One of the questions I have had in the back of my mind ever since I began running programmatic ad campaigns for clients has been whether targeted ad impressions are really more effective than simple, single-site ROS impressions. For those of you who have a lot of experience in the industry, the answer is a simple one: of course targeted is better. But for the lay person - the person whose job it is to sell widgets, not ad impressions - the question is a valid one. It is also valid to ask, "how do you know?"
So which one gets better results? Well, I have never been one to boil everything down to absolute black and white. So what you are about to see shouldn't be taken as gospel on every day of the week let alone Sunday. It should, however, serve as a good example of the good that good data can do. What you are about to see is a real scenario. The ad campaign data comes from a real advertiser and a real ad campaign.
Advertiser: undisclosed local advertiser (hey, we have to respect privacy!)Campaign goal: deliver as many impressions as possible to a hard-to-reach, pre-determined audience within the local community so as to drive as much traffic as possible to a specific page on the advertiser's website.
Set-up: part of the advertiser's budget was used to run a non-programmatic, single-site Run Of Site (ROS) campaign on a popular news and information website in the local market. The other part of the budget was used to buy targeted desktop and mobile impressions using a variety of unique tactics (mobile run-of-network, geo-fencing, contextual, search retargeting, site retargeting, Facebook Exchange).
Results: we served more programmatic impressions than non-programmatic; the programmatic campaign earned more clicks to the site and, more importantly, did it with nearly double the clickthrough rate (CTR).
Non-programmatic ads served: 220,522
Programmatic ads served: 277,254
Non-programmatic clicks: 153
Programmatic clicks: 330
Non-programmatic CTR: 0.07%
Programmatic CTR: 0.12%
The thing to remember here is this: this was the same advertiser, with the same spend, over the same time period. By taking advantage of everything targeted advertising has to offer, the advertiser was able to reach highly qualified customers in a much more efficient manner.
So, does programmatic advertising work? Of course it does!