Posted on Aug 23, 2023

5 Programmatic Advertising Examples That Will Inspire Your Next Campaign

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In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, programmatic advertising has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audiences more effectively. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of programmatic advertising. We will highlight some successful programmatic advertising campaigns, and provide programmatic advertising examples of how this innovative approach to advertising can drive results.

Explore the programmatic monetization strategies if you are willing to know how to successfully start your profitable ad exchange.

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1. The Economist

The Economist is a well-known international weekly newspaper printed in magazine format and published digitally that focuses on current affairs, international business, politics, technology, and culture. To attract new subscribers, The Economist embraced programmatic advertising and launched a campaign designed to grab the attention of readers – the campaign is now among the most successful programmatic display advertising examples.

Aim and Strategy

The Economist created an example of programmatic banner campaign aimed to reach 650,000 previously unseen prospects and stimulate a change in perceptions, not just to generate clicks. The strategy was to build the advertising creative in real-time, matching the context of the page and the viewer’s profile to The Economist’s feed, before serving an appropriate ad.

Features of Programmatic Advertising

The Economist’s programmatic display examples were characterized by its real-time, contextual approach. The advertising creative was built in real-time, using data about the viewer’s profile and the context of the page they viewed. This allowed The Economist to serve highly targeted and relevant ads to each viewer.

As the campaign’s objective was to reach the right customers in the right places with relevant content, ads were placed directly next to articles on similar topics that their target audience was already reading.

The Economist used data from their website, including floodlight tags, which allowed the creation of retargeting lists of previous users and in-market segments. This enabled The Economist to identify new users whose online behaviors showed their intention to buy a subscription.

A programmatic approach guaranteed that every customer received tailored advertisements specifically catering to their needs and preferences, enhancing their overall engagement and experience.


The results of The Economist’s programmatic advertising campaign were impressive. The campaign reached 650,000 new prospects, resulted in 3.6 million people taking action, and achieved a campaign ROI of 10:1, on a £1.2 million media budget. This demonstrates the power of programmatic advertising in reaching a large audience, driving engagement, and delivering a strong return on investment.

 2. O2

O2 is a leading digital communications company in the UK. For its ‘Tariff Refresh’ campaign, O2 decided to repurpose the same TV ads for mobile but made them more relevant leveraging dynamic creative optimization. O2 marketers created more than 1,000 versions of the video ad over the course of the campaign.

Aim and Strategy

One of programmatic video examples is O2’s’Tariff Refresh’ TV ad made relevant and engaging for the audience of the programmatic mobile ads

The company wanted to use programmatic to make its TV ad more relevant to mobile users. The company used a system that could take data about mobile usage – device, location, and so on – and offer users specific messages based on that profile. The goal was to make the ad more engaging and relevant to the user, thereby increasing the likelihood of the user taking action.

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Features of Programmatic Advertising

O2’s programmatic marketing examples were characterized by its commitment to dynamic creative optimization. The advertising creative was generated in real time, based on data about the viewer’s device and location. Hyperpersonalization and geotargeting allowed O2 to serve highly targeted and relevant ads to each viewer.

Also, effectively leveraging customer data helped the brand make share valuable insights with their audiences: the current recycling value of their phone, the best offer for an upgrade, what people like them generally preferred upgrading to (incorporating an element of social proof), and where the nearest store was.


The results of O2’s programmatic advertising campaign were impressive. The personalized ads outperformed standard ads by 128% in CTR, becoming one of poster cases for DCO adoption.

3. McDonald’s

McDonald’s, a globally recognized fast-food chain, launched the ‘Raise your Arches‘ campaign in January 2023. The campaign was developed by Leo Burnett and was directed by Edgar Wright, known for his work on Simon Pegg’s Cornetto Trilogy and Baby Driver. The campaign was unique as it was the first for the company that did not showcase any of its products or restaurants.

Aim and Strategy

The ‘Raise your Arches’ campaign was McDonald’s way of jumping on the discount-January train without resorting to the typical “50% off” stickers on the windows. The campaign was set in an office block and aimed to encapsulate the feeling everyone experiences when the cravings for McDonald’s kick in. 

The company aimed to evoke a sense of longing and desire for McDonald’s food without directly showing it, thereby creating a more subtle and emotional connection with the audience.

Features of Programmatic Advertising

The campaign was primarily run on TV, making use of the wide reach and impact of this medium. The use of a well-known director and the unique approach of not showing any products or restaurants were key features of this campaign. To exand the demographic and effectively target digital channels, the campaign ran on social media as well – Instagram an TikTok, thus becoming one of the example of programmatic digital advertising.


“Raise your Arches” got massive recognition both among its audience and among creative teams. It was voted the most-liked campaign in Cannes and assigned a 91% (exceptional) brand score by the research firm System1. By successfully interacting with communities and striving to build an emotional connection with its audience, the ad successfully raised brand awareness and joined the ranks of legendary commercials. 

