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Programmatic Q&A Spotlight: Key Trends Impacting Programmatic Planning and Execution

Meet GroundTruth’s VP of Programmatic, George Tarnopolsky.

Over the last several years, programmatic has made its mark on the advertising industry. Offering real-time ad solutions, programmatic platforms have changed the way marketers execute targeted, timely, and cost-effective ad campaigns through DSP and PMP platforms. As a seamless automated ad planning and execution tool, it’s no wonder that most brands and agencies have integrated some level of programmatic advertising into their overall marketing mix. In the US alone, advertisers spent 41.2% more on programmatic display ads in 2021—the biggest annual increase since 2016 (eMarketer).

Thousands of GroundTruth audiences are live and ready to activate on all major DSPs

The strong growth in programmatic suggests that it’s not only becoming a key tenant of marketing strategies, but is also changing the dynamics of ad execution and targeting. With the right level of scale, performance, and platform integration, brands can engage a broad mix of audience segments across mobile, CTV, and desktop. However, as the nascent industry continues to mature, there are several trends within programmatic that marketers need to navigate. Alongside changes stemming from identity resolution, the programmatic marketplace is contending with quality controls and brand safety concerns.

In this issue of our Q&A Spotlight, we sit down with GroundTruth’s new VP of Programmatic, GeorgeTarnopolsky, to discuss some of these key trends and how marketers can identify the right programmatic partners to help them reach their marketing goals.

Q: What are some of the key benefits of executing programmatic campaigns?

A: Programmatic gives marketers a software platform to access millions of ad opportunities per second, across every device and channel. Programmatic buying platforms, or DSPs, act as clearing houses for both media as well as audience data, and give buyers ultimate flexibility and control of their digital ad campaigns. Additional benefits include:

  • Transparency into inventory and costs of media, audience data, and platform fees
  • Universal frequency controls of all media running through the platform
  • Low barriers to entry for buying media across all channels–including TV
  • Ability to automatically optimize campaigns towards best performing media and audiences
  • Inventory quality controls, including brand safety, fraud prevention, and viewability

Q: What do marketers need to know about building and executing campaigns programmatically?

A: It’s important that Programmatic isn’t viewed as simply a “race to the bottom” to buy as many impressions as possible, at the lowest cost. Quality of media and audience data is more important as a driver of performance–ad engagement, website conversions, and visits to physical store locations. Programmatic buyers need to make a proactive effort in improving their campaign site list, cleaning up their supply path, and utilizing audience data partners with deterministic versus modeled data.

Q: Should marketers be concerned about what type of data they are accessing programmatically?

A: Yes, absolutely. Marketers need to be concerned with audience data that’s inaccurate. For example, audience data that uses a lot of modeling may result in a large population, but one that is no longer precisely targeted to the correct customer persona. Marketers should vet their audience data partners and inquire into the source and nature of the audiences. A deterministic audience based on actual, observed data, will result in better targeted campaigns, drive results, and eliminate wasted impressions.

Q: What type of programmatic solutions does GroundTruth offer?

A: There are two ways our customers can leverage the benefits of GroundTruth’s verified intent data, in a DSP of their choice.

  • Through Private Marketplace. This is our most comprehensive Programmatic offering and includes all the capabilities of GroundTruth such as On-Premise, Neighborhoods, Audiences, and Weather targeting. This offering includes foot traffic measurement and runs within the mobile app environment.
  • Via Audience Targeting. Audience targeting Includes our extensive library of over 1,500 location and behavioral audiences. Our audiences can be used with any media that a DSP has access to, including Desktop, Mobile, Connected TV, and more. Our full audience list can be found in the Trade Desk’s data marketplace–or sent a la carte to any other DSP.

Q: When should programmatic marketers be using offline behavioral targeting versus contextual targeting?

A: Contextual targeting and behavioral audience targeting are complementary strategies on a programmatic plan. Contextual targeting is generally a lower funnel tactic and great at driving awareness, while audience targeting (especially based on visits to physical locations) is higher in the funnel and better at driving consideration and purchase behaviors.

Q: Do programmatic marketers need to be concerned with brand safety?

A: Brand safety is essential to provide assurance that campaigns are being seen by real people, on real sites, and in a viewable environment. Utilizing brand safety, fraud prevention, viewability, and sitelist exclusion or inclusion list targeting should be a requirement for every programmatic campaign.

Q: What about third party cookies?

A: The general intent of the industry moving away from third party cookies is a good one: users are demanding greater privacy choices, which is also reflected in the current legislative climate. It’s clear that advertising needs to evolve accordingly. Universal IDs like Unified ID 2.0, RampID, or ID5, address the immediate concerns of people seeking greater privacy controls–while also supporting the audience targeting needs of marketers. Long term, it will be interesting to see if universal IDs fully address people’s privacy needs, or if advertising technology needs to evolve further toward cohort-based advertising.


About George Tarnopolsky, VP of Programmatic

George is an advertising industry veteran, with 20 years of ad tech and agency experience. At GroundTruth, George is building an industry-leading programmatic practice,

Prior to GroundTruth, George served as SVP, Programmatic at CMI Media Group (WPP), where he launched and led the agency’s trading desk. Previously, George was VP of Programmatic Strategy at Adelphic, Head of DSP Services at Xandr, and Sales Engineering Lead at Google – in addition to operations-focused roles at Razorfish and Merkle.

George Tarnopolsky
VP of Programmatic