Targeting, optimization and creative are just a few of the topics tackled in Marketing Land’s Display Advertising column. We’ll also discuss media buying — ad networks, big publishers, real-time-bidding (RTB), retargeting and demand-side platforms (DSPs) — to help you get the best bang for your buck from your display dollars.

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Display Ads: How Direct Buys & RTB Interact

One of the most common questions that marketers face in buying display advertising is whether to contact a publisher or ad network directly to purchase inventory (called a Direct Buy), or through indirect channels using real-time bidding (RTB) systems. To those with experience in the RTB realm, it's well understood by now that there is an element of unpredictability and fluctuation in the availability and consistency of volume from specific publishers or sources of ad inventory. This can often lead to frustration, especially when trying to optimize and automate your campaigns. To appreci [...]


Time Means Everything In Programmatic Display

Data is so often discussed and so very misunderstood! Data is nothing more than values of qualitative or quantitative variables. It turns out that the term [Data] is as generic as the term [Food]. There are all kinds of food, food groups, and food ingredient combinations. You see, data is the lowest level of abstraction. On its own, Data carries no real meaning. Data viewed in context then produces information. Information tested and interpreted then results in knowledge. Experimental Data In online advertising, there is a potential treasure trove of audience data. The lowest level of kno [...]


The Road To Understanding Viewable Ad Impressions

[caption id="attachment_33146" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via iStockphoto used under license[/caption] According to a recent comScore study of a dozen major brands, including Allstate, Ford and Kellogg’s, 31 percent of online ads go unseen by consumers. Recently, I moderated a panel of experts in the field, and they all said they’d seen typical rates of unseen ads coming in at over 50%, and, in the worst cases, up to 80% of ads are going unseen. How can this be? Perhaps because of where an ad is placed (below the fold, in another window, etc.), page load times, or in th [...]


Is It Time For A Remarketing Review?

Many of you have taken the first steps toward setting up Google Display Network (GDN) remarketing campaigns. It may be time to review and refine those strategies. This exercise should give you clarification about your remarketing objectives, show you where you may be overlapping audiences across campaigns and show you where you may be missing exclusions. It may open up some creative thoughts that lead to additional audiences, tags and campaigns. Remarketing Review Objectives Using a spreadsheet, make a list of your all your current and/or potential remarketing audiences. Here is a list o [...]


The Mechanics Of Real-Time Bidding

Many newcomers to online ad buying have questions regarding the traffic they can buy through a demand-side platform (DSP). How much does it cost? How much of it is available? What is the quality like? The answers are actually interrelated, and require an understanding of the mechanics behind how real-time bidding (RTB) works. Industry Terminology Explained First, a clarification of some industry terminology. The first page that a visitor views -- more often than not the home page -- is called the "first impression." The second page is the "second impression," and so on. Since most adve [...]


Size Matters In Real-Time Bidding — But How You Use it Matters Most

There are literally thousands of online publishers seeking to monetize the “unique” traffic visiting their websites. Concurrently, there is a thirsty crop of data brokers lining up to assist publishers in connecting their data with the ever-growing advertising demand online. We live in an era of increasing concern about privacy, which makes sense, given there is simply more non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) than ever before on virtually every consumer online -- regardless of device, age, race or geography. This non-PII information includes where you browse, what you [...]


The Truth About Big Data

In today’s increasingly data-driven world, it’s interesting that there remain a number of misconceptions and hesitations surrounding big data. The most significant misconception is that many marketers refer to big data as a thing when it is simply a trend. While some marketers are wary of it, others are excited and ready to use the insights that big data can offer. It’s not far off to say that big data has forever changed the advertising industry. Data touches every channel – TV, social, mobile, video, display, search and so on. And as it’s produced on an ongoing basis, marketers [...]


Local Marketing Meets Display Advertising

shutterstock_1283772-shoestringbudget Most of my local clients over the years have had one thing in common – shoestring marketing budgets. With so little money set aside specifically for marketing, there was usually much deliberation over where they should invest those marketing dollars to increase their local discovery. As a local business, you may recognize some of the most common recommendations for a local marketing strategy: 1. Website (for marketing landing pages, local SEO, directions, etc.) 2. Social Marketing (Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) 3. Video Marketing (YouTube -- where you host videos for you [...]


Element-Level Display Advertising — Evolution In Progress

I believe display advertising is actually in its infancy. There are powerful dynamic variables at work that are creating major challenges for the advertising technology industry at large. Depending on the vendor, its technology stack and its level of commitment to legacy beliefs, this is either a problem that is of  concern or the opportunity of a lifetime. Either way, evolution is at work. Reality Check In the 1940's, science fiction writers began dreaming of a medium that looked something like our beloved Internet does today. By the 1960’s, key discoveries were being made and impl [...]


Advertising Industry Forecast For 2013

It’s been an explosive year for the ad industry, particularly in the online sector. From ad targeting’s important role in the presidential election, to Facebook’s recent IPO, online advertising is continuing to grow and evolve in our ever-expanding digital world. As 2012 winds down and we head into the New Year, I have included a few predictions below as to what we might expect to see in the industry over the next year. 1. Facebook Will Allow You To Serve Ads Using Your Own Ad Server Although Facebook began to allow other ad servers on its platform in certain circumstances in 20 [...]


