Powerful Levers To Consider When Optimizing Your Programmatic Media Campaigns

The goal of this whitepaper is to help answer the following questions:

– What is optimization?

– What does it mean to optimize my ad campaign?

– What are targeting levers? What should I consider when optimizing?

I give you an easy way to remember what targeting levers are with the acronyms


C: Creative Ad format

A: Audience data element

M: Mechanics/Technologies

P: Placement Above or Below Fold

A: Amount of Time (think Frequency)

I: Inventory (Supply + Sites)

G: Geographical Area

N: Number to start with (Base Bid)

S: Schedule of Day and Hour

Each allows to optimize campaigns efficiently within your goal-Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). I’ve been working with DSPs for years now (give or take 10) and The Trade Desk shared this with me a couple years ago during an optimization session. I’ve made some adjustment based on my experience running campaigns:

I’d also would like to mentioned that some of these optimization levers may have a different “title or name” in your respective DSP.

I encourage you to review of the different reporting dimensions or setting available.

I ain’t gonna fluff it! We’re getting straight into it.

Let’s identify what they are and how to best use them.

First, let’s define some common terms used:

What is Optimization?

The action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource. – Oxford Language Dictionary

What is a Lever?

A rigid bar resting on a pivot, used to help move a heavy or firmly fixed load with one end when pressure is applied to the other. Some synonyms can include force, pull, arm, etc. – Oxford Language Dictionary

What is Targeting?

Aim or direct (something). Synonym can include aim, direct, level, intend, focus, position. – Oxford Language Dictionary

What does that mean from a programmatic media perspective?

Optimizing a programmatic campaign is the process of making the best or most effective use of the campaign’s performance data. Based on said data, we look at a list of targeting levers available from the Demand Side platform (DSP). Making intelligent decision will increase and support campaigns’ objectives and goal.

Optimization levers are the targeting setting available to us within a DSP that ensure we are reaching our target audience at the right time, with the right message, at the right cost.

(oh come on! I had to…media people love this “right time, right audience, right message” 🤣)


Campaign optimization is important to execute and to do so often. Even though programmatic techs always for some level of automation, it is an essential exercise to complete regularly by a programmatic ninja. Some DSPs have the capability to offer A.I-based campaign changes which can be helpful but not sufficient.

First step is understanding what targeting levers we can change based on performance data. These 10 main targeting levers have the ability to steer your campaign in the right directions.

The next steps is understanding when to use each. The number one focus with optimization is all decision must be based on your campaign goal and primary KPIs. Some of these levers have a more significant impact on conversion-based vs. click-based campaigns.

Yes, It is a lot sometimes, but I believe in you! You got it! Take it one step at the time. Allocate time dedicated of optimization daily or weekly. Make sure to join the monthly optimization masterclass where I teach how to become efficient at this process.