Programmatic video advertising — which uses automated processes to buy and display video ads in real-time — is a powerful digital marketing tool that helps businesses grow by harnessing the power of AI and machine learning.

In the first half of 2023, the number of programmatic digital video ad views in the United States increased by 21 percent compared with the first half of 2022, and marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. 

This technology has many benefits, including increased reach, precise targeting, cost efficiency, and insightful analytics, making it an essential tool for modern marketers.

But how do you choose the best programmatic video agency to partner with? Finding the right provider can impact the success of your campaign and return on investment, but with so many to choose from, it can be a daunting task.

We asked industry experts to help us round up the ten most important factors to consider when choosing a programmatic video advertising platform so you can make an informed decision.

Let’s dive in. 

1. Target Audience and Reach

Effective targeting “lets you zoom in on your audience by their habits, where they are, and who they are,” according to Sudhir Khatwani, Director of The Money Mongers

Therefore, when selecting a programmatic video advertising platform, it’s essential to look at their audience targeting and reach capabilities. Here are the main aspects to consider:

Targeting accuracy: Ensure the provider can accurately target your desired audience using advanced data analysis and segmentation techniques, focusing on user behavior and interests.

Geographic and demographic coverage: Assess the provider’s geographic reach, ensuring they can effectively deliver ads in your target regions. Also, evaluate their ability to target specific demographic groups, including age, gender, and income levels, to tailor your messaging effectively.

Advanced targeting techniques: Look for a programmatic video advertising platform employing advanced targeting strategies like lookalike audience modeling, retargeting, and contextual targeting to enhance campaign effectiveness.

Data integration and compliance: Ensure the provider can integrate with external data sources for improved targeting accuracy and verify compliance with data privacy regulations.

2. Inventory Quality

“Your video advertising’s effectiveness depends on a partner’s ad inventory,” explains Adam Young, CEO of Event Tickets Center. “It protects your brand from being associated with bad content, safeguarding its integrity online.”

Here are some key considerations when looking at a provider’s ad inventory:

Alignment with brand and campaign goals: The provider’s inventory should complement your brand image and resonate with your campaign goals.

High-quality inventory is relevant to your target audience and can foster positive engagement with your brand.

Brand safety measures: To maintain your brand’s integrity, verify the provider’s brand safety measures, as these will ensure your ads don’t appear alongside inappropriate or harmful content. 

Familiarize yourself with the provider’s approach to brand safety and the ad formats they consider safe to be sure they align with your brand.

Access to Premium Inventory through PMPs: Investigate whether the programmatic video advertising platform offers ‘always-on’ premium inventory through private marketplaces (PMPs). 

These deals provide access to high-quality inventory that is continually available, allowing for more consistent ad performance and brand alignment.

3. Ad Formats and Creatives

“Opt for a partner that makes it easy to test various creative and placement options,” advises Jon Morgan, CEO of VentureSmarter. “This is important because you want to experiment with different ad formats and placements to find what works best for your brand.”

Your provider should support a wide range of video ad formats, including in-stream ads like pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll, as well as out-stream or native video ads and in-banner video ads. This variety is essential for engaging viewers at different stages and in various content contexts.

Moreover, the provider should be able to craft interactive and engaging creatives that incorporate clickable calls-to-action (CTAs) and interactive storytelling elements, enhancing viewer engagement and making the ads more impactful.

Finally, personalization capabilities should be a crucial factor in your decision, as the ability to personalize content to each viewer will boost the effectiveness of your campaigns. 

4. Data Targeting and Insights

“A partner who can turn data into insight is essential,” says Michael Wall, founder of Codefixer. “Real-time performance data is a key indicator of your partner’s strength — a good partner gives you a dynamic score so you can adjust your campaign composition as the performance proceeds.”

Your programmatic partner should offer advanced targeting options that use comprehensive data such as demographics, user behavior, interests, and mobile footprinting, which includes location data. 

This depth in targeting allows for more precise and effective ad placements, ensuring that your message reaches the most relevant audience.

In addition to targeting, the provider’s analytics and reporting capabilities are crucial. These features enable you to gain detailed insights into the performance of your campaigns. 

