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Naomi SherryJanuary 10, 20244 min read

Marketer to marketer: Lessons learned from running programmatic

As B2B buying behaviors are changing with consumerization, adding channels to your campaigns has become crucial to reaching your audience where they are. Get some insight for running your own programmatic program from these lessons learned from our recent campaign.

First, a little background on our programmatic campaign:

We ran a programmatic program for 7 months. We believe it’s important to continue testing our strategies and tactics—and to put our team’s abilities to the test along the way. We segmented the program into two campaigns: one managed by our internal programmatic experts and one run through an outside organization. In these two campaigns, we ran identical creative and used the same audience – the only difference was the strategy.

The results:

Working with our internal team, we saw better results, including:

  • Increased CTR: from a monthly average of .07% to .22% (The industry benchmark is between .04 and .08%)

  • Lower CPM: from a monthly average of $16.05 to $6.70

  • More impressions: from a monthly average of 429,250 to 1,054,175

Here are a few lessons learned from our recent programmatic campaign:

Don't be afraid to rework your initial budget framework

Retargeting our audience was an important part of our programmatic strategy. So, initially we dedicated a good-sized chunk of our budget (30%) to make sure we were retargeting them effectively, which ended up being too much based on our program parameters.

Because of our audience size and the frequency caps we set, we weren’t able to realistically reach our target spend levels. Our audience was maxing out on the times they saw our ads due to the frequency caps we put in place to prevent ad fatigue. This meant we underspent our budget for two months in a row.

Once the problem was identified we shifted our budget to a 45/45/5/5 split (45% primary prospecting, 45% secondary prospecting, 5% primary retargeting, 5% secondary retargeting), which worked much better for our goals.

Get better results through multichannel campaigns

We used programmatic as an awareness channel for this campaign. When we added it to our strategy we saw a large uptick in both display and direct website traffic. Before adding this channel to our strategy we were primarily focused on LinkedIn ads for this campaign. When we expanded to a multichannel strategy, we saw the benefits and drove more web traffic and awareness.

A good CSM experience makes a world of difference

One of the biggest lessons learned: a knowledgeable Customer Success Manager (CSM) is key. When you start running a campaign, it can be hard to capture its complexity and the little nuances in a standard intake form. That’s where having a great CSM in your corner makes a big difference.

Our CSM is the one who dug into the details, asked the questions, and made sure the executing team knew how the campaign should be set up. They were there to make sure the campaign was a success and run the way we expected it to be.

The CSMs also give you weekly progress reports so you can see what’s happening in real time. From there, we could work with them to make optimizations, and they’d relay our concerns back to the executing team and share any recommendations from them with us.

If you don’t have a responsive and involved CSM you could end up frustrated with outstanding requests and a campaign that isn’t performing to your expectations. Anteriad’s CSMs have really been an asset in making our program work for us.

Don’t wait on optimizations

We believe in acting fast and learned in this campaign that waiting for more data before you decide to optimize your campaign isn’t always the best thing to do.

You may notice that your ads need time to settle in when it comes to cost per click (CPC). We found that the first month has the highest CPC as the campaign gains traction, and then it levels off. We saw that trend with both the external organization and the Anteriad programmatic team’s management of our campaign. So don’t worry if your CPC seems high your first month. Just look out for your CPC next month to make sure it levels off. If it doesn’t, talk to your programmatic provider about how to fix it.

In general, if an ad’s underperforming, just turn it off. No need to wait to see if the next month will be different. This, of course, is only the case when there isn’t an outside consideration the team has flagged.

When you’re looking at your reports, keep an eye out for the outliers. If your average CTR is 0.15%, and two ads are coming in at 0.03%, go ahead and turn those off. On the other hand, if you have a few that are only slightly underperforming at 0.12%, keep them going for another month and reevaluate during your next metrics review.

Ready to add programmatic to your integrated strategy?

The best way to see how programmatic fits into your strategy is to work with a team experienced in programmatic and run a test program. We learned a lot from running a program over just a few months. Going into the new year, we’ll approach programmatic with our newfound insights.


Naomi Sherry

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