Updated July 2023.
Programmatic ads are one of the most cost-effective, customizable and data-driven methods of buying paid media. To get the most out of your ad spend, it’s wise to work with a programmatic advertising agency because of their immense experience in automated ad buying and selling.
We’ve curated this list of the top 6 programmatic ad agencies to make it easier for you to choose a reputable one. We’ll also share some tips on hiring the best agency to run effective ad campaigns for your business.
Understanding Programmatic Advertising
To go straight to the top 6 agencies, click here.
If you’d like to learn more about programmatic advertising, keep reading!
What Is Programmatic Advertising?
Programmatic advertising is the art of automated buying and selling of online advertising space by targeting specific audiences and demographics. The technology uses ML and AI algorithms on programmatic platforms equipped with online “bidding mechanisms.”
It is different from the traditional method of buying ads, which involves dealing with a salesperson for the price, placements, and number of impressions.
A programmatic advertising agency consists of specialized online marketing professionals who manage several programmatic display marketing ad platforms. These agencies help you effectively purchase digital media through display advertising and real-time bidding.
They combine data, technology and experience to create targeted campaigns to attract new audiences and drive revenue, as well as providing key takeaways from your campaign data that enable you to run more effective ad campaigns.
How Does Programmatic Advertising Work?
Programmatic advertising refers to the automated buying and selling of online advertising space. It leverages machine learning and real-time bidding (RTB) for inventory across mobile, display, video, and social channels:
Here’s a basic outline of how programmatic advertising works:
- Advertiser Setup: The advertiser, who wishes to publish an ad, sets up a campaign on a Demand Side Platform (DSP). Here, they can specify their targeting criteria (e.g., demographics, interests, geographic location), budget, bid price, and the creative (the actual ad).
- Auction: When a user visits a website that has programmatic advertising space, the information about the page and the user is sent to an ad exchange. The ad exchange then holds an auction among the ads whose targeting criteria match the user’s information. This is a process known as real-time bidding (RTB). This auction process happens in milliseconds, while the webpage is loading.
- Ad Placement: The ad with the highest bid wins the auction and is immediately displayed on the user’s webpage.
- Data Collection: The advertiser collects data from the ad campaign. This could include whether the user clicked on the ad, made a purchase, or interacted with the ad in any other way.
- Optimization: Using the data collected, the advertiser can optimize future campaigns. For example, they could adjust their targeting criteria, change their bid price, or test different creative.
Programmatic advertising enables advertisers to automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics. It’s more efficient and fast than traditional methods, which are often manual and time-consuming. It’s also more flexible, as advertisers can adjust their campaigns in real-time based on their performance data.
Here’s a simple graphic showing how programmatic advertising works:
Types of Ads That Can Be Managed Programmatically
Programmatic ad platforms, also known as a Demand Side Platform (DSP), are software that allow advertisers to buy digital ad inventory automatically, using real-time bidding or direct deals. These platforms give advertisers access to multiple ad exchanges, where they can bid on available ad space from various publishers.
Programmatic advertising can be used for a variety of ad types, including:
- Display Ads: These ads appear on the Google Display Network.
- Mobile Ads: These are the ads that appear on mobile devices (like smartphones and tablets).
- Video Ads: These ads run on YouTube and websites or apps running on the Google video partners program.
- Connected TV and OTT Ads: These ads are displayed on smart TVs and OTT devices during premium, ad-supported shows provided by top-tier networks.
- Native Ads: Native ads are cohesive ads with the page’s content, assimilated into the design and consistent with the platform behavior.
- Digital Audio Ads: These ads are placed into digital audio content to reach listeners.
- Social Ads: These are ads designed and scheduled to maximize the social media advertising results to achieve campaign goals. These ads include sponsored ads, display ads, static, video, and interactive social media ads.
- Search Ads: These ads are displayed on the search engine results pages at either the top or the bottom of the page, depending on the ad quality score and bid.
- Geo-targeted Ads: These ads deliver content within a defined range of geographic boundaries to customers who meet specified parameters or criteria.
