WFA releases programmatic media guidelines for brands

What do Coca-Cola, MasterCard and Philips have in common? They’re members of a programmatic ‘taskforce’ organized by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

The announcement accompanied the WFA’s release of a set of programmatic guidelines, which are geared towards helping brands to better tackle programmatic ad trading and tackle issues around transparency and arbitrage. Coca-Cola, Mastercard and Philips, along with other major blue chip companies (including Boehringer Ingelheim, Deutsche Telekom, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson) will champion programmatic understanding, education and “interrogation” to ensure advertisers realize the full value out of the unreserved use of the channel.

The guide includes important steps for brands to take if they wish to improve upon their return-on-investment in the programmatic market, including tips on asking the right questions, negotiating with suppliers and understanding different technology stacks.

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Last week we hosted an awesome webinar, led by our own Ben Zelikovitz, which covered all the new SiteScout DSP updates that we announced in August. It was our most popular webinar to date, reaching the 100-attendee capacity in the first five minutes. So, if you weren’t able to get in to the live session, or if you missed the event altogether, sit back, relax, and enjoy the replay.

(Pro tip: For the best viewing experience, we highly recommend watching with HD enabled in full screen mode.)

Programmatic Is Ready To Deliver What Brand Marketers Want

Thanks to real-time bidding, programmatic technology has finally got what big brand advertisers need.

Audience-based RTB buying forever changed the way the advertising and marketing industry think about buying and selling online ads. The problem for premium-brand advertisers when RTB emerged was that, despite a desire to automate, there weren’t any controls or guarantees for their ad budgets. That was then. Now, RTB has inspired new forms of programmatic ad buying, like automatic guaranteed (programmatic direct), which is as efficient as RTB, but not as risky. Direct could be seen as an attractive prospect for both major advertisers and publishers alike.

With many automation options becoming available, expect big brands to automate all their online advertising, but doing so in their own way.

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Webinar: SiteScout DSP Updates (August 2014)

by Ratko Vidakovic on August 27, 2014 · 0 comments

Product Updates with Ben Zelikovitz

Earlier this month we announced a variety of new features and improvements to the SiteScout DSP. We will be hosting a live webinar in two weeks from now to give an overview and guided tour of all the new functionality.

During this webinar, Ben Zelikovitz will be showcasing all the new features and functionality of the SiteScout DSP, which include: new inventory, new data partners, campaign groups and folders, mobile rich media (MRAID), and various other improvements.

Both during and after the presentation, Ben will be answering questions from webinar attendees, so don’t miss your chance to ask him anything.

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RTB Zeitgeist: Looking Beyond CTR

by Ratko Vidakovic on August 18, 2014 · 0 comments

RTBs Coming of Age: Looking Beyond CTR

It’s high time advertisers moved beyond antiquated key performance indicators such as click-through rates when they analyze their mobile advertising and RTB strategies.

Advertisers need to start realizing that clicks aren’t the best mobile metric. Post click or view metrics are much more effective in terms of gaining insight into a campaign’s success. Third-party tags/SDKs and integration with media providers are factors brands can study to make the move towards more effective campaign optimization and success. It comes down to measuring consumer interaction after the click. That process will help brands to create dynamic KPIs based on engagement actions.

In measuring such actions, brands will be able to better understand the quality of each first click coming from their consumers. This analysis, ultimately, will help them increase efficiency and return on advertising spend.

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SiteScout Product Update: August 2014 Edition

by Ratko Vidakovic on August 5, 2014 · 0 comments

The last four months here at SiteScout have been extremely productive, as we strive towards becoming the most powerful and intuitive ad platform out there. As a result, we have a massive update for you, but we’ve broken it down for easy consumption.

There have been significant product improvements from practically every aspect of the platform: inventory, data partners, video enhancements, workflow, user experience, and much more. Moving forward, we plan to put out more frequent updates for easier digestion, but for now, let’s focus on what’s new!

Our Newest Audience Data Partner: BlueKai

We have integrated with the largest data exchange in the world: BlueKai. You can think of BlueKai as the AppNexus of data. They are like a galaxy of data providers. If you want 3rd party audience data to target against, you can get pretty much access anything through BlueKai.

To put things in perspective, BlueKai has over 25,000 data segments! To keep things manageable though, we’ve decided to hand pick some initial data providers from BlueKai before opening up more. The first two data providers are Bizo, the leader in B2B audience data, and Polk, the leader in automotive data.

Additional data providers are in the process of being released very shortly. The next ones in the queue are DataLogix CPG and Symphony IRI data. However, if you have any specific requests of your own, please email and we will put it in the queue.

To access BlueKai data, simply create an Audience campaign, and you will see these new data segments once you reach the Audiences tab.

