6 Breakout Programmatic Strategies to Get Noticed Over the Holidays

hands of santa typing on keyboard

By Jason Wulfsohn, CEO of AUDIENCEX

Programmatic is no longer just an elaborate experiment in efficiently selling and pricing ads in a real-time automated way—it’s everything. U.S. programmatic digital spending grew at double-digit rates during the pandemic, and next year nine in ten digital ad dollars will be transacted using some form of automation.

The reason is simple: Programmatic delivers. It’s more efficient, it’s real-time, it offers cost efficiency and measurable ROI—and it works well in cross-device campaigns. It’s also evolving quickly with ever more opportunities to stand out—and that’s key in a saturated media environment, especially during the holidays.

We analyzed consumer behavior to zero in on six time-tested and foolproof strategies for using programmatic to get noticed and get results this time of year:

Connect with your audiences with CTV. Connected TV has exploded in growth over the last year, and advertisers are embracing CTV ads as an effective way of reaching their target audience. Nearly 73% of CTV buyers report shifting budget from broadcast and cable to CTV in 2021 according to a recent survey by IAB. That’s because CTV has highly targeted, unskippable, trackable, and brand-safe ads that are guaranteed to make an impact. They provide a broadcast-like ad experience, without the drawbacks of the ‘spray and pray’ approach of traditional TV ads.

Try PMPs to access a more exclusive inventory set. Private marketplaces or PMPs offer more targeted third-party audiences than off-the-shelf inventory. Consider Preferred Deals to lock in a negotiated flat rate or Programmatic Guaranteed deals for a fixed upfront price and for inventory that is critical to delivering campaigns and maintaining performance. Publishers will begin to sell out of inventory in weeks, so don’t wait on this one. Many buyers hold off until they have trouble delivering on their campaigns to engage with PMPs and by then it’s too late. 

Use your own dataand then expand your reach with lookalike modeling. Don’t let your first-party CRM data go to waste this season. Onboard what you’ve got, and take your marketing messages cross channel to upsell, cross-sell or re-engage lapsed customers. Then, use lookalike modeling to find more prospects. Identify your ideal audience and let the AI do the heavy lifting to help you find more customers.

Let the creative tech do the hard work; personalize it to close the deal. Refresh your programmatic creative with holiday or promotional messaging to emphasize any value propositions of the season. Consider solutions like Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO), which allows you to personalize the ads or messages a particular viewer or audience sees. This is a particularly strong strategy for retailers with multiple locations or anyone who wants to show different messaging to different audiences. Personalizing creative can be highly effective in improving your ROI too: 48% of people want personalized products and offers, and 77% are more inclined to shop with brands that personalize content across their online shopping journey. And don’t forget to localize your content either: 55% of shoppers are loyal to brands that localize creative content.

Keep your holiday ad inventory switched on well into January. Retailers have trained shoppers to keep buying into the new year. Although you’ll want to focus most of your budget to land before Christmas, more than half of consumers plan to make non-gift purchases during the holidays—and after. Since 56% of all shoppers buy gift cards, consumers redeeming those they have received is another conversion opportunity not to be overlooked. The period between Christmas and New Year’s is also a great time to reach shoppers who didn’t convert before the holidays.

Compliment with search. Search is still the number one way people find things online and many keywords are seasonal. If you’re ranking well for your main keywords, you’ll pick up on a ton of extra free traffic. Make sure your programmatic PPC program is tuned up and ready now for holiday shoppers.

​​2020 was the biggest holiday season ever for marketers and retailers—and 2021 is shaping up to be even more competitive. Give yourself a head start by getting your programmatic strategies in place now.