- Digital Out-of-Home Marketplaces or Programmatic Direct: Also known as programmatic DOOH, refers to the automatic buying, selling, and delivering ads on digital billboards and signage. DOOH is powered up with AdTech, such as geofencing, tracking, retargeting, personalizing, attribution, and measurement.
- Ad Retargeting and Dynamic Creative: These ads let you show ads to audiences who have previously visited or used your website or app.
Benefits of Programmatic Advertising
Here are six reasons why businesses should use programmatic advertising:
- Improved Efficiency. Through programmatic advertising, there is no delay in generating results. It is an automated process; it enables brands and agencies to purchase ad space on websites and apps within a few seconds, helping save time.
- Higher Returns on Investment. Programmatic advertising helps create targeted ad campaigns on a smaller budget. It offers robust and specific targeting that translates to fewer wasted clicks and impressions.
- Increased Reach. Since you can purchase digital ad space quickly through programmatic advertising, it enables you to reach your targeted audience by giving you access to an unlimited supply of ad inventory across millions of websites worldwide. It lets you reach the right users on the right devices and mediums.
- Advanced Tracking Ability. Programmatic advertising offers advanced tracking features that let you see the number of conversions and the category and value of each conversion. This helps you identify the campaigns, mediums, devices, keywords, ad copies, landing pages, etc., that assist in maximum conversions.
- Complete Transparency. Programmatic advertising provides increased transparency to marketers and advertisers compared to traditional advertising. It lets you know on which website and at what time your ad was placed. Moreover, it also helps you determine what percentage of your ad was seen.
- Real-Time Management. In programmatic advertising, each ad impression is tracked and reported in real time. Thus, advertising agencies do not have to wait for an end-of-campaign report to check on performance. You can adjust bids and targets as required.
Benefits of Hiring a Programmatic Advertising Agency
Hiring a programmatic advertising agency can provide numerous benefits to businesses. Here are some key advantages:
- Expertise: A programmatic advertising agency has the expertise and experience to navigate the complexities of programmatic buying. They can help create effective strategies, choose the right platforms and formats, and optimize campaigns for the best results.
- Access to Advanced Tools: Agencies typically have access to advanced programmatic tools and technologies that might be cost-prohibitive or complex for individual businesses to handle on their own.
- Time Efficiency: Running a successful programmatic campaign can be time-consuming, from setting up the campaign to constantly monitoring and optimizing it. An agency can handle all these tasks, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations.
- Detailed Reporting and Analytics: Agencies can provide detailed reports and analytics, giving businesses a clear understanding of how their campaigns are performing and where improvements can be made.
- Better Targeting and Personalization: With their experience and tools, agencies can better segment and target audiences, creating more personalized and effective ad experiences.
- Cost Savings: While there’s a cost to hiring an agency, the optimization they provide – and potential for higher ROI – can lead to overall cost savings. They can also help avoid costly mistakes in the campaign setup and management process.
- Scalability: A programmatic advertising agency can help businesses scale their advertising efforts, reaching larger or more specific audiences as needed.
- Continuous Optimization: With their finger on the pulse of the campaign, agencies can make ongoing adjustments to strategies, bids, and creative elements for continuous campaign improvement.
- Staying Up-to-Date: The programmatic advertising landscape evolves rapidly. Agencies stay updated with the latest trends, tools, and best practices, ensuring the strategies they employ are current.
- Holistic Approach: Many programmatic agencies offer a holistic approach to digital advertising, integrating programmatic efforts with other digital strategies for a more comprehensive marketing approach.
Programmatic Advertising vs Traditional Advertising
Programmatic advertising and traditional advertising represent two different approaches to buying and selling ad space.
- Direct negotiation: Advertisers and publishers negotiate contracts for ad spots manually.
- Set pricing: Prices are fixed and agreed upon in the contract.
- Broad targeting: Ads are usually placed based on general demographic data.
- Manual process: The entire process from buying to placing the ad is manual, which can be time-consuming.
- Limited data analysis: There’s often a lack of real-time analytics, making campaign optimization challenging.
- Simple to understand: It is a more straightforward process and easier to comprehend for those not tech-savvy.