Folders & Campaign Groups

When we first built the SiteScout RTB platform, we wanted to keep it easy to use. So creating a complex hierarchy of campaigns and folders was something that we chose not to focus on initially. But, we are now introducing folders and campaign groups, which will allow agencies to organize their advertisers, campaigns, and tactics in a very logical way.

First, we’ve introduced folders. Folders make it easier for you to organize your campaigns and keep your dashboards tidy. Furthermore, if your account has dozens or hundreds of campaigns, using folders (or groups) will drastically speed up your experience in the UI. You can nest folders up to four levels deep, which means that you have the flexibility to organize your account as you see fit.

For example, you could organize your campaigns by:

  • Division (East, West, Central, etc.)
  • Year (2014, 2013, 2012, etc.)
  • Client (Pepsi, Toyota, Nike, etc.)
  • Campaign (Diet Pepsi, Q4 Awareness, etc.)
  • And so on.

Once you get down to the campaign level, Campaign Groups allow you to, as the name suggests, group campaigns into an overarching group with a shared budget. This makes it possible to create a Campaign Group with a singular goal, but with a variety of campaign tactics within it, like contextual, audience, retargeting, and domain targeting.

More importantly, with a strict daily budget set at the group level, it’s no longer necessary to babysit a multitude of campaigns to make sure that the aggregate daily budget is pacing correctly.

Campaign groups have a number of budgeting options: no budget (in which case only the campaign-level budgets would be used), daily budget, and all-time budget. We are currently working on enhancements to our pacing system that would allow all-time budgets to be automatically paced across flight dates, which will be huge!

When creating a campaign group, you can import existing campaigns into it. This operation essentially copies the campaign to the new group and archives the old instance.

Mobile Rich Media (MRAID) Support

You can now safely run your MRAID (mobile rich media) creative on SiteScout! We have adjusted the “Add Creative” menu to account for this new support. The former “Rich media ad tag” option has been renamed to “Expandable (Web)” and a new MRAID ad tag option is now available. Ad tags uploaded using this dialog will only bid on impressions that support the MRAID version you specify.

(Side Note: Even though we fully support the use of Celtra tags, we don’t have their official seal of approval just yet. We are working on Celtra certification as we speak, and expect full certification soon!)

Video Campaign Enhancements

Since launching Video campaigns back in March, there have been a number of enhancements, making it much more powerful. We’ve added SpotXchange and LiveRail to complement our existing relationship with BrightRoll.

SpotXchange brings a variety of new inventory; from premium websites like ABC, Pandora, AMC, and a number of the ComScore 500 brand name publishers, to more niche, long-tail websites that are best used to achieve reach on user generated content sites, for example. Overall, they provide our platform with 12 billion additional video impressions per month.

(Side Note: While we are not yet fully ramped up nationwide across all US SpotXchange inventory, we do expect full coverage for both US and Canada by the end of the week.)

Recently acquired by Facebook, LiveRail is best known for being the number one source of DailyMotion inventory. Through this partnership, it has opened up roughly 1 billion additional video impressions per month. But we are slowly ramping them up, so expect that number to increase significantly.

In the near future, we will also be adding additional video reporting, which will include: completed views, quartile reporting, skips, and more. Expect this announcement in our next update.

New Inventory Sources

We’ve added several new sources of unique inventory based on demand and expected performance.

GumGum is one of those sources: They offer unique in-image and in-screen ad formats. In-image ads are where the creative floats over top of images within web pages. As a result, the supported ad sizes are different than usual. The most common sizes are 728×90, 468×60, and 320×50, with 234×60 also available. Here is how it looks:

In-screen ads are where the creative floats at the bottom of the page. Both mobile and desktop inventory are available for this format. See the below image for an example:

Generally, CTR are higher with these formats than other placements because the ads are so adjacent to the content. Moreover, ad tags are not loaded until the ad is in the browser viewport, which means that these ad units have very high viewability, as shown in this report from DoubleVerify.

We have also added quite a bit of niche inventory to the platform. AdNetwork.Net is an exchange that’s focused on Latin America inventory. They are the exclusive seller of Gawker Media inventory in Latin America, and have roughly 65 million impressions per day. Batanga is another Latin American exchange with an average daily volume of 35 million impressions. Ybrant Digital is a performance marketing exchange with an average daily volume of 35 million impressions. And Media Shakers is a performance marketing exchange with an average daily volume of 200 million impressions.

More Product Improvements

Now that we’ve covered the major updates to the platform, let’s dive into the various miscellaneous improvements that have enhanced the user experience.

Enhancement: Geo-Targeting Design

When creating a new campaign, we have redesigned the area where you choose the locations to target. The new design is an attempt to improve the intuitiveness of the targeting logic. (Locations are always “or” rules between lines, except for exclusions, which are always “and” rules).

