Why Content Marketers Should Love Programmatic Marketing

sukornyk-chango-ddt“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Chris Sukornyk, Founder & CEO of Chango.

Programmatic marketing is still a relatively new phenomenon. Those who are familiar with the practice often assume that it’s merely a direct-response tool for media buyers participating in real-time bidding. But programmatic marketing, which is better defined as a way to deliver relevant and unique messages to individuals based on their online behavior, is quickly evolving beyond direct response.

Let’s look at the two fundamental ways to use programmatic marketing for content campaigns.

On-Site Content Optimization

We’re all familiar with very basic data-driven content optimization such as Amazon’s product recommendations. But product recommendations don’t have to be the beginning and end of content optimization. Every publisher can benefit from dynamic content that speaks to individual users separately from the entire audience.

Let’s look at GE as an example. When someone visits a company blog such as gereports.com, marketers can find out the type of content that the visitor previously viewed from GE’s network of websites and other sources. Among other information, marketers should have data on the previous sites the user visited as well as his or her search history.

Why is that important? Because with that data at hand, marketers can direct users to the articles and videos most likely to interest them.

There’s no reason every visitor to gereports.com should see the same homepage, for example. Why not use users’ search-engine data to automatically feature – on a personalized homepage – articles about products the user has searched for? Or use data from the user’s browsing history to deliver content that highlights products the user has browsed on other GE webpages? All you need to deliver a better user experience is a little data and a little imagination.

Off-Site Content Optimization

Most people associate retargeting with display ads – often, unfortunately, with brands such as Zappos, which has earned a reputation for stalking users with ads about every last pair of shoes the user viewed online.

But the beauty of programmatic marketing is that it isn’t limited to display ads. Brands can now use on-site data to deliver content as well. Take the Tide Loads of Hope campaign. If Tide is willing to invest a fortune in advertising and PR to drive consumers to a corporate social responsibility program, it only makes sense for the company to spend a bit more to continue engaging consumers once they leave the Loads of Hope site.

In a direct-response environment, Tide would turn to site retargeting. But Tide could extend beyond display ads with what we might call “content retargeting.” After all, wouldn’t donors to the Tide program want to see content across the Web that reminds them how well the program is progressing? Tide could accomplish this by placing links to articles and videos about the campaign in the promoted links sliders that now appear beneath the primary content on many major publishers’ sites. These sliders can be a great way to bring targeting to the content world.

Such articles are not that different from native advertising. And with all the recent excitement around native campaigns, it’s important to remember that native and programmatic advertising are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, when your campaign targets the right users – and adds real value to the user experience – you’re getting the best of both worlds. So you can expect to see a lot more “content retargeting” in the years ahead.

Follow Chris Sukornyk (@sukornyk) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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