- Relationship-based: Direct relationships between advertisers and publishers can be cultivated.
- Automated buying: Ad spots are bought automatically through platforms like DSPs and SSPs.
- Dynamic pricing: Prices are determined through real-time bidding, allowing for potential cost efficiencies.
- Precise targeting: Ads can be served to specific audiences based on a variety of criteria (demographics, interests, behavior, etc.)
- Efficiency: The process is much quicker and more efficient due to automation.
- Real-time data: Advertisers have access to real-time analytics, allowing for ongoing optimization of campaigns.
- Technical expertise required: It can be complex and may require more technical knowledge to leverage effectively.
- Broader reach: Advertisers can access a vast range of publishers and audiences through ad exchanges:
In short, while traditional advertising offers simplicity and direct relationships, programmatic advertising offers precision, efficiency, and adaptability.
How to Choose the Best Programmatic Advertising Agency
Every digital marketing agency is not the same. Some might not have the required experience in your business niche, while others might be too costly for a start-up. You should always select a digital advertising agency based on your specific business goals.
Here are the top factors to consider when deciding between programmatic advertising companies:
1) Research the Agency
Research the agency and its background. Check how long their clients stay with them. A reasonable client retention rate is always a bonus.
Analyze customer testimonials to check the credibility of the agency. You can usually find them on the company’s website. Read the testimonials to understand how the agency helped its previous clients accomplish their business goals.
You can also look for case studies, reviews on sites like Clutch or G2, and ratings. Moreover, look for the industries they typically work with.
Before selecting any programmatic advertising company, you should be able to find ample evidence that an agency helped its clients succeed similar to the way you want to succeed.
2) Ask Questions
Set up a call with the agency to discuss your needs and ask them questions.
Use this opportunity to understand their work process and decide whether they have the required skills and knowledge to create the most effective campaign for your business.
Asking specific questions, such as the ones here, will help you gauge the effectiveness of the ad agency:
- How long have you been in business?
- Which ad platforms do you use?
- How do you measure conversions?
- What are the modes of communication?
- Will I get an account manager to whom I can reach out if there are any questions?
- Which industries have you worked with so far?
- What tools do you use to manage your ad campaigns?
- What is your typical work process?
- Do you outsource your work?
- What would be the reporting schedule?
- Is there a cancellation policy?
3) Understand the Payment Structure
Understanding the payment structure is vital before you hire an agency.
You should have a clear idea of how the programmatic advertising companies will calculate the fees because there are agencies that charge an ad retainer or minimum guarantee each month.
Confirm the set-up fees and monthly account handling fees. Also, ask if they charge any success fee if certain milestones are achieved. Enquire about any hidden costs that the agency charges its clients for any extra services included in your package.
4) Check the Level of Transparency
Every digital advertising agency should give you easy-to-understand reports regarding where and how your campaigns are served. Ad fraud is rampant across digital ad buying platforms, so make sure to check the sample reports before committing.
The agency should provide transparent reporting using KPIs to measure your ad campaign performance. If an agency is not transparent and if you find any loopholes in the reporting structure, then it is better to find another programmatic agency.
Programmatic Advertising Pricing
Programmatic ads are generally traded on a Cost Per Mille (CPM) basis, which means how much it costs to have an ad appear 1,000 times.
Programmatic CPM ranges from $0.5 to $2 on average.
However, this amount is highly dependent on factors such as industry, device, format, and placement. Moreover, the quality of listings and targeting level also determine the price.
How much you invest in programmatic ads depends on your business goals and the time taken to achieve those goals.
Top 6 Programmatic Advertising Agencies
Here are the top 6 programmatic advertising agencies for 2023 and ahead.
1) Single Grain
Single Grain is a full-service digital marketing company that offers ROI-focused programmatic advertising services. They’ve been in business since 2014 and established themselves as a leading Adss and PPC marketing company that has helped companies such as Amazon, Salesforce and Intuit scale their revenue.
Partnering with Single Grain can effectively ease your struggles with programmatic ads.
Their experienced team can do all the hard work for you, such as developing custom, data-driven strategies that correctly employ varying ad formats and channels, optimize programmatic advertising outputs to reduce wastage and increase ROI, and provide transparent reporting and insights that aid in understanding every campaign’s performance and progress.
