Display

This is a guest post from Sophia Fen, Mobile Account Manager at 3Q Digital.

As a digital advertiser, you most likely spend the majority of your digital media dollars on Google and Facebook. It makes sense—eMarketer forecasts that together, the two tech giants will make up more than 46% of global digital ad spend this year.

However, once those platforms are set up and optimized, where do you go from there? What else should you test?

In the mobile app world, a next step and expansion opportunity is running on mobile ad networks and DSPs. These offer scale, additional inventory, and targeting capabilities to help take your campaigns to the next level.

What is a Mobile Ad Network?


A mobile ad network is a collection of multiple ad inventory sources (includes both in-app and mobile web inventory) that allows advertisers and agencies to reach broad audiences relatively easily through targeted buys.

What Is a DSP?


A DSP is a demand-side platform. This is where you can run real-time bidding (RTB) campaigns, accessing a large amount of inventory by plugging into multiple ad exchanges and ad networks.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Working with Mobile Ad Networks?


Pros:

  • Large amounts of inventory
  • Wide variety of inventory types—inventory grows and changes daily
  • Usually an untapped growth channel for advertisers
  • Many ad networks will let you buy on a guaranteed cost per install (CPI) or cost per action (CPA)
  • Most ad networks have sophisticated machine learning algorithms that learn your campaign and objectives over time. They also maintain databases with millions of unique device profiles.


Cons:

  • Often there is less transparency
  • Traffic volume can be sporadic, and pacing has to be adjusted frequently
  • There is a lot of fraud and distrust in the space. However, more advanced fraud protection tools and guaranteed pricing models are helping to mitigate that.


What Types of Ad Units Can You Run on Ad Networks?


Most ad networks run banners, interstitials, video, native, and offer walls. [Offer walls should be reserved for incentivized burst campaigns only, as the user is likely not highly qualified since they’re downloading the app to receive something in return (coins or points for a game, for example).]

How Is Targeting Done on Ad Networks?


Targeting capabilities vary between ad networks, but most have some type of algorithm that uses a variety of data points to determine valuable users and audiences. These data points can include types of apps installed on the user’s phone, how the user engages with their apps, demographic and behavioral information, and location data.

Once a campaign has a substantial amount of valuable converters, you can then generate lookalikes for targeting for scale. You can also target by category (e.g., serve ads for a financial advertiser in other finance apps) or whitelist based on inventory sources that have performed well for other advertisers in similar categories.

If you decide to test into the ad network space, make sure you’re asking the right questions to ensure you’re set up for success. The below checklist is a good starting point.

Checklist: Discuss/Ask about these items when evaluating an ad network:

  • Main differentiators
  • Pricing models and minimums: Do they offer a fixed CPI model? Do you need a certain amount of spend to run a campaign?
  • Out clause terms: Usually these are 48 hours
  • Targeting and re-engagement capabilities
  • Operating system scale: Do they skew more heavily toward Android or iOS?
  • Geo-targeting capabilities: Can they target down to the zip code level?
  • Level of transparency: Will they share site/app level data and provide dashboard access?
  • Customer Support: Will you have a dedicated account manager?
  • Inventory overlap: Are they buying from other networks?
  • Types of ad unit: Do they run video, interstitial, banner, native etc.?
  • Type of inventory: Do they skew more toward in-app or mobile web?
  • Fraud: What are they doing proactively to combat fraud? What’s being done if fraudulent activity is detected? If you’re interested in learning more about mobile ad fraud in general and best practices for preventing it, take a look at this useful target="_blank">blog post.


How do you measure the impact of influence? More importantly, what’s the best way to measure such a fuzzy concept using an analytical approach?

As marketers have been complementing their bread-and-butter search advertising efforts by adding new tactics into the marketing mix—whether it’s social media native ads, rich media banners, mobile in-app interstitials, or desktop and mobile video ads—it’s increased the spotlight on the sticky issue of attributing conversions properly across different channels. It’s especially relevant for the aforementioned tactics, because none of them are particularly well suited for measuring via click-through conversions alone.