Google Analytics Features For Google Display Campaigns

If you haven’t married your AdWords account with your Analytics account, now is a good time to take that step forward. Otherwise, you are missing out on data that you can only get with true integration. Google is constantly upgrading Analytics and adding new features for AdWords. Some of most recent upgrades include a new feature that now allows AdWords advertisers to add columns to their campaigns for Bounce Rates, Pages Per Visit and Average Duration. Remarketing lists can also now be created in Analytics and then added into your AdWords campaigns. Along with the more recent changes, [...]


Click-Only Attribution & The Death Of Common Sense

Back in May, I wrote a blog post documenting the top 10 alternatives to “Last Touch” attribution. Last touch is the common practice of awarding credit for an online conversion to the last advertising vendor to put an impression in front of a user before that user returns to a website and converts. This methodology for awarding credit to a display vendor is very common, often manipulated and highly illogical. I wish I could say that the absence of common sense begins and ends with “last touch,” but, alas, it gets worse. Very often, direct brand and agency contacts buying display m [...]


2012: The Year Of Ad Targeting

While 2012 isn’t entirely behind us just yet, many exciting things have happened in the digital space over the last twelve months that will have an impact on advertising in the New Year. Ad targeting has played a tremendous role in online advertising, and we have the abundance of available data to thank for this. Let’s take a closer look at some examples of what might have added to this momentum: Facebook Went Public In an effort to expand its reach and drum up additional revenue, the social networking giant went public in May. And what is Facebook comprised of? That’s right, da [...]


Keyword Themes Or Individual Keyword AdGroups In Google Display — Which Is Better?

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had my AdWords Display Network lab coat on. I needed volume and more conversions for my Google AdWords account, so I decided to set up and run a variety of keyword-driven campaign experiments. What I learned can save you a lot of time, money and frustration. What Are Keyword-Driven Campaigns?  Keywords are the most common method for targeting in the Google Display Network. In a keyword-driven display campaign, the main factor in determining which landing pages appear for your ads is your choice of keywords inside each AdGroup. Keywords can be combi [...]


Unstructured Data Is Redefining “Premium” In The World Of Display Advertising

Premium inventory is a term used by publishers and networks to generate higher demand and higher fees for advertising on portions of their Web properties. Often, premium inventory is defined as the pages that see the most traffic. Sometimes it is the degree to which the advertiser can customize the advertising space for their needs, or the specific content designed attract a specific demographic. There are other benefits, but this inventory is usually designated as premium using simple attributes such as these. Paying more for banner placement on a page that receives a higher amount of t [...]


Predictions For The Future Of Advertising & Media

The media business is nearly as old as mankind. We started writing on tablets and scrolls millennia ago; the telecommunication business was then invented in the 18th century; and the computer business grew out of the 2nd World War, later popularized in the 1970s. Media Linked As One But as separate as these three media once were, they are now linked as one. The media industry consumes more computing power than any other industry in the world, and it continues to explode exponentially. Media dominates every conversation that is powered by more than just the human voice, and the industry is fo [...]


Don’t Fall Victim To GDN Placement “Exclusion” Overkill

The foundation for every Google Display Network (GDN) strategy is placements. It doesn’t matter what campaign settings you use or how you set your campaigns up (keywords, topics, interest targeting, remarketing, managed placements), you will still optimize and base your success on the relevancy and performance of the placements where Google showed your ads. I have a terrible confession to make. I have never worked with any agency, company or individual that wasn’t using too many placement exclusions. There, I said it. But after today, there will be no more excuses and Google Disp [...]


Search Retargeting Adoption To Accelerate Among Brands And Agencies

Over the last two years, we've seen companies develop display solutions that show ads based on the keywords prospects search as they navigate the Web. The introduction of search retargeting represented a major leap forward for direct response and brand marketers who were thirsty for new audience acquisition and engagement solutions that performed better. What they got was transparency and insight into the data used to reach consumers -- they could use consumers' actual online searches instead of the 3rd party data shoved into a fixed, black box audience segment that had become the norm. [...]


Will Search Engines One Day Be Overcome With Display Ads?

Last month, Google’s famously streamlined white homepage was plastered with something different: an animated banner ad. Since Google has been credited as an ad-free (or, at least, display-ad-free) search engine, the animated banner ad for the Nexus 7 Android tablet came as a bit of a shock to both Google users and the wider industry. While this wasn’t the first time Google used its homepage to showcase products, was it a smart move by Google? In today’s shareholder-value-centric paradigm, companies are principally run by profitability. Whenever a company says that it will never d [...]


Interactive Advertising: Way Beyond Shooting Ducks

Flash back to the 90s to a time when interactive Flash ads were fairly fresh. Do you remember those "shoot the duck" leaderboard banner ads that, for a time, converted no matter what the message?  Not only did those Flash banners integrate movement but they gave you the ability to interact when you put your mouse over the ad. As advertisers pushed Flash ads to the edge of annoyance, most ad networks began outlawing all ads that shivered, blinked, had flashing backgrounds or tricked you into clicking the ad. These truly tricky banners made us believe that the ad was interactive but it reall [...]


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