Digital Marketing Study: The Most Effective Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising refers to online ad automation facilitated by AI-driven software, resulting in a more efficient, cost-effective, hands-off approach to targeted advertising. It’s used to automatically bid on a range of popular ad networks, social media platforms, apps, exchanges and other sites, based on your defined algorithms. Additionally, it provides deep insights and data to build even more effective campaigns as time goes on.

It is little wonder that it’s a marketing method that’s growing in popularity. The majority of marketers expect to increase budget allocation to the practice, even as their overall budget decreases to cope with economic upheaval.

“With increased access to programmatic technologies, and a rapidly evolving landscape, this form of digital ad-buying is becoming a common component of marketing strategies,” concludes Ascend2’s State of Programmatic Advertising report. “Three-quarters (76%) of marketing professionals surveyed report that they are using programmatic advertising to some extent as a part of their digital marketing efforts.”

Primary Objectives

The survey found programmatic advertising is being used for more than simply increasing sales. Forty-seven percent of marketers also use it as part of their ‘top of the funnel’ strategy, focusing on lead generation and brand building.

  • Driving Sales 53%
  • Lead Generation 47%
  • Brand Awareness 47%
  • Customer Retention 36%
  • Social Engagement 22%
  • Lead Nurturing 18%
  • Community Building 16%
  • Message or Offer Testing 14%

The Most Effective Digital Marketing Tactics

Targeting is of utmost importance in programmatic advertising online, be it audience targeting or keyword targeting.

  • Audience Targeting 73%
  • Keyword Targeting 41%
  • Retargeting 27%
  • Contextual Targeting 26%
  • Geo Targeting 25%
  • Testing Creative 22%
  • Increasing Automation 20%

The Most Meaningful Metrics Used in Programmatic Advertising

What is the best way to measure the success of your marketing campaigns? Six in ten marketers say Return on Investment (ROI) is the most meaningful success indicator. The majority of online marketing professionals recommend using more than one metric, with the following cited as the most accurate indicators.

Return on Investment (ROI) 61% – How much money you make after deducting the amount spent.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) 38% – The ROAS answers the question of how much money you’ll receive for every advertising dollar. It’s critical for calculating your cost per customer acquisition. If you’re new to this metric, Disruptive Advertising has an excellent guide to teach you more about it.

Click-Thru Conversion (CTC) 34% – A CTC occurs when your ad is clicked on and the visitor converts (makes a purchase, signs up, or whatever your goal is for the ad).

Cost Per Click (CPC) 32% – How much it costs for each click on your ad.

Click-Thru Rate (CTR) 24% – How many clicks your ad gets per number of impressions.

View-Thru Conversion (VTC) 15% – VTC is the number of customers who saw your ad and didn’t click, but converted at a later time.

It’s the Future of Digital Marketing

Programmatic advertising has grown into a valuable part of strategic digital marketing plans for businesses big and small. More than three quarters of those surveyed by Ascend2 said they’re using it to one degree or another.

Have you tried it yet? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.

Source: The State of Programmatic Advertising: Strategies, Tactics & Trends. Survey conducted by Ascend2 and research partners. May, 2020.

You may also be interested in reading:
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Top 10 Reasons 86% of Marketers Work with Influencers
How to Start an Affiliate Program for a Canadian Business


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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on,,, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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believe it or not this is the first time I heard of programmatic advertising. It has to be more effective than without it. half the time I feel like I”m shooting in the dark. I can’t wait to try….