Industry Call Recap: Going Beyond Earned & Owned with Programmatic Advertising

OFN’s May Industry Call centered on programmatic advertising and digital media buying techniques. Subject matter experts, Tom O’Malley from Smart Tap Solutions and Heather Starke from Heather Starke Solutions Inc. shared their knowledge on best practices for maximizing the reach and effectiveness of your advertising dollars, and the experience of introducing programmatic advertising tactics into the marketing mix.

Below are some of the key points discussed on the call. A copy of Tom’s full presentation can be viewed here. For examples of what programmatic advertising looks like in a practical example, Heather’s presentation can be viewed here.


  • EARNED: Newsworthy press releases
  • OWNED: The online spaces you control
  • PAID: Any online ad spaces you buy

Balance is the key to success – there is no single silver bullet activity.

What is a DSP?

  • A DSP (Demand Side Platform) is technology/software to bid for digital ad space on multiple devices/screens/sites/apps and apply user data from 3rd party companies to refine the target audience to increase conversion rates.

What are PROGRAMMATIC ads?

  • Ads booked using automated technology. The tech accesses ”Ad Exchanges” (like “Stock Exchanges” of ad space – use a live auction process to bid & buy).


  1. DSPs access a vast network of vendor neutral ad exchanges such as OPENX, INDEX EXCHANGE, & XANDER. Google Ads only delivers on Google Display Network of sites. A DSP can access BOTH.
  1. DSPs provide better targeting/ad visibility and surround your audience. They can target by page position, viewability, time of day/day of week, frequency, browser language, Device ID historical data, IP & GPS location data, and tap into 30,000 user data segments. They can also deliver ads on DOOH, CTV, Mobile devices, tablets and computers – using audio, video, native and display ad formats.
  2. Most DSPs update their data in real-time vs Google Ads reporting data can be delayed up to 18 hours. This can drastically impact your decision-making. Reach is the big difference between Google Ads and DSPs. As you layer on targeting filters available impression can shrink quickly. DSPs connect to a centralized pool of over 60 billion daily impressions to provide scalability.


  • Page Relevancy
  • Positioning with highest ad viewability
  • 4-7 impressions per user (for quicker reaction – use shorter timeframe).
  • Least clicks needed for conversion (avg click tolerance 2.1
  • Strong Creative – pictures tell a 1,000 word so don’t write them all.

Strategy Notes

  • Last minute executions often have the lowest results.
  • Success begins with planning and a sound strategy.
  • What is the goal (awareness, bums in seats, etc.).
  • Consider how each digital layer will amplify each other to drive conversions.
  • CREATIVE – built with the user/device in mind.
  • Budget – turning print/tv/radio dollars into digital dimes is never successful.
  • Digital is a frequency medium with massive reach – align geo with budget.
  • Target demo within geo x 4-7 impressions.
  • If Time, Budget and Resources is limited, consider a group buy at the start of the season – set it and forget it. Creative build upfront and loaded to avoid last minute panic and chaos to all resources to focus on the event.