The human side of programmatic

4 min read

How to deliver better performance through programmatic advertising is a challenge faced by all student marketers. With the landscape constantly changing, budgets being cut and the imminent death of the cookie looming, how can you ensure your ads are hitting the mark, your content engages your audience and your ad spend is in the right places? 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Programmatic may be complex, but understanding how to make the most of your digital ad spend doesn’t need to be. At our recent Think Student Live event, Advertising Director Tom Setter walked us through the basics, and we’re here to share what we learned. 

So, what exactly is programmatic? 

Programmatic ad buying uses AI to analyse a user’s behaviour, producing real-time results to inform ad campaigns. In a nutshell, programmatic allows you to reach and connect with an engaged audience. And with 94.5% of UK digital display ad spend now via programmatic, and this set to grow further, making it work for your institution is key.

Find your audience

The main thing to consider? Students are increasingly seeking differentiation. You need to put them first in your advertising, then overlay their specific challenges, strengths and weaknesses to find the groups, the contexts, the moments and occasions that will allow you to find and connect with them.

Disrupt and cut through at the right time to win attention, then create a powerful emotional connection using data to understand what channel and content will cement the bond with your potential students. Drive meaningful action when it matters. Understand the barriers and motivations of your prospective students to nudge them along their decision-making process, break those final barriers down and convert them through to enrolment.

Target your ads in the right places

The easiest way to ensure your ads are reaching the right people, in the right places is through using a specialist student advertising platform such as Akero.

Akero’s Student Marketplace is the only specialist ecosystem specifically curated for the global prospective student audience. Using data points of billions of successful student enrolment campaigns and cutting edge programmatic technology to serve the right adverts to the right audience. And with a 100% brand safe media inventory, zero tolerance to ad fraud and 15% of all Student MarketPlace media representing or owned by LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority communities, you can be assured that your advertising spend is ethical too.

Address the cookie problem

63% of organisations are not prepared for a cookieless world. First party

cookies will continue to exist and brands and institutions should continue to invest in data initiatives. Apple, Safari and Firefox are already third-party cookieless, so get prepared and use them as a testing ground for when Google finally makes the move. And don’t panic, there is still time to plan - download our guide to cookies whitepaper for more on how to get ready for this change.

Get the context right

Contextual advertising provides a way to make a meaningful connection with your potential students, and reach high-intent prospects without violating their need for privacy online. Targeting your ads in this way is a vital ingredient for your media mix, enabling them to be displayed near relevant content at the right time and making the most of your marketing budget. 

New innovations in contextual advertising allow you to connect better with your prospective students. From natural language processing - making sure the content is relevant to your brand - to emotional tone detection, this highly-tuned targeting ensures your ads are always served in the right places. Meaning more traffic to your sites, and more conversions.

Connect through content

So, your ads are being targeted at the right people, in the right places. Now your content needs to meaningfully connect. Win prospective students’ attention,  create those connections and inspire them to take action through great content. Engage them with video storytelling; who you are and why they should care. Think infographics, listicles and editorial pieces. Quality not quantity.

Great campaigns are more than the right message at the right time. They’re distinctive, memorable and motivating, and that means creative thinking. To enable better, more meaningful connections, we must prioritise the perspective of the customer, the human, now, next, and above everything.

You can learn more about how to make the most of programmatic advertising with our Think Student Live session on demand, or get in touch today to talk to our experts about your future campaign strategies.