Is native advertising just a buzz word for advertorial?
Native is certainly a buzz word in digital advertising and there is a growing debate on the concept of this type of communication. There are indeed similarities between native advertising and advertorials, however, the former is the practice of using content to build trust and engagement with would-be customers. There are many schools of thought over the efficiency of native and it can be very effective whilst carrying some risks, including the fact that it is not an easy method to scale.
What is a second price auction?
The real-time bidding (RTB) auction refers to bidding for users who fit an advertiser’s target market. RTB is not like a traditional auction, where you accept the next highest bid by raising your hand. RTB works on a second price auction (where the winning bid pays one cent more than the next highest bid). When a user impression is sent out to the exchanges in the bidding process, every DSP is given the choice to bid for the impression. This bid only happens once. You either win or lose the impression.
First, second and third-party data, what does it all mean?
Ad tech is complicated. Data is everywhere and when it comes to data driven marketing, it’s important to understand the differences. We’ve broken it down to try and make this clear. Clear as mud, right?
1. First-Party Data First-party data is advertiser data. This can include data from behaviors, actions or interests demonstrated across the advertiser website(s) and data within the advertiser CRM. The Exchange Lab can get actionable first-party data in two ways:
- A client direct market place (DMP). In this situation, the client plugs their DMP into The Exchange Lab’s suite of platforms
- The Exchange Lab places a pixel on the advertiser’s site
2. Second-Party Data The Exchange Lab defines second-party data as optimization data. This is the data that The Exchange Lab collects throughout the duration of a campaign regarding specific trends towards conversion or click, be that publisher information, time of day, day of week information or path to conversion information. The term second-party data is relatively new term to the online world, so other definitions do exist.
3. Third-Party Data Third-party data is anything that isn’t first party data, an aggregation of many different types of data, for example website data. External companies (hence the term 3rd party) collect data from multiple sources including but not limited to publishers, websites and credit agencies to allow buyers such as The Exchange Lab to apply them to online campaigns and aid targeting. Typical data can include demographic, audience, HHI or shopper intender information.
How does third-party ad serving work?
A third-party ad server allows advertisers to serve their creative to various websites or media buyers (such as The Exchange Lab) and to track the different metrics associated with online activity, such as impressions, clicks and conversions. As a multi-platform solution, The Exchange Lab favors this approach as it ensures we can track conversions separately across different platforms. In cases where a client does not have a third-party ad server, The Exchange Lab can supply one. Whilst common in North America, Europe and Australia, they are less prevalent in the Middle East, Africa and Pacific. Lack of third-party ad serving (3PAS) capability can be linked to shortage of programmatic inventory.
Isn’t programmatic just a source for publishers to sell their remnant inventory?
Not at all. More and more premium publishers are embracing programmatic and making their inventory available. Since the dawn of digital, premium inventory has been sold to clients via direct sales teams with guarantees surrounding placement and positioning. Today, premium inventory is also available through open exchanges and private market places meaning that a site’s home page, or a popular and high quality section of a site is also likely available through programmatic.
Remnant inventory, sold after premium inventory has been pre-sold by a direct salesforce, was once the traditional fair of networks. The rise of programmatic has managed to dis-prove the concept of “remnant”, as one bids on the user, not necessarily on the site. In doing so, the value of the impression is whatever the value of the user is, not a pre-defined low cost, bulk buy to achieve inventory fill. At The Exchange Lab, we have access to your audiences across the sites and devices they are accessing.
What exactly is a bot?
Digital fraud has been a hot topic in the press recently and it is a problem that can’t be ignored. Bots or robotic traffic are fraudsters who have found ways to make money from legitimate systems by using programs to generate false ad views and clicks. Bots are driven by code, therefore they do not have the ability to convert or make purchases. The impressions generated by bots can be included in the legally acquired impressions and clicks, which decreases the value of legitimate inventory. As a result, advertisers pay fraudsters directly for the false impressions and clicks generated by non-humans.
As buyers of inventory, The Exchange Lab are at the forefront in the fight against bots and fraudulent activity. To this end the anti-bot measures we employ are:
- Notice: fraudulent activity through spot checks on the sites we are buying inventory from. Some sites generate an unusually high amount of clicks, some achieving over 10% on the click through rate (CTR). As a company, we always exclude such sites from all campaigns by default (these sites form part of our ‘blacklist’ which is updated regularly).
- Filtered reports: as a result, our systems are capable of reading into robotic activity, as a high amount of impressions and clicks derive from particular IP addresses. Our systems automatically monitor this and if they notice irregular patterns, they will assume this is non-human activity and filter-out the impressions and clicks generated by these said IP’s. This process happens daily (overnight) before all our campaign reports are run in the morning.
Brand safety – do you know where your ads are?
Brand safety has always been a hot topic and at The Exchange Lab there are a number of processes in place to ensure all campaigns run in brand safe environments.
1. Blacklists? Whitelists? Which is which?
The Exchange Lab has a blacklist of sites that are not suitable or appropriate for your campaigns to run on. These blacklists are regularly updated with the URLs of sites deemed inappropriate and we ensure specific exclusions are made based on the brand safety sensitivity of individual clients. Whitelists consist of activity on inventory that has already been vetted by the advertiser and The Exchange Lab welcomes any whitelists that the advertiser wants to run on. Note, whitelists can lead to availability issues and increased CPM.
2. Content verification…meaning?
The Exchange Lab uses market-leading content verification technology and works together with exchanges to proactively exclude and block bots, toolbar publishers, hijackers and other sources of bad or unwanted inventory prior to evaluating bid opportunities. The Exchange Lab can work with any content verification partner that our clients already have a relationship with.
3. Platform-level screening and the importance of the human eye The Exchange Lab believes the automated processes used by Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and exchanges to screen different site content requires a human element to work in tandem with the automation. The philosophy we employ to safe guard brands means we don’t just rely on technology and algorithms to deliver a brand safe environment, everything passes human eyes to ensure all specifications are met.
Let’s talk about transparency
Transparency is one of the most complex topics within digital media today. There are multiple facets and key performance indicators (KPI’s) to consider which are primarily based on stats and financial implications. At The Exchange Lab we are committed to supplying our clients with full reporting based on the metrics of their campaign and if you have specific questions relating to transparency, we encourage you to engage your representative at The Exchange Lab directly.
Is viewability important?
In a complex marketplace, ads that have actually been seen by consumers are paramount. The difference between a viewable and a served impression is; with a viewable impression, a consumer actually saw the advertisement; whereas with a served impression this is not guaranteed. A viewable impression by definition means at least 50% of its pixels are visible for at least one second, compared to a served advertisement that may have been unseen by the user. The guarantee that your brand is purchasing viewable impressions is vital to ensure campaign quality and a return on your investment.
Programmatic – what on earth is it?
To put it simply, programmatic is a technology-driven media buying process that enables advertisers to target specific users. This process eliminates the need for paper-based manual media buying. Programmatic media allows brand advertisers to access the right customer, at the right place, at the right time across devices.