Enhancing Performance with Advanced Audience Targeting in Programmatic Advertising

One aspect of programmatic advertising that excites us here at Granular is the advanced audience targeting it offers. Publishers from every nook and cranny create audience segments, down to super niche personas that can be overlaid onto the different channels. Through a demand-side platform (DSP), you can access audience segments by searching for a word or phrase and seeing what comes up. 

In the internal programmatic training at Granular, I always have a 5-10 minute section where I ask the new hires to think of the most obscure thing they can and see if it’s an audience we can target. Some unique audience segments we’ve identified include:

  • Extreme fans of Premier League football
  • Gilmore Girls interest
  • Personality for 79% of women suburbanites who are in their late-20s-to-early-30s and are outgoing and agreeable, most likely to watch 2000s network sitcoms and love actors such as Zooey Deschanel and Rainn Wilson
  • Owns a home generator
  • Recently purchased Scotts Lawn Fertilizer
  • Recently went to a Cinemark movie theater

You may not realize it, but you give a lot of this data away when you sign up for various services. I remember when I signed up for the Lollapalooza app last year, it asked if I wanted to review who I was giving my data away to. Little did I know when I hit yes, it had over 20 publishers that were then able to sell this later to put me into segments like the ones above. Some of these included Unruly, Adobe Advertising Cloud, Bombora, Google Advertising Products, Magnite, and more. As we often say here, if the product or app is free, your data is most likely the payment.

DSPs having access to these data segments allow advertisers to create specific audience segments for various campaigns. Here at Granular, we’ve run programmatic campaigns for dozens of clients in B2C, B2B, and Retail industries using third-party audiences. From these specific audiences, we’ve seen remarkable growth from all channels, not just paid traffic, but other sources such as direct and organic traffic.


The Opportunity

  • To increase awareness and potential purchases for a specific Brand product that is no longer carried at a major competitor to the Client.
  • Custom third-party intersection audiences were created that targeted users with a pet and who had shopped at the competitor location.


  • Advertising was implemented on Programmatic Display and Facebook to increase total awareness through interest targeting.
  • Custom third-party audiences were created, as well as a contextual audience for search term-related keywords from Google Search and Shopping data. Retargeting was also incorporated for anyone who visited the Brand or category page.


  • Product-specific online revenue: 160% increase compared to the previous period.
  • Total traffic towards category pages: 14% increase during the campaign flight compared to the previous period
  • Transaction Revenue: 160% increase from the campaign flight compared to the previous period for all on-site products – not only programmatic.



  • Ads were launched the week after the movie premiered, allowing us to collect data to compare before/after campaigns were launched
  • Geofencing specific locations using real-time location and lookback windows for 14 days after the user had visited our targeted locations
  • Display and Video on Mobile Devices allowed for increased inventory to target users when they are going about their day


  • +162% increase in cart views during the first week of live ads compared to the previous period
  • 72% Video Completion Rate (VCR) for Video ads on Desktop, Tablet and Mobile
  • Increase in Transactions +200% after the video and display campaigns were launched compared to the previous period



  • Increase awareness for a niche industry with job title and ABM targeting


  • Custom-created combination audiences using third-party (3P) segments were implemented on Display and Native to increase overall awareness and site engagement 


  • Since launching programmatic:
    • +142% increase in direct traffic
    • +323% increase in Organic Search
    • +456% period over period increase in overall site traffic
    • +875% year-over-year increase in overall site traffic
  • After pausing Programmatic
    • Direct traffic was down -33%
    • Organic search was down -29%
    • Overall site traffic was down -4%

As some channels have taken away audience targeting capabilities, such as Meta, many advertisers are turning to programmatic to reach their user base. Almost every time I’m in the Meta advertising platform, I’ll find interest targeting removed, even broad interests such as Movies. Incorporating third-party audiences not only allows you to reach your key audience through niche segments, but also expands the advertising towards a full-funnel multi-channel approach as these audience segments can be overlaid on mobile, display, and CTV as well. Rather than targeting everyone, you can target your exact user across their entire journey through the day and see increased performance for your entire business.


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