Paid Display Marketing
Display advertising is not just for big brands anymore. As the Internet continues to expand and thousands of new web pages are added daily, more direct buy inventory exists today than ever before. Out of this has come ad networks willing to give everyone access to the same inventory big brands used to just buy directly, but at a significant discount. At the same time, new technology has allowed display ad buying to become much more targeted – opening up the ability for direct response advertisers to drive the performance they are looking for.
The three primary types of display advertising we enter into for our clients are retargeting (remarketing), programmatic, and native. These can take many forms, from text and rich media, to images and the latest in native ads. Typically they are bought on a bidded CPM (cost per million impressions), but some networks offer a CPC (cost per click) model. While virtually every performance-based advertiser will budget for retargeting, programmatic and native ads are still the newer kids on the block, so it’s important to understand the differences.
Display Advertising Types
We’re all familiar with retargeting, whether we’ve been aware of it or not. You visit a website, view a product, and later on you start to see ads for that same (or a similar) product following you all over the web. Although this can sometimes be annoying, it can also be a highly effective way to bring customers back to a website to make a purchase. Typically these advertisements are shown based on a prediction of your “likelihood to convert.” For example, if Person A visits your homepage and leaves immediately, hisr “likelihood” is much lower than Person B who adds a product to her cart before leaving your site. While A may be left out of the retargeting pool or shown fewer ads, B is the opposite because they have shown a much higher likelihood to convert. In essence, retargeting allows you to keep your brand front and center as the potential customer browses the Internet. These ads can show anything from the actual product they viewed, to a generic brand ad, or even a coupon for added incentive to return and complete their purchase.
At Relay Paid Media, we generally buy our retargeting ads two different ways depending on the size of the advertiser. Typically, we start with both text and image ads through Google Adwords. While this is the most manual approach for us, it also has the lowest barrier to entry for your potential customers. For our larger advertisers, we are able to take advantage of a more technology-based approach through a retargeting partner whose algorithms can track everything from which pages drove the highest likelihood to convert, to the ideal number of times a potential customer should be shown your ads, to how long they should be shown them for. This is all done in real time and optimized based on the findings. Another advantage is the ability to test actual lift versus the number of visitors who probably would have converted anyway. When buying on a larger scale we can set aside a control group, allowing you to see the exact impact and return on ad spend.
Programmatic advertising is one step up the sales funnel from purchasing retargeting ads through a technology partner. Using artificial intelligence, it takes the data from any number of sources – including display, social, video and even TV – and uses it to identify behavioral patterns of the most highly likely users to convert to customers. It then shows your advertisement in front of these users with a highly efficient model taking advantage of real-time bidding. This added layer of “ad relevance” shows that the more data you have on your current customers, the more successfully targeted these ads can be in finding new customers.
Not only is programmatic ad buying replacing many other methods, but it’s allowing much higher returns on ad spend and enabling direct response advertisers to not only open up their audience, but also compete with other lower funnel tactics they are already engaging with.
Most people are not even aware when they engage with native ads. Of course, this is not surprising to advertisers – these ads blend into whatever content they are surrounded by. While text ads look like text, display ads look like images, and video ads look like videos, native ads will take any number of appearances to blend into the webpage content. The typical form is appearing as just any other article, but with a specific intent to promote a product.
In a world where savvy consumers often ignore typical advertisements, native ads have been designed to disguise themselves as regular content with a covert marketing message. The result is often a higher trust factor and likelihood that the ad will be engaged with, because aside from a small sponsor label, it does not appear to be paid content.
Like programmatic ad buying, native ads are still in their infancy and not for everyone, but they have a much lower barrier to entry as they do not rely on big data to drive decisions. While there are many platforms out there we typically buy these ads through Taboola, Outbrain, Yahoo Gemini and the newly updated Bing search advertising interface.
The Relay Approach To Display Advertising
Like anything else we do, we enter into these three types of advertising with the same goal: To drive performance and return on investment for our clients. We manage them just like we manage paid search and paid social, with a hands-on approach and great attention to detail.
With retargeting, our audience lists are highly segmented with hyper-focused ad copy directed at specific groups of users. While we will recommend retargeting to almost every client, we are very deliberate about testing programmatic and native ads. For our clients, this means that we promise to always be open and honest when advising you on our reasoning behind which type of paid display advertising will work best for you and why.
Where We See Others Fail
There are a number of issues we see time and time again with retargeting ad buying campaigns run by other companies. In fact, we’ve seen everything from not excluding visitors that have already converted from seeing theads; to skewed data resulting from ads being run through multiple vendors; to treating a retargeted visitor the exact same as a new visitor. Fortunately, these are three of the many things you’ll never see us do!
In addition, we often see other advertisers trying out native and programmatic ads primarily due to the fact that they are the “latest and greatest” online advertising methods. However, since both are in their infancy, you’ll also never see us trying something new just so we can use fancy words and charge you more to do it. If you want to try them out, we make sure to give you all the information we can and vette them accordingly. But because we’re in it to be by your side for the long haul, we are committed to your education and ongoing success above all.