The BLD Blog

A collection of building materials marketing trends and insights focused on helping building product manufacturers BLD their brand.

Programmed for Success


Article Date: March 9, 2021

How to Structure a Smart Programmatic Advertising Campaign

The digital evolution continues to redefine how building materials manufacturers create awareness for their products amongst the people that count – architects, specifiers, developers, contractors, and building owners.

Cold calling? Too old school. Very time-consuming. Doesn’t net solid results.

Trade show engagement? Hampered by COVID. Often prohibitively expensive, and difficult to pinpoint the ROI.

Traditional print advertising? Increasingly less effective, and right now, the publications carrying those ads are being delivered to empty offices. Your prospects are likely not flipping through the pages of a trade magazine. They’re online, conducting their own research on their own terms. In fact, a recent AIA survey showed 85 percent of architects visit a manufacturer’s website when selecting products.

The practices of the past have given way to more efficient methods. That includes precisely targeting the right audience through programmatic advertising.

In essence, programmatic advertising takes your company’s message and delivers it to an environment where your target audience is most likely to be found online. You are not using a specific media outlet or outlets to get in front of your building/construction industry prospects. Instead, programmatic advertising relies on data to profile and pinpoint your target audience. Then, it determines where those people are most likely to be reading something on the internet, and it serves up your ad. Develop a smart, visually appealing ad with a strong call to action, and you have the makings of a digital advertising solution that can drive engagement and produce leads.

Even before identifying your audience and developing creative, your brand needs to ask and answer several critical questions. Your team also needs to understand the rules of engagement and how they apply to you.

What Does Success Look Like?

You know your audience. You have confirmed your message. You’re ready to get started.

Have you settled on a measuring stick?

In today’s environment, it is important to identify and measure against the metrics that will get you what you want.

Is it as simple as driving traffic to the website? Or, do you need to micro-target, drilling down to a very specific audience set? Is geo-fencing necessary so a particular location triggers your ad to be served up? Maybe the true ROI for you is what happens when someone gets to your site – time spent on a page, pages viewed, a low bounce rate, or even enticing someone to download something by providing their contact information.

Knowing what you seek equates to creating the right programmatic advertising ecosystem for your brand.

Best Practices: Choosing Programmatic Vendors

Next comes the selection of the right programmatic vendor. Each has its own data science and algorithms to define audiences and target them appropriately.

By selecting multiple vendors and employing a “test and learn” approach, you can compare and contrast the performance of your ads in differing environments. This enables your brand to identify a certain vendor’s strengths and potential deficiencies as they relate to your ultimate goals. Find the right match, and you may choose to up your investment. Find one that isn’t quite hitting the mark, and you can quickly pivot to investing your dollars elsewhere.

It is also critical to create a set of criteria on how to judge a vendor’s performance:

  • Dollars and Sense: Price is always important, but in the programmatic advertising environment, more precise targeting often drives higher fees.
  • Transparency: How transparent is the vendor in sharing results and reporting metrics? The more transparent a vendor is, the more valuable they are as a partner.
  • Quality vs. Quantity: Some vendors are better at delivering one versus the other. If the end goal is overall traffic, the quantity play makes sense. If the benchmark is more highly qualified leads, certain vendors excel more readily at delivering that kind of ROI. The “test and learn” approach helps uncover these important findings.
  • Technology Edge: Both Apple and Google are phasing out what are called third-party cookies in the years to come. These are the “digital footprints” created by domains other than the one you are visiting directly, and they are often used for behavioral targeting similar to the science behind programmatic advertising. Vendors that have access to first-party data (through partnerships or otherwise) will become more valuable as the paradigm shift occurs.
  • Reporting: What kind of in-depth reporting does a vendor provide? How far do they drill down? Do they provide accessible dashboards that are digestible and available in real time? In a world where metrics rule the day, this is important.

Reducing the Complexity

Programmatic advertising is an important component of any strategic marketing initiative for building materials manufacturers seeking to drive engagement and generate new leads.

By its nature, it is also a complex undertaking.

Know who you seek to target and what you want that prospect to do.

Identify multiple vendors, and be prepared to conduct test drives so you can identify the best partners.

Follow these straightforward rules, and you will better ensure your investment translates into desired results.

Chances are you may not have the expertise or bandwidth on your team to manage programmatic campaigns.

BLD Marketing has experienced professionals that can break down the complexities and ensure your campaign is engineered for success.



BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.