9 Best Programmatic Advertising Examples for Publishers in 2024

Brock Munro
October 27, 2023
April 16, 2024
9 Best Programmatic Advertising Examples for Publishers in 2024

Programmatic advertising has gained traction among publishers seeking to optimize their ad operations. With the rise of digital advertising, automating ad buying and selling processes have become pivotal for publishers to improve efficiency and maximize ad revenue.

Global programmatic ad spend is projected to climb from $418 billion in 2021 to 558 billion in 2023 and on to 725 billion in 2026.

Join us as we delve into some examples of programmatic advertising to understand why brands love programmatic marketing so much.

With increasing investment in programmatic ads, digital publishers that understand how they’re buyers are engaging with audiences will be better placed to help advertisers meet their campaign goals and then negotiate for better ad space rates.

Best Programmatic Advertising Examples for Publishers

1. Auto Trader

Auto Trader

Auto Trader, a prominent digital automotive marketplace, faced challenges optimizing ad spend and improving its cost-per-acquisition (CPA).

It decided to enhance its programmatic advertising strategy (PDF download) by partnering with a new demand-side platform (DSP). This shift allowed Auto Trader to target high-value audiences more precisely, leading to a remarkable 90% reduction in CPA over six months​.

Using its new DSP’s machine learning algorithms through the new allowed Auto Trader to optimize its limited ad investment. By automating its campaign, Auto Trader ensured it only paid for customers who were most likely to click on its ads.

This strategy also freed up its in-house team to focus on manual testing and strategy tweaking, further optimizing their programmatic advertising approach.

Results Achieved

  • 90% reduction in CPA
  • Increased ad spend efficiency
  • More focused targeting improved lead gen


  • A programmatic advertising campaign can drastically reduce CPA

2. John Lewis

John Lewis

Facing declining profits, UK-based department store John Lewis aimed to revamp its advertising strategy during the high-traffic Black Friday weekend. By partnering with a programmatic partner and adopting innovative programmatic strategies, it managed to surpass its return on investment (ROI) target by 346%.

Using historical data, the John Lewis team set up private marketplace (PMP) deals with premium sites leading up to Black Friday. Its ad-tech partner devised a programmatic strategy that allowed it to secure significant ad visibility during the high-traffic period at optimized costs.

Results Achieved

  • 346% higher ROI than the targeted goal
  • Optimized ad costs


  • Brands using programmatic strategies are reduce seasonal costs

3. Lacoste


During a summer sale period, Lacoste aimed to boost sales in three key markets—France, the UK, and Germany. Through an omnichannel marketing campaign using programmatic display advertising, the brand targeted key audiences and significantly improved sales​.

After extensive audience analysis, Lacoste used programmatic technology to create customer profiles. It also heavily invested in A/B testing to refine its ad creatives and maximize its campaign performance.

Results Achieved

  • 19.75 million impressions
  • A total of 2,290 sales across key target markets


  • A/B testing and real-time adjustments can significantly improve sales and reach

4. IHG Hotels

IHG Hotels

InterContinental Hotels (IHG) aimed to disrupt the metasearch industry by driving traffic back to their hotels for direct booking, tackling the challenge posed by metasearch sites like Booking.com​.

IHG created a programmatic ad campaign to “dispel the myth” that booking through metasearch sites was cheaper. It targeted people already looking for specific hotel prices and offered a “book direct” option.

Results Achieved

  • Increased direct bookings
  • Improved customer awareness regarding direct booking benefits


  • Programmatic advertising can disrupt industry norms.
  • Programmatic advertising can be used to educate and convert specific customer segments

5. The Economist

The Economist

UK publisher The Economist wanted to broaden its audience appeal by targeting readers who had been hesitant to try the publication before. It used subscriber data to tailor content, creating seven segments reflecting key journal sections such as finance, politics, and technology.

The Economist used programmatic advertising to build lookalike audiences based on existing subscriber profiles. It tailored its content delivery using real-time data on web page context and viewer profiles. The strategy involved analyzing various data sets to segment audiences. It also used programmatic ad buying to serve personalized ads linking to relevant articles on its content hub.

Remarkable results were achieved with 650,000 new prospects and a 10:1 ROI on a GBP1.2 million ($1.46 million) media budget.

Results Achieved

  • 650,000 new prospects


  • Personalization and real-time data analysis are crucial for successful programmatic advertising
  • Creating well-segmented audiences can significantly improve engagement and ROI

6. Turner Sports

Turner Sports

Turner Sports aimed to extend the reach of the NBA's Season Tip-Off events using a programmatic video advertising campaign. Believing that TV and digital video don’t compete, but actually complement one another, Turner Sports teamed up with Google to participate in an experiment called Project Instant.