To add geographic regions like country, state/province, or city, clicking the big green “Browse & Add Locations” button will bring up the familiar tree list. In addition, we’ve also added a handy lookup tool for DMA codes, which means no more having to memorize codes. Simply click the “Lookup…” button in the DMA section.

New Basic Optimization Feature: Optimize To CTR

By popular request, we have added a new option to our Basic Optimization feature: Optimize to CTR. With this option, you can now specify a minimum CTR and sample size. Once the sample size is reached, if the placement hasn’t reached the minimum CTR, it is automatically turned off.

New Inventory Feature: “Add All” Button

We’ve also created an “Add All” button for adding all the visible sites within the inventory screen when creating a new campaign. This button supports the bulk addition of up to 2000 sites.

If there are more than 2000 sites listed, the “Add All” button will be greyed out. To narrow down the size of your site list, simply add additional filters.

(Pro Tip: For an easy and effective way to narrow down a site list, use the ‘Minimum Impressions’ filter to show only sites above a specific number of daily impressions.)

Improvement: Increased Inventory Export Limit

When viewing the Inventory tab, there has always been an Export button that allowed you to export your current view of the site list. You can export the entire, unfiltered site list, for your own offline planning. However, if you wish to filter the list, and then export it, you can do so as well, but there is a limit to how many sites you can export. The limit used to be 1000 sites, but that limit has now been increased to 10,000.

Improvement: Ad Quality Process Change

After creating a campaign, if you wanted to add additional sites, those sites would automatically require review before becoming active, but no longer. Sites now immediately default to “eligible” review status, which means they are active. This should speed up the review process and allow you to scale your campaigns that much quicker.

New Payment Option: PayPal Support

We have always supported PayPal as a payment option for funding your account. However, it was never integrated within the interface… until now.

You can now easily fund your account via PayPal or credit card, right from the platform.

New Feature: Easily Apply for API Key

When logged in to the SiteScout interface, there is now an option in the Help menu that lets you apply for an API key. Simply accept the Terms and Conditions, and a request will be generated automatically. One of our digital media specialists will reach out to you with follow up questions before your key is generated. Once you have your API key, you will be able to programmatically create and control campaigns, and you will be able to access all of your campaign reporting and asset statistics.

New Feature: Bulk Add Sites By Site ID

You can now add a “whitelist”, so to speak, composed of sites (using their Site IDs) when creating a campaign and adding inventory targets.

By using the “Add Sites by ID” button on the Inventory screen of the campaign editor, you can paste a line-separated list of Site IDs in the format of “1-12345″ (as shown in Detailed Reporting and elsewhere throughout the UI).

New Feature: Search Field For Contextual and Audience Segment Selection

Many people have been asking for an easier way to find the category or segment name that they want, without having to manually browse through the various tree grids in the interface.

We solved this by adding a search field above the grids, making it easy to find the segment of your choice by name.

Performance Improvements and Bug Fixes

It’s also worth noting that there have been numerous bug fixes within the platform, so the overall user experience should be much improved. Furthermore, there have been countless improvements in how we display error messages (such as providing more direction to troubleshoot the error), and in the overall performance and stability of the platform.

Stay Tuned For More

That’s it for now, but there is much more in the pipeline. We have some exciting announcements just around the corner that we know you will love. In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions or feedback about this product update!

The Rise Of The Programmatic Media Specialist

There’s a new type of player needed by every savvy media agency: the programmatic specialist.

It’s a title that’s quickly on the rise due to quickly-advancing programmatic technology, data, and a planning/optimization paradigm turned on its head. We have seen the split at about 70% optimization and 30% planning. Due to client demand, media teams must now be able to optimize on the fly, in real-time. This strategy requires the introduction of new skill sets in order to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving field.

Agencies need to find people with a working knowledge of tools in dashboards, who can approach tasks quantitatively and analytically, and be able to manage esoteric tech and large data sets in order to affect client KPIs. It all comes down to adopting new models and attracting strong, transformational talent.

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Real-time Bidding Changes the Way Ad Inventory is Bought and Sold

“Programmatic has become a key component of a publisher’s digital strategy but what’s the best way to manage it? 614 Group’s Rob Rasko, in a recent Marketing Land article, identified three core pillars critical for publishers looking to maximize their programmatic revenue return.

The first is “let currents of data carry you forward,” Rasko writes. Publishers must be open to all data sets arising from their programmatic practice, from both direct and indirect channels. The two channels must be combined to offer actionable insights.

The second pillar is “row in the same direction with more oars.” Building the right programmatic strategy takes time and, to achieve success, everyone in the company needs to be onboard.

