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Choosing the Right Programmatic Analytics Platform: Here's What You Should Know

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

The digital advertising world is in a constant state of evolution.

How businesses used to buy ads was lengthy and complicated and often required many manual steps. That’s where programmatic advertising comes in.

This digital-based advertising has transformed the way people buy and sell ads online. Programmatic digital advertising is data-led marketing that allows marketing professionals to access an extensive network of relevant publishers while having total visibility over each marketing campaign.

In 2021 alone, advertisers throughout the United States spent 41.2% more on programmatic ads than before.

Combining automated software and artificial intelligence (AI), businesses can use programmatic digital advertising to see precisely where their ads appear, whether they’re reaching their intended audience, who else is seeing them, and how profitable they are in real-time.  

With less manual time spent on advertising campaigns and deeper visibility into all aspects of a marketing campaign, programmatic advertising is a win-win.   

Now that we understand the importance and impact of programmatic advertising and analytics, we must understand the market to make informed decisions on the right programmatic analytics platform for your business.

But how do you know which platform is right for your business? That’s what we’re here to help with.

Let’s dive deeper into understanding ten things to do before choosing a platform and then explore popular platforms in more detail.

10 Things to Do Before Selecting a Programmatic Analytics Platform

1. Define Your Advertising Goals

Before opting into any programmatic analytics platform, your marketing team must identify your business goals and objectives. Knowing these goals helps you understand which programmatic elements are non-negotiables in your chosen platforms.

Consider these features:

  • ad inventory
  • audience segmentation
  • channel options
  • device options

Once you’ve defined your needs and goals, it's easier to leverage these insights into developing a short and long-term advertising plan with the help of a programmatic analytics platform.

2. Put Data Transparency and Privacy Protection at the Forefront

Data transparency and privacy protection are crucial for any digital platform—programmatic analytics included.

While searching for the right platform for your business, ensure you get ample privacy protection and fluid data transparency for each ad campaign. After all, the goal is to see exactly where your ads appear and what those conversions look like in real-time.

You should always know exactly how the money you put into each ad translates to dollars earned and conversions acquired. Your platform should provide 24/7 access to ad campaign data and plenty of privacy protection to keep your business and personal secure.

3. Explore UX

Finding an easy-to-use and intuitive tool is essential for you and your team.

Once you’ve narrowed down your platform options, it is a good rule of thumb to opt into a free demo of each contender to review its functionality and determine ease of use.

It won’t take long to determine whether the system you're trying out has what you need and operates in a way that suits your needs.

If a particular interface is hard to navigate, confusing, or takes too long to process a single ad campaign or turn around real-time analytics, that’s a big red flag. Keep looking.

4. Weigh the Costs

Cost is an integral part of any marketing strategy, platform additions included.

While some programmatic platforms charge a fixed monthly or yearly price, others approach cost with a flexible on-demand model with varying costs based on your needs and overall usage.

Before signing on the dotted line, take the time to review and understand all fees required of the service you are joining, including:

  • minimum fees
  • upfront cost
  • one-time or maintenance fees
  • onboarding fees
  • media cost
  • billing cycles

5. Review Ad Formatting and Targeting Options

Another crucial aspect of choosing the right programmatic analytics platform is understanding which provides a substantial demand for the ad formats you’d like to use, like video, audio, display, or mobile. 

Even if you currently use only a few format types, choosing a platform with flexible targeting options is essential to building effective and lucrative campaigns.

6. Ensure Demand Sources Meet the Needs of Your Target Audience

The goal of any ad is to resonate with your target audience so they move from potential customers to long-term brand loyalists.

When selecting a programmatic analytics platform, ensuring it covers your targeted geographical area and offers plenty of demand sources—ad networks, exchanges, and direct and private deals—is essential.

7. Analyze Backend Technology 

Backend technology is rarely top of mind when most businesses look into purchasing a programmatic analytics platform, but how and where it’s hosted is crucial to the success and functionality of your final choice.