Turner Spots captured real-time videos from tip-off events in Cleveland, Chicago, Portland, and Oakland with the goal of simulating an in-person experience.

It built audience lists based on previous Google Ads campaigns and identified the most relevant audiences using the Google Marketing Platform​. The company used the marketing platform for audience identification and the leveraged YouTube TrueView to deliver ads to 6 million unique viewers across the US.

Results Achieved

  • Delivered a 17% uplift in ad recall
  • Increase in brand awareness for the NBA on TNT by 7%


  • Real-time content can significantly enhance engagement in programmatic ad campaigns.
  • Audience identification and content delivery is crucial to engage the target audience.

7. Audi


Audi turned to programmatic advertising for the launch of its Audi Q2 model with the goal of providing audiences with a complete product picture.

The iconic car brand collaborated with Google to analyze key touchpoints related to analytics and create retargeting lists of previous website visitors​.

Audi used data analytics and programmatic buying to serve personalized, relevant ads based on a customer’s position in the sales funnel and style preferences. It ended up creating more than 6,000 variations of its ad.

It also implemented a car configurator on its site for customers to customize their dream car, collecting user style preferences for dynamic ad creatives.

Results Achieved

  • Achieved an average conversion rate four times higher than traditional ad buying
  • Dynamic ads were twice as efficient as standard ads


  • Personalization and understanding customer preferences are crucial for a successful programmatic ad campaign
  • Integrating interactive elements on websites can provide valuable data for creating more targeted and personalized ad campaigns.

8. Amanda Foundation

Amanda Foundation

The nonprofit animal charity Amanda Foundation partnered with Saatchi & Saatchi LA to create a highly personalized programmatic campaign, matching people with adoptable animals based on hobbies and characteristics​.

The Digital Pawprint campaign used modern display ad technology to serve hyper-relevant messages to potential pet adopters. It used a person’s location and browsing behavior to match them with a suitable pet, showcasing the potential of programmatic advertising for good causes.

Results Achieved

  • Striking, fully targeted, and personalized campaign showcasing programmatic advertising’s potential to support non-profit initiatives.


  • Personalization and relevance are key to engaging audiences

9. McDonald's


McDonald's leveraged programmatic advertising to target specific demographics, using data on consumer behavior and purchasing habits to deliver ads effectively, resulting in an increase in  footfall and sales at physical locations.

The campaign led to a 7.5% increase in foot traffic and a 4.5% rise in sales through dynamic creative optimization and geotargeting, which helped serve more personalized and relevant ads to their audience.

The campaign also helped enhance brand perception and customer engagement, thus fostering stronger customer relationships and improving overall brand reputation

Results Achieved

  • 7.5% increase in foot traffic, 4.5% rise in sales
  • Enhanced brand perception and customer engagement


  • Personalization and relevance in advertising are key to success
  • Leveraging user behavior and preference data enables more relevant and engaging ad delivery

Key Takeaways for Publishers

Brands’ use of programmatic advertising strategies offers a wealth of insights for publishers. Each programmatic advertising example listed above speaks not just of the returns brands are enjoying from the technology, but also of the opportunities that publishers have to help them achieve their targets.

  1. Precision targeting: Using data analytics for audience segmentation and targeting is crucial. Brands like McDonald's and Spotify have leveraged user behavior and location data to tailor ads, thereby enhancing engagement and conversions.
  1. Personalization: This was a key theme of the examples, with dynamic creative optimization (DCO) used to deliver personalized ads that resonated with the audience. McDonald's achieved increased foot traffic and sales by tailoring ads based on user preferences and location. Publishers with this data to hand can benefit.
  1. Ad-tech advantages: Ad-tech plays a vital role in programmatic ad buying, helping brands connect with publishers and their audiences and vice-versa. 
  1. Real-time data analysis: Employing real-time data analysis allows for ads to align with viewers' current content, enhancing relevance and engagement.
  1. Multi-channel approach: Using a multi-channel approach for programmatic advertising, encompassing web, mobile, apps, video, and social media, can significantly broaden campaign reach and impact.
  1. Measurement and analysis: Establishing clear metrics for measuring the success of programmatic advertising campaigns is essential for evaluating performance and optimizing for better results in future campaigns.

Final Thoughts

Programmatic advertising has come to dominate the digital advertising landscape, promising advertisers a much easier method of reaching their target audiences. With advertisers looking to squeeze as much value from their ad spend as possible, publishers need to also examine their programmatic options.

For publishers interested in learning about how to take their ad revenue to the next level, Publift offers a full-service solution to publishers and developers with an emphasis on optimizing mobile and desktop ad revenue. The platform has helped its partners increase their ad revenue by up to 55% on average. 

Get in touch with us to learn more about how we’ve been helping more than 350 publishers across 60 countries increase their revenue since 2015.

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