Measuring view-through conversions has quantifiable benefits on the bottom line


There are three powerful reasons for making a proper view-through attribution model a high priority:

  1. View-through conversions are a better representation for upper- and middle-funnel performance than click-through conversions. Display ads are renowned for their epically terrible click-through rates. But rather than dismiss the medium as a poor performer, it’s important to understand that most display ads are typically served further up the conversion funnel to help move the customer closer towards making a decision. Measuring them on click-through conversions alone is akin to measuring search ads solely on how many customers it drives to the store. It’s important to use the right metric for the right situation.
  2. Proper view-through attribution can lead to increased search lift. The positive impact of display and social advertising on search activity and conversions is undeniable. It’s been proven by a number of different studies over the past several years. Accordingly, if we understand the assistive impact of display and social on search, then it’s important to properly measure their impact in order to make the right investment across the different channels. If $1 spent on a Facebook ad leads to an extra $5 within the search channel, that’s something you’d definitely want to know.
  3. Measuring view-through conversions improves optimization efforts. What if the very small percentage of people clicking on your display ads didn’t represent your very best customers? What if half the clicks on a mobile ad were from people with fat finger syndrome? And what if you optimized all your future spend on trying to acquire all these wrong types of people? Advertisers who optimize based on click-through conversions alone find themselves in this conundrum.
  4. This is just the beginning. While view-through attribution doesn’t have to be complex (on the contrary, it’s actually quite straightforward to set up properly!), it does require an understanding of its business rationale and some of its limitations. To learn more about view-through attribution, including the two-step process for how you can set them up for maximum success,
    download the white paper
    or
    view the webinar archive
    .

This is the final post in a series on transparency. In today’s article, we look at data transparency, why it’s important, and the elements of a transparent data model.

We’ve reached the last article in our series on transparency in programmatic display advertising. For those of you just tuning in, let’s quickly recap:


To wrap things up, this article looks at the importance of having access to all of your data—not just the numbers a publisher wants you to see. Let freedom—and transparency—ring.

The Trouble with Too Little Data


When it comes to data visibility needs and desires, advertisers and agencies run the gamut—some are happy to pay on a CPC basis without knowing what CPM the vendor paid. Others are okay tracking to just a few KPIs. Still others want it all. What’s the best way to go?

The key to transparency is precision—whether you’re running a direct response or a brand campaign, having the right data measures the impact of either type of campaign, and allows you access to what you need to measure ROI.

So what do advertisers most often expect from their ad tech vendors and publishers? Our take is that list is long, but we’ll focus on the essential data you need to transform “unaware” to “X-ray vision.”

To gain greater intelligence about the effectiveness of your display campaigns and to better understand the customer journey and attribution, at minimum, you need access to:

  • Effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM): the effectiveness of a CPM campaign that takes earnings into account and gives you a comparable metric across buys
  • Assisted conversions and view-through metrics: measures the extent to which display ads influence subsequent site visits and sales—without a click—and avoids allocating value to ads that didn’t influence a visit or sale
  • Site-level reporting and performance by domain: whitelisting and blacklisting promotes better targeting and provides a way to measure site-level effectiveness
  • Bids: know what your partner’s bidding for each impression (win vs. bid rate), and the logic, math, and algorithms behind a bidding process
  • The lookback window used to calculate conversion credit: lets you understand the relationship of a consumer’s engagement during upper-funnel tactics to drive awareness and consideration (e.g., 30-day+ window) or lower-funnel tactics (e.g., a two-day window) to give proper attribution to the campaign that lead to the conversion


This level of transparency allows you to understand true ROI. It also lets you keep an eye on how your bids are managed, unlike black box vendors who don’t reveal a history of bid calculations or otherwise provide any idea of what—and how—you’re actually doing. With the black box model, it’s much harder/impossible for you to look into the data and understand what’s driving conversions or an algorithm. Conversely, being able to do this provides you with a high level of visibility into the effectiveness of your campaign.

Why All the Secrecy?


Despite industry calls for greater data transparencyon many levels, mum’s still the word from most vendors and publishers. Some players have their reasons—the main one being to maintain a competitive edge. Understandable. However, as more and more brands pound at the locked doors of black box vendors, it’ll become less to those vendors’ advantage to keep the secret sauce secret.

