-buying strategy.

With real-time optimization, you can increase conversions and sales during Q4. Overall, you will deliver the right content to your target audience at the right time.

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