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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Advertising Has a Banking-Industry-Size Fraud Problem

vantage_local_battles_display_fraud Local advertisers are more susceptible than ever to deceptive digital agency practices. The metric commonly used to gauge success in local display advertising today, click-through rate (CTR), can be easily manipulated to provide the illusion of success, leading local advertisers to believe that their campaign is performing well. Unfortunately, the selective manner in which many agencies restrict reporting transparency prevents investigation by the advertiser and does not allow for true optimization. Financial Engineering Fraudsters A common tactic used by some of the largest local online [...]

Navigating Around Icebergs: How Elemental Data Charts A Better Course For Display Advertising

Iceberg Icebergs are deceptive. Their icy peaks jut out of frigid waters, revealing only a fraction of their volume. What appears to be a small, confined piece of floating ice that can easily be navigated around might very well turn out to be a massive barrier below the surface. [caption id="attachment_51032" align="alignright" width="258"] Image credit:[/caption] Perils Of Segment-Based RTB Segment-based, real-time bidding for display advertising is sort of like an iceberg. It looks really cool, but can obscure the real picture. The promise of better performance through progra [...]

The Real State Of Programmatic Marketing

Facebook world map Clearly, we have an industry awash with talk about programmatic marketing and big data. But what is real, and what is BS? What practical executions exist today? And what does a future world look like if big data really is everywhere? I am on somewhat of a personal mission to provide a simple way for marketers to think about what programmatic marketing and big data mean. To do that we must think about what a marketer’s goal is – to reach the right person, at the right time and with the right message. But in a RTB (real-time bidding) media world, we must also include the right price, give [...]

Beware: As Mobile Grows, Desktop May Decline

I've been in the digital advertising and technology business since the 1990s, and since day one, I've heard two refrains over and over again: Time spent on desktops is still much greater than the dollars spent reaching the audience using them. This is the year of mobile. My reaction to this has been: Nod sagely, talk about the demise of the :30-second spot (on TV). Laugh. Another "year of mobile"? Sure thing, you bet – just like last year. So, as you might imagine, it has come as a bit of a shock to me to realize that the money spent on digital advertising on desktops has r [...]

Intelligent IP: Revolutionary Ad Targeting For Locally-Minded Marketers

In my last column, I analyzed the limitations of cookie-based behavioral targeting for locally-focused advertisers. As demonstrated in that study, contextual targeting strategies -- in a series of well-documented tests -- eclipsed behavioral targeting in performance and brand safety. However, as digital advertisers are aware, not every contextual targeting strategy is scalable at the local level; such a strategy can be limited by the availability of real-time contextual inventory. As cookie-based behavioral targeting becomes increasingly compromised and contextual targeting encounters scala [...]

For RTB Success, Focus on Value — Not Cost

Scanning the agendas at this year’s search trade shows as well as popular articles on the industry's leading search websites, it is apparent that display advertising via real-time bidding (RTB) is rapidly gaining attention in the search advertising community.  According to IDC, the RTB market was $3B in 2012 and is projected to reach $14B in 2016, representing a huge opportunity for search buyers. As Nielsen noted in their Q3 Social Media Report, consumers spend 4 percent of their online time engaged in search, and that sliver of opportunity has become the most successful form of online [...]

Media Buying 101: Why You Need Your Own Ad Server

As an advertiser, there is no better way to purchase massive amounts of online display ad inventory than directly from publishers or ad networks. Granted, there is more legwork involved when compared to programmatic buying, and the CPM rates can be quite high -- but this is offset by the ability to reserve large amounts of inventory. When you're buying media in bulk, the need for a proper ad server is very important in terms of controlling your ad operations. You could say that it’s a best practice to use your own ad server, especially if you run a consistent volume of ad campaigns. How [...]

Removing Marketing Silos To Better Understand The Customer Journey

[caption id="attachment_47842" align="alignright" width="279"] Image via shutterstock[/caption] Take a look around any marketing department today, and you’re likely to find clusters of marketers responsible for various functions such as display, targeting, search, and the affiliate channel. On the one hand, this allows you to cultivate teams with deep expertise in their areas of specialization. On the other hand, it creates silos that limit your ability to see the full scope of the customer’s journey. For example, your back-to-school campaign may be a full-on marketing push throug [...]

Let’s Raise Our Standards Online: Stop Faking ROI & Start Acting More Like TV

ML_comScore 6.3 TV advertising is one of the most effective means of increasing brand awareness; and, despite the heightened use of ad-skipping devices, marketers continue to allocate ad dollars in massive amounts to television. But, as digital starts to deliver similar products, there has been a debate raging about measurement. Nearly One-Third Of Online Display Ads Aren't Seen So far, this debate has been about things like Gross Rating Points vs. Impressions; but, there is a more fundamental issue that we have to fix before digital can be measured accurately and effectively for advertisers. A recent c [...]