If a vendor is transparent about not being transparent, is that “transparent”? We say “no.” As vendors realize this, perhaps there’ll be some level of agreement that to survive in an increasingly tug-of-war environment, neutrality and openness are key.

That is, companies must heed the call to “show me the data.”

Transparency for Optimal Performance


In sum—the best way you can improve campaign performance is to know exactly how bidding, reporting, and attribution are all working independently and in concert. Once you have this level of data and insight, you’ll know exactly how your budgets are working for you (or not), and you can take active steps to enhance effectiveness. At that point, you’ll have a crystal-clear view of your marketing efforts—and your ROI—to give you the confidence, control, and independence you need to execute measurable marketing initiatives.

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at
Boost Media.

The holiday season is here! To launch successful holiday display ad campaigns, marketers need to be thoughtful about the creative, the offer, and the timing. Here at five tips to catalyze your holiday display ads through the New Year.

1. Use holiday-specific imagery and creative



Spruce up your ad creative, landing page, and site navigation for the holidays to demonstrate to consumers that you’re excited about the gift-giving season. Incorporate reasonably agnostic holiday symbols such as wreaths, snowflakes, evergreen trees and candles into creative.

2. Get the timing right



40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping by Halloween, according to an NRD study. You likely already know this, but campaigns should launch as early as mid-October. So, if you haven’t launched yet, better late than never—now’s the time! Promoting your holiday campaigns early allows you to take advantage of the Thanksgiving rush, and spread awareness of your brand for Cyber Monday through Christmas and New Year.

3. Avoid creative fatigue



To keep your ads looking distinct and fresh, update your creative once or twice a month. Changes can be low effort, like tweaking old concepts with new colors, buttons, borders, or images.

4. Use last year’s data



According to a McKinsey study, campaigns that rely on data improve marketing ROI 15-20%. Look at last year’s holiday campaign and sales figures to determine what products were the most popular. What channels were display campaigns most successful on? The results will help you focus your efforts on the highest-performing channels and highest-converting customer bases.

5. Be clear with discounts



Create urgency with shoppers by stressing the importance of short-term sales during the holidays. Be clear about the expiration date for discount deals, coupons, and promotions.

Follow these tips and get ready for your most successful year yet. Have a joyous holiday season.


About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Holiday shopping’s in full swing. If you’re running retargeting campaigns, make sure they’re as prepared for the season as you are. Online sales are forecast to increase between seven and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion.

We made your list, so check it twice, and take these steps to boost campaign performance during the holiday season.

Increase your budgets to win more impressions


You’re likely going to see a boost in site traffic (especially if you sell anything that can be given as a gift), which means you’ll see a boost in impressions served and in advertising funds spent. Make sure your campaigns have a proper budget set to guarantee you have enough ad money available for the day, so that you don’t miss out on these potential new customers.

We recommend a 25 to 50% budget increase for the holidays, but you know your site traffic best. Whatever percentage of traffic increase you’re expecting, boost your budget about that same percentage.

Raise your campaign bids


Almost all advertisers will increase their spend for the holidays, so you’re going to have serious competition.

With so many advertisers fighting for ad space, it’s not uncommon to see your CPM costs rise during this time of year. To prepare for this surge, make sure you increase your CPM bids across your campaigns. Bidding higher will make your campaigns more competitive and will give you a better chance of serving more ads by winning more impressions. We suggest increasing your CPM bid by 50-100% of the current average CPM cost for the campaign.

Use holiday-themed ads and landing pages


Holiday-themed advertising only gets people’s attention during one time of the year, and you should join the conversation your customers are having. Using ads that mention specific events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any of the major holidays can grab a visitor’s attention.

Send a happy holiday message, mention that there are only X number of shopping days left, and give them a reason to click your ads. Use the holidays as a chance to create urgency and you could see a boost in clicks and conversions.

Two Quick Steps You Can Take Right Now


  • Create landing pages and content on your site for these holiday events, then create audiences that capture visitors of these pages.
  • Run campaigns to serve your holiday ads to your holiday page visitors. If they’re coming to your site looking for seasonal deals, they’re more likely to respond to holiday-themed ads.


We hope these suggestions are helpful and lead to a profitable holiday season for you and your business. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

From our team to yours—happy holidays!

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