With robust analytics, you can understand how your ads are performing in real-time, allowing for swift adjustments and optimization. This level of insight is vital for refining your strategies and maximizing the return on your investment.

Another key aspect to consider is whether the provider can offer cross-device attribution, which allows you to track the customer journey across various devices, providing a holistic view of how your ads influence user behavior. 

It’s an essential feature in today’s multi-device world, where consumers often switch between smartphones, tablets, and computers. A provider that offers cross-device attribution gives you a more comprehensive understanding of your campaign’s impact, aiding in more informed decision-making and strategy development.

5. Fraud Prevention

Robust ad fraud prevention measures are essential when choosing a programmatic video ads platform. The right partner should employ advanced technologies, including sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, to detect and prevent ad fraud. 

These tools identify irregular traffic patterns and filter out bot activities, ensuring your ads reach genuine audiences. 

A provider that prioritizes fraud prevention will continuously update its methodologies to counter new fraud tactics to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. 

By selecting a partner that prioritizes combating ad fraud, you can ensure your campaigns reach real, engaged viewers.

6. Channel Availability

When evaluating a programmatic video ads provider, you’ll need to verify their support for ads across all key video channels, including: 

Broad channel availability allows your campaigns to reach audiences wherever they consume video content, enabling you to maximize your reach and enhance the effectiveness of your advertising strategy.

7. Scalability and Performance

Your chosen provider must have the infrastructure and capability to handle the scale of your campaigns, regardless of their size or complexity. This means having robust systems in place that can manage large volumes of ad placements and traffic without compromising performance.

The provider’s ability to maintain high performance levels as your campaign scales up is equally important. This involves consistently delivering ads quickly and efficiently, ensuring your message reaches your target audience without delays or technical issues. 

The right partner will be able to accommodate the current scope of your campaigns while possessing the foresight and resources to scale alongside your business’s growth and evolving advertising needs.

8. Ad Placement and Context

“It’s crucial to know where your ads are popping up and how they’re performing,” says Sudir Khatwani. Ad placement and context are about ensuring your ads appear in environments that align with your brand image. This involves evaluating where and how your ads will be displayed to ensure they’re seen in contexts that enhance your brand’s message rather than detract from it.

The relevance of the ad’s environment is equally important. Your ads should be placed in contexts that resonate with your target audience so that the content surrounding your ads is appropriate and aligned with your brand values. 

This strategic placement reinforces your brand’s message while increasing the effectiveness of your ad campaign, as ads placed in relevant contexts are more likely to engage and resonate with viewers. 

9. Viewability

“Opt for a partner that provides transparent reporting on key metrics such as impressions, click-through rates, and viewability,” says Tom Andrew, founder and lead developer of Where To Stream. “Access to real-time data and analytics enables you to make informed decisions and optimize your video advertising strategy for better results,” he adds. 

Viewability refers to the percentage of ads that are visible on the user’s screen for a sufficient duration. A provider committed to high viewability standards will employ advanced tracking and optimization techniques to monitor and improve the visibility of your ads. 

10. KPIs

When partnering with a programmatic video advertising platform, it’s vital to ensure they have a clear understanding of the role of video in achieving various key performance indicators (KPIs) across the marketing funnel. 

Different video channels play distinct roles in the funnel, and the provider should recognize and optimize for this. For instance, CTV is often used for brand awareness campaigns because its broad reach and immersive viewing experience make it ideal for introducing a brand or product to a wide audience, placing it at the top of the funnel. 

On the other hand, pre-roll video ads, which are displayed before the main content, can be effective lower in the funnel, particularly when targeted to specific audiences. These ads are useful for driving conversions or direct responses, especially when they’re tailored to viewers who have already shown an interest in similar products or services.

Aligning video channels with the appropriate stages in the marketing funnel is crucial for maximizing impact, whether that’s building initial awareness or nudging a potential customer closer to a purchase. 

Succeed with Programmatic Video Ads and Grapeseed Media

If you’re ready to partner with a trusted programmatic video expert, check out Grapeseed Media’s Digital Video Solutions.

Our team of specialists is well-versed in designing and implementing human-driven, data-powered strategies to ensure that every ad campaign yields the best ROI for businesses just like yours. 

Get in touch with us to discover how we can help you.