As a Google Premier Partner, Single Grain has years of experience running successful Google Ads campaigns across nearly every industry.
- Planning and execution of paid search marketing strategy.
- In-depth research of the client’s industry competitors.
- Strategic search for relevant keywords with a focus on conversion.
- Creation and optimization of relevant ad campaigns and ad copies.
- Measurements of ROI and implementation of programmatic advertising optimization strategies.
- Regular tracking and monitoring of ongoing campaigns.
- Advanced campaign consultation, including geo-targeting and day-parting.
- Regular creation of campaign progress reports.
- Identification of relevant growth opportunities to acquire new buyers.
Single Grain specializes in:
- Intelligent bidding solutions to maximize the programmatic campaign ROI.
- Display and Search Ads to ensure scaled conversions with cost-effective CPCs.
- Dynamic Search Ad strategies to get the most out of the non-branded keywords.
- Their PPC specialists team performs regular A/B testing to optimize ad copies, images, and CTAs for better conversions.
- They follow an intelligent ad strategy based on your business goals.
- They perform Offline Conversion Tracking (OCT) that connects with your CRM to track the quality of your online leads.
- They provide specific, insightful, and comprehensive reports comprising detailed progress of each of your KPIs.
Pricing: They offer custom pricing plans as per your business goals and requirements.
Single Grain enables us to increase our impact without increasing our headcount
Hubgen, founded in 2020, is a digital marketing agency based in the U.K. It was founded by Justin Elliott and Graham Taylor with the objective of delivering high-quality leads to businesses across multiple sectors.
Hubgen helps global brands of all sizes generate leads. In 2020, the agency worked with a £1.5 billion healthcare brand and took their lead generation activity to the next level, resulting in a 350% return on investment.
- Understanding business goals and objectives, then mapping out the best digital customer strategy and ad platforms.
- Setting up and running the new ad strategy.
- Analyzing the quality and conversion rates of the leads generated.
- Finding ways to optimize the sales funnel to reduce the cost per conversion.
Hubgen specializes in:
- Running localized ad campaigns to target relevant customers who are more likely to convert.
- Building a lead generation hub at the heart of your business to attract potential clients.
- They offer a competitive advantage by providing you with your own agile lead generation hub.
- They provide complete control on programmatic ad buying with full transparency to know the channels that receive the maximum or the lowest conversions.
Contact Details: [email protected], 01392241149
Pricing: Book a 30-minute call and, based on your goals and objectives, you will receive a price quote.
3) Lounge Lizard
Lounge Lizard is a leading online advertising agency that was launched in 1998, with offices in four different U.S. locations.
They have successfully helped several small- and large-scale companies achieve their business goals. Their client list includes many globally renowned companies, such as Canon, ESPN, and Nikon, establishing their efficiency and success rate in online advertising services.
Lounge Lizard has an experienced and trained PPC team that provides customized pay-per-click campaigns based on your campaign goals. They offer ROI-focused PPC services to increase your traffic, website conversions, and revenue faster and at a cost-effective price.
- Researching the best keywords based on individual campaign goals.
- Performing competitive analysis to enhance the advertising strategy.
- Advising intelligent bidding strategies to maximize conversions and reduce cost-per-acquisition (CPA).
- Running programmatic advertising campaigns on a variety of ad platforms.
- Leveraging remarketing campaigns to help your brand remain on top of your audience’s mind.
- Offering creative landing page design and exceptional copywriting tactics to convert clicks to sales.
- Offering conversion tracking to track the campaigns and ad copies leading to sales.
- Performing daily ad optimization to minimize ad spend wastage.
Lounge Lizard specializes in:
- They have one of the best landing page designing teams to create high-converting PPC landing pages with clear and consistent branding and a strong call to action.
- They have a team of skilled programmatic advertising professionals who perform in-depth market analysis and create ad copies leveraging exceptional copywriting skills to generate the highest levels of engagement.
- Lounge Lizard has extensive experience managing Google Search, Bing Search, Google Display, LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon, and Google Shopping Feed Ads.