Beyond AdWords: Demand Side Platforms Explained

Real Time Bidding (RTB) Ecosystem Having worked at a self-serve demand side platform (DSP) for over 2 years, one of the most common questions I get when trying to explain the concept of a DSP to others is: "Isn't that kind of like AdWords?" Even amongst experienced marketers, most only have a vague idea of how DSPs work and how they ultimately differ from a platform like Google AdWords. Most DSPs are similar to AdWords in that they are used to create ad campaigns. But, DSPs provide advertisers access into the vendor-neutral RTB ecosystem; whereas AdWords only allows campaigns to run within the Google network. The difference [...]

The 4 Strategic Phases Of Lean Display Advertising

Professional stand-up comedians are known to practice their routines with smaller audiences in preparation for their big shows and HBO specials. They do this in order to find out what works and what doesn't and to hone all the elements of their routine: timing, delivery, wording and so on. That way, when they hit the big stage, they have the confidence that they are delivering an optimized routine. This is not unlike the "lean startup" approach described by Eric Ries in his book, The Lean Startup. In it, he advocates the "build-measure-learn" cycle, which puts experimentation, measurement [...]

So, You Thought Site Retargeting Was Personalized?

Marketing technologies and strategies are like a runaway train these days -- if you blink, you’ll probably miss the latest techniques; and, if you don’t hold on for dear life, they will pass you by entirely. The good news? It doesn't have to be this hard. An evolving market has far more benefits than disadvantages, if only you know how to wrangle them. Personalization is just one example of this, especially within site retargeting. Before you scratch your head and think that personalization is already in full force within site retargeting, take a step back and let me explain. I'l [...]

Kicking Third-Party Cookies To The Curb: The Fallout For The Digital Ad Industry

Cookies [caption id="attachment_39268" align="alignright" width="350"] Image via Magnetic[/caption] More and more Web browsers are blocking the use of third-party cookies by default, a development which has sparked a fierce debate in the digital ad industry. Firefox is the latest browser to make the announcement, forcing marketers, ad technology companies and ad agencies to discover another means for reaching consumers with targeted advertising. This controversy began with Safari, but because Safari had a mere 5% market share, it didn’t ruffle many feathers. However, over time, other browse [...]

Topic Targeting Teamwork

There is power in teamwork, but it also takes the right combination to make a great team. In the Google Display Network, combining strategies can help you increase traffic while refining your audience. The wrong mixture of strategies can mean too much or too little traffic, or you could end up with a too-broad audience or one that is too small to justify their own campaign or AdGroup. Topic targeting used all by itself can also be very powerful, especially for branding, new product launches or to get on a wide variety of sites relevant to your topic. With topic targeting, if you were releas [...]

5 Ways Real-Time Bidding Differs From Direct Buys

For marketers that want to run online display ad campaigns, choosing between direct channels and real-time bidding (RTB) platforms might seem a little unclear at first. After all, the ultimate result is the same: you are placing your ads on a website somewhere. The process that a marketer must follow, however, to reach that end goal is very different depending on the approach, and each has its pros and cons. To help you understand which approach may be best for you, we’ll begin by contrasting some of the characteristics of traditional direct buys and RTB, and what they mean to brands, age [...]

The Four Types of Campaign Data You’re Not Seeing In Display

Buying display ads through an ad tech platform is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get – and this can be disastrous to programmatic media buying. Instead of being strategic about your ad buy, you’re forced to take your vendor’s word for it that the consumers you’re targeting are actually being targeted. This is unfortunate at best and reckless at worst. After all, these are the interwebs. There’s data everywhere! Is the lack of transparency a result of a true blind spot in technology? Or is your vendor holding back key data on your campaign due to a [...]

A New Era: Re-Defining Premium Ad Inventory

Marketing_land_magnetic inventory Premium inventory. What exactly does that mean? We think we all know: it’s that custom ad placement on, or the full-page takeover on Some of us may think a gaming site like IGN is premium; others may disagree. Overall, the basic premise is that premium inventory is the media found on a well-known and well-respected publisher. Clean, Well-Lit Inventory Personally, I prefer “clean, well-lit” inventory as an expression of what’s good rather than “premium.” The popularity of sites can wax and wane so rapidly that it’s impossible to keep up with the top [...]

Display Campaign Efficiency Using Code Names And Filtering

I have a passion for filters, especially in partnership with Excel, the AdWords User Interface (UI) and AdWords Editor. Regardless of whether you are working with small campaigns or very large campaigns, filters can help make reporting and management much faster. [caption id="attachment_35765" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Campaign Code Filter[/caption] Coming Up With Code Names In The AdWords UI & AdWords Editor Codes may be your secret power against time. There are so many options now for setting up your Google Display campaigns that you really need a way to stay organized when y [...]

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 [...]

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