Help Local Advertisers Avoid Programmatic Buying Pitfalls

BY Rachel Cagle
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Local advertisers who utilize programmatic ads without proper guidance are likely wasting their money. Instead of spending some money to seek the help of experienced agencies and other professionals, many brands are relying on their own, usually insufficient understanding of the programmatic buying process and it’s costing them. Here’s how you can help.

Help Local Advertisers Avoid Programmatic Buying Pitfalls

Open Web Programmatic

The ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study, open web programmatic has grown in popularity among marketers. After all, it allows brands to reach “broad and diverse audiences efficiently across the entire internet." However, without an expert eye guiding local advertisers, it can be difficult for them to distinguish between good and low quality sites.

Made for Advertising Sites

According to ANA, about 15% of programmatic advertising ends up going toward made for advertising (MFA) websites instead of high quality ones. That’s roughly $13 billion going to sites that typically use, “sensational headlines, clickbait, and provocative content to attract visitors and generate page views.” However, these sites also usually feature, “low-​quality content, and may use tactics such as pop-​up ads, auto-​play videos, or intrusive ads to maximize ad revenue.” This spells trouble for local advertisers. Not only are their ads ending up on sites with subpar content, their ads are being showcased in an annoying and unwelcome way. All that could negatively impact the brand’s reputation among potential customers.

Cost vs. Value

Another common problem among local advertisers is that they choose cost savings over value in programmatic ads. Getting the most impressions for every ad dollar spent may seem like a good plan to brands. However, “cheap” and “quality” rarely coincide. “Chasing cheap CPMs will likely lead to a cascade of downstream ad quality issues that might not be initially detectable,” says ANA.

Trying to get the most ads out of each dollar is likely the equivalent of throwing that money away. Local advertisers need help to actually make the most out of their programmatic budgets. That may mean fewer impressions, but they’ll be higher quality ones on higher quality websites.

Number of Websites Used

The average brand uses 44,000 websites in their programmatic ad strategy. How many of those can actually be quality sites? Again, this issue comes down to stretching every dollar to get as much as the brand can. If local advertisers can streamline the number of websites they use instead, they’ll diminish the risk of purchasing non-​viewable and fraudulent inventory, says ANA. Thousands of websites aren’t necessary. “Advertisers can reach a high percentage of target audiences using a few hundred websites,” says ANA. “Care must be taken, however, to ensure any reduction is both fair and equitable for small or minority-​owned or minority-​targeted service providers and the audiences they deliver.”

What kind of sites should your potential local advertisers be placing their ads on? You can look that up on their target audiences’ profiles on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. There, you’ll be able to look up details about each audience’s:

  • Internet usage (e.g., what percentage of the audience uses the internet to perform various activities, such as playing online games and researching health or medical information)
  • What they’re interested in
  • What they intend to purchase within the next year and what’s driving them to make those purchases
  • Where they do their pre-​purchase research
  • And much more


Local advertisers need help choosing websites that are actually going to give them the programmatic ad impressions they’re after. Let your potential clients know that they don’t have to do this alone. You can provide guidance that will help them make the most of their budgets, and that will make all the difference.

Photo by Elisa Ventur