Prospecting for New Customers in a Programmatic World

Prospecting for New Customers in a Programmatic World

By Elina Sokolovska

More and more advertisers are shifting marketing dollars into programmatic display, looking for more precise, granular targeting options and efficiency. Customer journey continue to become very fragmented and more than ever, brands need to be able to reach customers at the right time, on the right device, with the right messaging.

Prospecting is one of the targeting strategies that the brands can utilise when using Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) for their programmatic buying (display, mobile web, mobile in-app, video, social, connected TV). It is basically a way of finding new potential customers who have never visited your site. DSPs have a plethora of targeting options such as geo location, browsing patterns, frequency, content, etc. to help you identify which users might be interested in your products/services.

‘’Super prospecting’’ is based on look-a-like modeling of the users who already have converted and is one of the most effective methods. It works very similarly to targeting but instead algorithms automatically analyse existing customers, find commonalities/patterns, and try to reach similar users on the web.

Prospecting vs. retargeting

In contrast to prospecting, retargeting is a strategy of targeting users who already have visited your site. Retargeting is known to have a higher conversion rate and more efficient CPA but most of the time – it’s not scalable. So if you focus on just retargeting alone – you will find it very hard to grow your business using programmatic.

Why do prospecting?

Prospecting can be one of the most effective drivers of new customers. If you don’t maintain or increase your pool of users who visit your site, retargeting will eventually be maxed out and you may see a dip in conversions. Prospecting fuels retargeting, and both of the strategies should ideally be used in conjunction.

What to look out for:

  • If one of your partners’ CPA is very low, that might be an indication of them using your 1st party data for targeting. Use your ad server to track the performance and pay attention to both the frequency and the CPM. Usually, a standard 8 impressions per day per user is utilised and the inventory is much cheaper.
  • Be sure to review the vendor’s brand safety and fraud policies, and be comfortable with the environment where your marketing will be delivered.

Best practices:

  • When setting up prospecting, don’t restrict the targeting. Start with run-of-network (RON) and then drill down over time as you have more insight into performance. The bidding engines will learn better if unrestricted and also automatically optimise for better performance more efficiently than a human.
  • The CPA for prospecting will be much higher than the CPA for retargeting, so the performance expectations should be set separately for each strategy.
  • Many clients apply a rough 80/20 rule in terms of the budget split between prospecting and retargeting.
  • When running head-to-head (H2H) tests, make sure the setup and test conditions are exactly the same for all test partners. The pixels should be implemented at the same time and the frequency should be set at the same rate.


Please join us for our webinar to dig even deeper and view a demonstration!

Please register for Display Prospecting in a Programmatic World on Aug 18, 2016 8:30 AM PDT at:

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