4. Spotify

Spotify is a music streaming platform that uses programmatic advertising to deliver highly personalized ads to its users. Their programmatic advertising campaign aims to increase ad engagement rates and improve return on investment.

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Aim and Strategy

Spotify’s strategy involves leveraging user behavior and music preferences data to deliver highly personalized ads to its users. They analyze data on user listening habits, including the genres of music they listen to, the frequency of their listening habits, and the time of day they listen. 

By leveraging user data data, Spotify delivers hyper-personalized ads: if a user listened to a lot of indie music, Spotify would deliver ads for indie music festivals and events in their area. Podcast listeners, on the other hand, will see ads for podcast-related products and services.

Features of Programmatic Advertising

Among programmatic campaigns examples, Spotify’s strategy shows how leveraging data can lead to successful advertising campaigns. By delivering highly personalized ads, the company achieved higher engagement rates and better return on investment while improving its brand reputation and customer relationships.

Spotify also has an impressive track record in supporting advertisers as a publisher and boasts a robust programmatic infrastructure on the sell-side. The company has a long-standing history of utilizing Programmatic Guaranteed Deals for various ad formats including display, video, and premium options like takeovers and rewarded video ads known as Sponsored Sessions. 

Recently, they pioneered a collaboration with Google Ad Manager to create and test Programmatic Guaranteed for Audio, offering partners programmatic access to unique audio formats, such as cost-per-day sponsorships and custom creatives. 

You might also be interested in the advantages of programmatic audio advertising for your business.


The results of Spotify’s programmatic advertising campaigns were impressive. Highly personalized ads help Spotify achieved an engagement rate 2.5 times higher than the industry average. 

They also saw a 25% increase in ad recall among their users. In addition to higher engagement rates, Spotify’s programmatic advertising campaign improved its return on investment. By delivering more relevant and targeted ads, Spotify reduced its cost per acquisition by 20%. That resulted in higher revenue and better profitability for the company.

5. Airbnb

Airbnb is an online marketplace that makes it possible for people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to travelers. To promote their platform and increase bookings, Airbnb implemented a programmatic advertising campaign.

Aim and Strategy

Airbnb’s programmatic advertising strategies are focused on increasing brand awareness and drive more traffic to its website, increasing bookings. The campaign targeted people interested in travel and accommodation and likely to book a place to stay through online platforms.

Features of Programmatic Advertising

One example of programmatic advertising of the success of Airbnb’s programmatic advertising campaign was launched in partnership with Disney’s Pixar for the release of the movie “Up.” Airbnb created a campaign called “Night At” that allowed users to enter a contest to win a night’s stay in a replica of the house from the movie. The campaign utilized programmatic advertising to reach the target audience and generated over 4.4 million entries.

In parallel, Airbnb is utilizing performance marketing to balance supply and demand, as opposed to acquiring a large customer base. In a time of economical contraction, Airbnb focused on determining the extent to which advertising can be reduced before it negatively impacts the business – and, based on the company’s performance, balance seems to have been achieved.


Airbnb’s programmatic advertising strategy is highly successful, resulting in a 15% increase in brand awareness and a 6% increase in website traffic. Additionally, the campaign generated a return on ad spend (ROAS) of 3:1, meaning that for every dollar spent on advertising, Airbnb earned three dollars in revenue. 

Unleashing the Power of Programmatic Advertising: How SmartHub Transforms Your Business

At SmartHub white label ad exchange, we specialize in accelerating businesses to the forefront of the digital marketing landscape, with a particular focus on programmatic advertising. We support brands and publishers with proprietary algorithmic tools to maximize campaign performance while keeping costs at minimum. 

You might also be excited to know about the different types of programmatic advertising.

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Over the years, SmartHub tackled multifaceted challenges: poor audience segmentation, low ad engagement, and high acquisition costs. Take a look at SmartHub`s case studies to explore how have we helped our partners deal with these challenges with tailored solutions like predictive analytics, real-time bidding strategies, and advanced target profiling. 


Why is programmatic advertising important for businesses? 
Programmatic advertising is crucial for targeting specific audiences, to optimize ad campaigns in real-time, and achieve better results with their advertising budget, leading to improved ROI.
What are some examples of programmatic advertising campaigns? 
Successful examples of programmatic advertising campaigns include Spotify’s use of Programmatic Guaranteed Deals for various ad formats and Airbnb’s strategic shift from search advertising to brand advertising.
What are the different types of programmatic advertising? 
Different types of programmatic advertising include Real-Time Bidding (RTB), Private Marketplace (PMP), Programmatic Direct, and Programmatic Guaranteed, each offering different levels of customization, pricing models, and access to ad inventory.


The power of programmatic advertising lies in its ability to leverage technology and data to deliver highly targeted and effective ad campaigns. 

As we’ve seen from the programmatic ads examples of Spotify, Airbnb, and others, programmatic advertising can lead to significant improvements in ROI, customer engagement, and brand awareness. 

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