Inconvenient questions about the programmatic: we answer clearly and simply

What is programmatic buying in Internet advertising, know almost everything. Artificial intelligence buys placements, determining the price of the display at the auction in real time – in words everything is simple. But to understand the theory and to have our own experience is not the same.

When we offer to programme to a client who previously did not work with him, he has many fair questions. Is it necessary for him this new technology and what real result will it bring?

We have collected the most popular of the most direct questions about programming. We answer them honestly and in detail for all readers.

Can we get the price of a click in the programming lower than in the context?

If briefly – yes, it is possible. In individual cases and on separate placements. To say that the price of a click in the software is on average lower than in the context is incorrect. But to compare them only on this indicator is also not entirely correct.

Contextual advertising works with already developed demand. A person enters a specific query into the search engine and receives a response in the form of the same specific advertisement. Here click means that the user has found what he was looking for – and intends to purchase it. Therefore, the price of such a clique is convenient to correlate with the income received from it.

But programmatic buying is a media format that works with a higher level of the sales funnel. One of its main tasks is to raise brand awareness and generate deferred demand. If the user relocated to the site through a banner or video, it means that he was interested in their content. Even if he was not going to make a purchase immediately, he is more likely to do it in the future. According to our statistics, up to 40% of conversions from programmed campaigns occur more than 2 weeks after the first visit by the user of the site!

In addition, for this channel, ad views are as important as clicks. While a person reads their favorite resources, artificial intelligence shows him the advertising content in accordance with his interests. This forms a positive association with the brand and helps in the future to make a choice in its favor. That’s why any contact with each unique user matters – and its cost in software is often much cheaper than in context.

Do we always pay for clicks? Can you pay only for the actions performed on the site?

Strictly speaking, no and no. The basic payment scheme for programmatic buying is 1000 impressions or CPM. In order for the user to see the advertisement, 3 systems work simultaneously: the DSP offer purchase platform, the SSP selling platform, and the DMP data management system. To each of them, we pay compensation in the format of CPM. Since customer accounts should be as transparent as possible, they occur on the same basis.

This does not mean that there are no guarantees of clicks and conversions. On the contrary, we agree with advertisers about their minimum quantity. You can also set a CPC or CPA for a price, but you will not be able to pay for them.

Therefore, if you are offered purchasing software on CPC or CPA, be careful. All risks of exceeding the established price will be included in the cost. After all, in the end, payment is still assigned for 1000 hits, and the remaining amounts are calculated. This placement will not always be more profitable than placing on CPM – and it will not insure you from poor-quality traffic.

Is the programmer a banner? No one pays any attention to them!

The share of banners in software is really the biggest. But this happened historically: technology began with them. Recent years are actively developing new promising formats – videos and native advertising. In this case, if the video requires a large investment in production, native advertising is available to every client.

It consists of the same elements as the usual banner: image, text, and title. The main difference is that it is completely masked by the “native” content of the resource. For example, such advertising can get to the gallery of blog posts or to the search page on the site. Other things being equal, native formats usually work more efficiently. Logically: they are located among the functional elements of the site and receive a credit of trust, outwardly merging with them.

So the programmer can offer you much more than the usual banners. We recommend that customers try different formats and, based on the results of the first placements, determine which of them brings the best result.

What if we do not want to be placed on all available sites?

The client’s desire is the law. List of sites for placing your advertising can be limited. But we always warn about the consequences, which it can lead to.

The point is that when advertising is displayed, artificial intelligence is chosen not by the site, but by the person to whom it shows it. Geographic targeting and auditor segments using third-party data allows you to accurately find target users. It does not matter where they are found: on the most visited portal or on all forgotten forums.

Nevertheless, do not forget before the start of the campaign to clarify at your agency at least the top 30 sites where your advertisement will appear. You can exclude any of them from the list, but for this, it is better to have an understandable reason. For example, if you have already launched a special project on one of the resources and want to avoid unnecessary expenditure of money. The classic case is not to show the air carrier’s advertising on news portals, where it can be next to materials about disasters.

When launching advertising, do not abuse the ban sites. Remember that this way you artificially limit its coverage: by reducing the sources on which your target audience could be found. But during the campaign, it is better to regularly ask for statistics on impressions and clicks in the context of the sites. You will see which of them bring you more customers, and which do not bring at all. At this stage, they can be safely turned off – after consulting with their manager.

Where is the guarantee that someone will see our advertisement?

Unfortunately, no advertising technology can keep track of the views of users. But there are still ways to reduce the share of unnoticed hits.

The first and the surest is to use special formats designed for this. These include, for example, fullscreen-placements that open to the full screen of the browser, or videos that do not allow them to skip. They are effective, but they are not available at all sites – and therefore are much more expensive.

The simpler and more popular is the second way – using the Viewability setting when launching advertisements. It is measured in percentages and means a guaranteed share of visible impressions in their total number. The visibility is determined by the IAB standard: 50% of the area of the banner or the video should be in the visibility zone of the browser for at least 1 second. At the planning stage of the campaign, ask the contractor which Viewability threshold will be set for your placements.

Do not be surprised if it turns out to be at the level of 50-60%: in fact, this is a good value. Viewability – the predicted value, and in fact with such settings you will get visibility in the region of 70%. If you want to set a threshold of 70%, you are likely to cut out almost 90% of potential hits.

What is the conversion rate we get?

This question can be answered fairly accurately – but it will be for each advertiser. Show us your statistics, and we’ll tell you how many conversions and at what price you will receive from our placement.

All agencies working with programmatic have accumulated data on what result each instrument produces in a particular industry. But these are only mean values, which often differ by an order of magnitude from real ones. In other words, if now the conversion rate of your site is at the level of 3% – wait from the programming 10% is not worth it. After all, conversion depends not only and not so much on how many people you bring to the site. It is noticeably influenced by such parameters as:

  • the attractiveness of your proposal: today users are accustomed to comparing the goods at different sites;
  • matching the landing page to the advertising creative: if the advertisement of one product leads to the general catalog is not what it was expected of;
  • the convenience of your site: few will want to understand the interface if it is not intuitive
  • the ease of making a purchase: the more clicks it separates the user from the goods, the less faith

That is why in forecasts we are based not only on the average values for the industry but first of all we look at the real statistics of the client. If you are promised to increase the conversion several times without refining the site – treat such proposals with caution.


As you can see, programmatic buying in Internet advertising is not so complicated and inaccessible technology. With proper configuration, it can be more efficient than the usual context-media tools.

You should not wait for the program to go beyond the limits of the conversion jump or lower the cost per click, but it’s definitely worth trying it to promote your product. Broad coverage and extremely accurate targeting will help you find your audience, no matter what resources they visit. Then it’s only for creativity – and a loyal base for future demand is ready.

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