The final pillar is “back to basics – relationships matter.” People are still involved in the programmatic process, on both sides of the equation – sales and buy. Keep this factor in mind as the programmatic process goes back to a one-to-one model. “

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Why Hyper-local Data is a Game-Changer for Programmatic

A new report outlines how hyper-local data is shaking up the programmatic industry. Hyper-local targeting uses consumers’ longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates to send them targeted ads, via their mobile devices as they walk past a particular store.

Hyper-local has mostly been applied to mobile, but that’s not the only way it can be leveraged. Hyper-local targeting can be harnessed in more traditional ways. Think of it as a complement to cookie targeting. With hyper-local data, brands can find people who travel frequently and serve them advertising that speaks to their travel habits.

Freed from the shackles of mobile, hyper-local targeting can create new opportunities for brands that, when combined with other media opportunities, can create a full-funnel RTB strategy.

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Five steps to powerful programmatic branding

Real-time bidding, as well as other programmatic platforms, have led to a variety of new branding opportunities. Learn the five reasons why RTB can be used to run a successful brand campaign.

Brand advertisers can achieve substantial reach because RTB allows them to access many customers across a number of private and public ad exchanges. It also allows hyper-efficient targeting, enabling brand advertisers to run campaigns tailored to parameters including demographics, psychographics, interests and location. In addition, RTB fosters scalable creative opportunities with formats like rich media and video advertising. With the availability of premium inventory increasing, brand advertisers now have greater access to quality inventory through RTB.

Finally, new standards have been set by the IAB on the viewability of programmatically purchased ads, resulting in a cost-per-view metrics that allows campaigns to be bought based on “opportunity to view.”

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Breaking down the rise of mobile programmatic buying

The numbers are in and most advertisers (57%) are buying mobile ads via programmatic, according to data from a recently released infographic by Millennial Media.

The infographic also revealed that most programmatic mobile buys (35%) are coming from agencies with DSPs next at 26% and trading desks at 19%. Brands aren’t remaining idle, accounting for 11% of all mobile programmatic ad buys.

Overall, the infographic represents good news as it shows that spending is up across the board. In 2013, 12% of campaigns cost between $1 and $5 million. This year 22% of campaigns are costing that much. Approximately 85% of campaigns spent under $1 million last year. That number is down to 63% so far this year.

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Inside the surging popularity of programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is taking off and there are a handful of ways you can tell it’s on the rise.

First, marketers are getting smarter about it. They’re increasingly understanding how important it can be in heaping to reach new prospective customers. Programmatic works and that means it’ll see more money. Second, projections have indicated the programmatic spending is set to grow immensely over the next few years. The fact that native advertising is going programmatic and that it’s being embraced by more and more platforms are clea indications programmatic is becoming more popular.

Finally, and most convincingly, programmatic is going beyond display advertising, making headway with richer kinds of digital advertising, such as video.

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Where the Industry Stands on Programmatic Premium Inventory

SiteScout’s Matt Sauls was recently interviewed by MediaPost’s RTM Daily about the state of programmatic buying, premium inventory and viewability ratings.

Sauls, SiteScout’s VP of operations, began by defining programmatic in basic terms — it’s any technology that automates digital media workflow. It ultimately reduces human involvement and lets buyers input simple targeting requirements before buying.

Premium is more difficult to define but in programmatic it generally refers to non-remnant inventory. Programmatic premium, he explained, has been manifesting mostly through a mix of real-time bidding and private exchanges, the latter currently being the biggest source. Private exchanges tend to have higher CPM rates and feature much more desirable inventory.

While ad viewability is an indicator of inventory quality, Sauls says it doesn’t necessarily determine what is premium inventory, though it does play an important role in making inventory high quality.

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How Real-Time Bidding Factors into Sales Strategies

Real-time bidding is revamping advertising and sales strategies by helping businesses gain more visibility to the right people online, increasing the opportunity to generate revenue.

RTB lets advertisers target consumers as opposed to like-minded websites. RTB allows brands to target people based on browsing history, age, location and interests, boosting the likelihood of a sales conversion. It also empowers brands to refine their target markets by making it more apparent who is actually paying attention to their ads.

Using analytics, RTB also allows brands to streamline their budgets and improve their ROI. Another interesting advantage is how RTB enables brands to take better advantage of social media marketing by targeting social media users in real time.

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Most Marketers Don’t Understand Automated Ad Buying

Transparency is automated advertising’s final frontier. Unfortunately, it’s still an issue and it’s the thing most responsible for preventing programmatic from realizing its full potential.

A recent study by Forrester Research showed 67% of marketers are unaware of automated buying technology, don’t understand it, or need to learn more about it to apply it to campaigns. Programmatic’s efficiency has been proven, however a lack of transparency is preventing full-blown adoption and it doesn’t stop at a lack of education.

Marketers are also wary about how money is being spent when it comes to automated ad buying and where ads bought programmatically are being placed.

Marketers, if you don’t understand programmatic, you’re not alone.

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