- They are a certified LinkedIn marketing partner to help your brand reach the most relevant prospects on LinkedIn.
- National Geographic
- The Walt Disney Company
Contact Details: (646) 661-7828
Pricing: They offer custom pricing plans as per your business goals and requirements.
Dive Deeper: How Remarketing Can Help Increase Conversions
Disruptive is a dedicated digital advertising agency with more than 1,000 positive reviews. They started in 2012 and now manage more than $250 million in digital advertising budgets annually.
In addition, they have earned more than 50 local and national awards, highlighting their excellence in paid media management services. Presently, they have a team of 50-249 employees to work on each campaign dedicatedly.
- Creating, managing, optimizing and analyzing Google Search Ads, Display Ads, Shopping Ads, Microsoft Ads, and other online ad platforms.
- Running retargeting campaigns based on target demographics.
- Researching and refining ongoing keywords for better ROI.
- Creating ongoing ad copy to improve the ad quality score, resulting in lower CPC and higher profits.
Disruptive specializes in:
- They use a strategic approach to generate and nurture the leads through the buying funnel for maximum conversions.
- They have a team of programmatic ad experts specializing in Google shopping and feed management to get you 18% higher revenue per click than text ads.
- Disruptive also specializes in Microsoft ads to catch over 63 million searchers who are not on Google.
- Retargeting is another expertise where they nurture your most qualified non-converted traffic by using a multi-platform approach.
- BPI Sports
- Horse & Rider
Contact Details: (877) 956-7510
Pricing: Disruptive offers hourly or project-based pricing plans, ranging from $150-$199 per hour.
5) AMP Agency
AMP Agency is a top-rated programmatic advertising agency with headquarters in Boston and over 300 clients nationwide.
This agency brings brands closer to their audience by designing better customer journeys and solving the most complex challenges that businesses face during the marketing process. They provide experience management across digital and physical, designing and operating cohesive brand experiences to grow businesses.
- Create a digital experience to drive engagement and amplify the company’s offerings.
- Develop a one-of-a-kind targeting approach for programmatic advertising based on unique business goals.
- Build ad campaigns that drive maximum revenue by leveraging programmatic media buying that combines proprietary data activation and targeting strategies.
AMP Agency specializes in:
- They analyze brand purchase data and pair it with their data in DMP (Data Management Platform) for maximum efficiency.
- AMP Agency uses next-gen programmatic media buying tools such as Forrester, MRI, and Nielsen to get a robust understanding of the brand’s target audience.
- They build buyer personas to secure new customers and build existing customers’ loyalty.
- AMP Agency creates ads to target customers in specific areas for a maximum engagement at a reduced price.
- For brands interested in building their own in-house DMP, they provide consulting and integration services.
Contact Details: (617) 837-8200
Pricing: AMP Agency quotes prices based on your goals and requirements.
Sparcmedia is a digital advertising company that was founded in 2009. They capitalize on the convergence of data, media, insights, and technology to revolutionize how brands connect with consumers.
- Provide audience insight to understand the interests and behavior of the audience.
- Map audience journey.
- Implement a cross-channel media buying strategy, including display, rich media, video, and dynamic creatives.
Sparcmedia specializes in:
- They build custom audience segments in a data management platform to reach psychographic-based consumer segments.
- They engage with audiences through targeted video, search and display ads across the web and social.
- Sparcmedia helps you uncover the online customer journey of your audiences using ad serving technology to optimize media strategies.
- They conduct pre and post-campaign surveys to measure the change in brand awareness and perception as a result of the campaign.
- Millmaine Entertainment
- McCANN Health
- Cook Islands
Contact Details: 61 2 9333 9700
Pricing: They offer custom pricing depending on your business requirements and goals.
Ready to Hire a Programmatic Advertising Agency?
Programmatic media buying agencies are experienced professionals who understand what it takes to build robust digital advertising campaigns to scale your business growth.
I have listed the top programmatic advertising companies you should consider for your next marketing campaign.
Make sure to examine the worth of the digital marketing company by conducting the checks discussed in this article before you partner with an agency.