5 Fundamental Programmatic Skills To Brush Up On

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A new year means new resolutions—a fresh start to develop new skills and sharpen old ones!

New resolutions often come with new challenges. As a media buyer, you can likely trade ads in your sleep. And sometimes that means you find yourself on cruise control as you work through your campaigns over the year. Time to hit the reset button and run through a quick refresher of some fundamental programmatic skills.

Programmatic advertising has had a revolutionary impact on the digital marketing ecosystem. It empowers marketers with greater campaign control and offers real-time insights on how campaigns are performing. The goal? Maximize the impact your digital campaigns have on overall business outcomes. So, let’s maximize the impact you can have on your programmatic campaigns.

Who Is the Programmatic Trader

A programmatic trader is an expert in the digital advertising space and often wears multiple hats—a-jack-of-all-trades. They are strategic, providing recommendations to reach a client’s KPIs and objectives, and operational, where they execute and report on campaigns against a media plan.

And that’s really what clients are looking for—having a skilled trader on their side who can identify emerging trends, has in-depth knowledge of new tools and is able to uncover opportunities such as new data partners and integrations. Being a good programmatic trader means running campaigns that perform—being a highly skilled programmatic trader means running high-performing campaigns that get results! 

We want to make sure you’re the latter, so here are 5 ways you can brush up on your skills this year.

1. Be In-Tune With the Tech

Become that go-to person on your marketing team when it comes to everything programmatic. Revisit your technical skills beyond campaign setup, but also regarding pixels, tracking and troubleshooting. Take some time to review the best practices and identify what pieces of technology you need to succeed. 

For starters, take another look at the demand-side platform (DSP) you’re using. Have they released any new features or functionalities that you haven’t had time to leverage or benefit from? Now’s the time for a test drive! If there have been multiple releases and didn’t have the opportunity to try them out last year, identify what aspect of your campaigns need the most love—is it planning, executing or analyzing—and explore any new tools available to help you. Once you can hone your skills in any of those areas, you can carry the benefits of the new capabilities to all your future campaigns.

2. Monitor the Data

Yes, we all know we need data. In fact, we have so much data that sometimes, we’re drowning in it. Programmatic traders are notoriously good at the ability to deconstruct a multitude of data in a digestible way for their clients and help them make impactful business decisions. So besides checking campaign reporting regularly, find areas for improvement. Analyze the dashboards you have filled with data to uncover notable insights you can connect to campaign initiatives. Your clients will be thankful for the insights and you will benefit from the results.

3. Stay On Top of Consumer and Industry Trends

With an ever-evolving digital media industry, there is constantly new information emerging in programmatic. This is not just related to campaign strategies and platform features, but also consumer trends and inventory updates.

If you can do your homework and be prepared for any shift in consumer behaviour, you can quickly pivot recommendations for your clients and internal team. Just like a financial trader, proactively monitoring the market and following trends is crucial to maintaining a healthy portfolio for clients. Be aware of upcoming speculative trends that may arise in the near future—to stay ahead of the crowd.

4. Run A/B Tests

When was the last time you ran an A/B test with your campaigns? We all know this is something we should be doing, but we don’t always have the time to execute on it. Testing is a key component to any digital campaign, so it is worth it to try a campaign test early to gather insights that will carry you through the year. What performed last year, may not be the best solution for this year—think of all of the pivots and changes to consumer behaviour that occurred in 2020. Having the ability to effectively identify and solve issues that arise, will allow you to focus on the solutions that will be the most impactful.

5. Take Programmatic Courses

Clients look for traders to help them connect the dots from emerging trends in the programmatic ecosystem to obtaining business results. Having an educator’s mindset when reporting back to your clients or peers can give you a competitive advantage. It can help strengthen conversations and strategically push the needle forward for upcoming campaigns. This way, you can help your clients level up their understanding on industry buzzwords, learnings from campaign tests, and planning for new product features to try out next.

We hope this refresher on programmatic fundamentals will equip you with refreshed know-how and skills to enhance your campaign performance in the New Year!

Melysa Chong
Melysa Chong

Product Marketing Manager


Melysa brings 8+ years of advertising expertise, with a rich background in agency, sales, and marketing. Her passion lies in simplifying complex advertising strategies and products through compelling content creation.