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May Lyn Tan Trading Specialist The Trade Desk

Eliminating Waste: How Programmatic Identifies Your Audience

Raise your hand if you aren’t even reading this because you’re already satisfying your childhood nostalgia by looking for Wally. If you haven’t already, take a moment to try and find our favorite hidden character.

Find him?

The process you went through to locate Wally is exactly how programmatic buying finds your audience. Programmatic is about eliminating waste to make your campaign more efficient and effective. As we scan to find a guy with red stripes, glasses and a winter cap, we eliminate people who do not match his iconic description, and move on.

The same goes for programmatic. Before a campaign even starts, buyers typically have a few general audiences in mind, as targets. Once a campaign is launched, programmatic buying enables us to learn more about the users who engage with our ads and remove those who aren’t showing interest. These insights about our audience inform our campaign strategy by allowing us to narrow our scope and optimize on the users who are most important to our advertiser in real time.

Still, optimization eats up time and money in its efforts to learn about an audience. Imagine walking through the shopping mall above, shaking hands with each character and handing them a dollar to discover if they are Wally. This is how learn budgets function. In typical campaigns, 75-80 percent of the budget and flight is spent on users who were never interested in the ad and systematically eliminating these users.

Enter: campaign pre-optimization. By placing a pixel on an advertiser’s website, we can gather learnings on what traits are common amongst their audience that may be rare amongst the internet. In the Wally example, this is like looking only for people wearing a red and white striped shirt. By utilizing the information that we can gather from a pixel fire, we can narrow the scope of a campaign and eliminate the wasted time and budget spent trying to learn what is going to work for an advertiser.

Now when we look for Wally, we are an informed player in the game. We know who Wally is and what identifies him. Every time someone takes an action digitally, we learn more about the user. We’re aware of their behaviors, we know what browsers and devices they use, we have a sense of what time they make purchases and we can see what sites they’ve been to. We know all of this information before we ever even buy an ad. Through programmatic, audience insights can ensure that your budget is spent targeting an audience that is likely to take action. Armed with a precise and strategic media plan, programmatic may help us eliminate “learn budgets” from our lexicon entirely.