Better together: how to pair programmatic and paid search

If you understand that it’s too early to relax after enabling paid search, this article is definitely for you.

Everybody launches paid search but at the same time this leaves programmatic out because we need “traffic / conversions / leads”, while programmatic advertising is for brands. That’s why advertisers persistently continue to change and test various PPC-strategies that are like perpetual motion machines for their sales. The truth is, there is no magic button “profit”. So, it’s important to use a set of advertising tools.


Let’s look at two simple examples. John enters the query “crossfit shoes new york”. He has already planned the purchase and has intentions in buying. John is at the bottom of the sales funnel, where search advertising can convert him into the client.

And there is Jack. He doesn’t think of buying crossfit shoes and, hence, doesn’t google anything. Though, if we look closely at his interests and online behaviour, he can also be a crossfit brand’s target audience. Since Jack knows nothing about the product, he won’t google anything and won’t see the search advertising. Now imagine that Jack saw the banner or video about crossfit shoes. He got interested, clicked on the ad, visited and looked through the website and then left. 

Additional media channel found Jack outside the search engine, told about the product and converted him from the cold audience into the warm audience that is familiar with the brand. Now it can interact with him through conversion channels (e.g. remarketing, search). 

Each stop on the user’s path leads to the next interaction, then to another one and ideally to conversion. That’s why you can’t ignore media advertising, even if there are no direct results. Here we can talk a lot about attribution models, but we hope you know about it. 

With the help of search advertising we work with the hot audience at the bottom of the sales funnel. However, it is only one of the tactics and channels that are available for marketers. Sooner or later the hot audience will exhaust itself, so it’s time to attract new users.


It goes without saying that Google is a giant and owns a lion’s share of traffic. Nevertheless, Google is not omnipresent, and “Google search” is not the only thing we use on the Internet. We spend hours on social networks, watching videos on YouTube and reading articles. This is where programmatic advertising works. It helps to find the right audience anywhere on the Internet even before the user’s purchase intention.

Advertisers value programmatic for inventory and audience that are not available in search advertising campaigns. Algorithmics buying helps to attract potential customers even outside Google. 

Apart from attracting the audience outside search engines, programmatic helps to solve one more problem – the severe competition for getting to the top of search results. 

Let’s compare two queries “car rental” and “car rental avis”.

In the second case the competition will be much lower, because the user searches for the particular brand that he is more or less familiar with. 

Let’s look at not brand queries. The user enters in the search line and sees this: Even if the user enters in the search line “car rental new jersey” he will be most likely to click on the brand that is already familiar to him, because he thinks: “Hmm… I know this guy”. If one of the car rental brands is already familiar to him, he will be most likely to click on it, because he thinks: “Hmm… I know this guy”. That’s how the human brain works. We always prefer something that we have already known or heard about before. When the user has already seen the brand’s ad that he is familiar with – his loyalty is higher, and he is most likely to give preferences to it. No wonder e-commerce focuses mostly on brand promotion. 

So, with the help of an additional media channel we create demand. As a result we get more search queries that means more traffic and, hence, conversions.   

There is one more useful bonus: programmatic is full of data. Earlier with the help of search queries and website thematic we had a clear idea of who our target audience is and what the best way is to find it. But today, we don’t take into account the website – we focus on the user. Thanks to the third-party data, DSP provides more targeting options that are not available when you launch a regular search advertising campaign. Moreover, programmatic campaign insights allow you to know the target audience better and use this information for PPC-strategies optimization.  

PPC guru Jeff Baum has been working with search advertising for 13 years. But then he tested programmatic and said: “For marketers it’s time to focus on buying the target audience not ad spaces”. 

Programmatic is an effective tool to attract a new audience, while search and other conversion channels will convert this audience into loyal clients that will pay. 


Now let’s take a look at the numbers on the example of the cleaning service case. 

Initially, there was a quite good start: they weekly posted articles in blog, did good SEO work and launched search advertising (it brought 80% of conversions). But no matter how much time they spent on PPC-strategy optimization the conversion rate remained the same. Programmatic was required to do what it does the best – to increase traffic and attract new customers.

Here is the comparison between organic and direct traffic before and after programmatic advertising launch.

Moreover, we can see the increase of brand query volume.

For three months the number of requests increased by 233% meanwhile conversion cost remained the same. More target users on the website means more sales.

Everybody wants to increase the company’s profit, especially managers and marketers. Advertising without complex strategy increases its own budget but not your profit. Only a mix of digital tools can be effective for advertising campaigns. So, it’s better to combine programmatic possibilities with paid search, SEO and content marketing (so you have a strategy for this, do you?), and then you will spend your advertising budget wisely.