While some third-party tech platforms offer a long list of helpful features and steady performance, the most reputable and successful supply-side platform (SSP) providers maintain their own platforms.

8. Explore Integration Capabilities

To avoid unnecessary headaches, find a tool that seamlessly integrates with the third-party tools, platforms, and legacy systems you already use or may need to implement in the future.

9. Find a Long-Term, Scalable Solution

Look for a programmatic solution that allows for deep customization. Your business should be able to optimize data fields, formulas, reports, dashboards, and calculations to suit your unique business goals.

Platforms allowing businesses to configure their own data give skilled marketing analysts better insight into which campaigns work for their target audience—and why.

10. Don’t Forget the Importance of Technical Support

Optimal technical support is crucial when integrating a system into daily business operations.

Whether you’ve spent years using a particular programmatic analytics platform or this is your first go-round, the availability, and quality of technical support should be a crucial consideration in your final decision.

When reviewing the technical support quality, consider aspects such as:

  • business hours
  • available communication tools
  • average response time
  • training materials

14 Popular Programmatic Analytics Platforms

Now that we’ve discussed exactly what to look for when choosing the right programmatic analytics platform for your business, let’s dive deeper into the most popular ones.

If you’ve perused the list of must-dos and popular programs and still find yourself stumped on what program would work best for your current and future needs, we can help.

Having the right platform will allow you to attract a wider audience and convert high-quality leads more quickly, making the customer journey easier for your business and your customers.

Here are 14 popular platforms that help businesses execute performance-driven ad campaigns by optimizing return on ad spend (ROAS) and delivering fine-tuned data tracking capabilities that meet the needs of your business.

Please note that platforms are listed in no particular order.

1. Google Ad Manager

This popular platform specializes in streamlining operations and capturing value from every impression through ad exchanges, channels, and networks.

2. PubMatic

This platform specializes in connecting publishers with ad buyers using automated systems. It allows users to opt out of having personal data collected on all organic internet searches.

3. MediaMath

A great option to help marketing teams with important ad pillars on one platform, MediaMath covers essential aspects of advertisement and data collection, including:

  • advertising data
  • audience segmentation
  • programmatic marketing

4. Adobe Advertising Cloud DSP

This platform specializes in cross-screen and cross-channel integrations. It is impactful for:

  • planning
  • buying
  • measurement
  • optimization


This system delivers integrated omnichannel workflows and helps media buying businesses perform efficiently.

6. StackAdapt

This is an excellent option for business that want to distribute and promote their content using real-time, data-driven audience targeting.

7. PulsePoint

A leader in accelerating programmatic data analytics, this program delivers relevant and personalized real-time information when you need it most.

8. AdRoll

Created with a strong emphasis on your target audience, AdRoll is a sophisticated audience targeting system that uses cross-channel engagement, advanced measurement features, and attribution to provide personalized and comprehensive data.

9. Lotame

The flexible ad solutions platform uses deep data insights to strengthen new and existing customer relationships throughout your customer journey.

10. Audience Studio by Salesforce

Like Lotame, Audience Studio strongly focuses on creating deep and meaningful relationships with your customers through data that helps establish a comprehensive and fulfilling customer journey for all.

11. SmartyAds

A leader in AI-based solutions, this platform specializes in programmatic solutions that use machine learning and smart technology to provide meaningful data for more robust conversion.

12. Xandr (fka AppNexus)

Unlike other platforms, Xandr specializes in buying and selling consumer-focused digital advertising for large-scale return on investment for buyers and sellers. 

13. Criteo

A robust self-service cost-per-click (CPC) option, Criteo is based around bidding—allowing advertisers to place bids on retargeting campaigns and optimize new and existing ad strategies in real-time.

14. theTradeDesk

theTradeDesk is designed to provide users with a personalized digital content experience. It specializes in live marketing automation technologies, products, and services.

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