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Display's New Era: A Heightened Need for Attribution Reporting

Volume 2, Issue 1 - January, 2012

Brian Midili, Director of Solution Architecture, Visual IQ

In recent years the digital marketing community has heralded the comeback of online display advertising. New technologies have provided display buyers with much greater flexibility, targeting ability, and precise control over their campaigns than ever before. The maturation of ad exchanges and the combined alphabet soup of DSPs, DMPs and CPMs have allowed marketers to directly buy ads at acceptable prices, and target the users that are most appropriate for their offers.

The New Era of Display

The advent of Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) has enabled a new level of control for display engagement. You can now simultaneously launch campaigns across multiple ad exchanges, with individual bid prices of your choosing, utilizing flexible budget constraints. The DSPs also afford you precise control over unique user frequencies within virtually any window of time.

Likewise, Data Management Platforms (DMPs) have assumed a prominent role in online display’s new era. These databases seamlessly plug into those DSP consoles and let you construct an audience segment from any, or several, of the industry’s leading audience profiling specialists.

But There’s A Catch

As you can imagine, these new capabilities come at a cost. DMPs provide their audience data on a Cost Per Impression (CPM) basis. And utilizing DSPs to competitively bid for inventory on ad exchanges can potentially lead to CPM run-ups for high quality placements – or result in simply not garnering the amount of reach you seek.

A Couple Best Practices

Closely monitoring DSP and DMP-enabled display campaigns in your reporting environment is a must. Take your reach report for example. A behavioral segment’s reach estimates are always in flux, subject to the strength of the cookie pool. The in-market results of your campaign may not measure up to the reach you thought you’d receive. So you must weigh both the quality of the segment’s performance (preferably against conversions) as well as the actual reach achieved against the total price paid for those impressions.

Similarly, you need to keep tabs on frequency. Impressions produced by the DSP/DMP combination may come at a higher cost than less targeted buys, so you should dial down user frequencies that prove to have no added likelihood to convert. Consult your unique user frequency report to guide you toward a sensible frequency cap, preferably at the optimal impression count to incent a conversion.

Finally, message sequencing remains a useful tool in the modern display buyer’s toolbox. With the frequency cap in mind, you can instruct the DSP to present creatives in the order that your marketing attribution solution demonstrates is the most likely to produce a conversion. Look to those sequence charts to discover the winning combination.

When it makes sense for your target market, take advantage of ad exchanges, DSPs and DMPs, but don’t forget that it still takes diligent monitoring via your reporting/attribution platform to deliver maximum value from online display advertising.

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