Introducing: SiteScout RTB 2.0 Beta!

by Ratko Vidakovic on January 28, 2014 · 1 comment

At SiteScout, our customers are at the core of everything we do. We are constantly striving to deliver a platform that advertisers can use to produce amazing results. That’s why we are thrilled to introduce a newly redesigned RTB platform that has many of the new and improved features you’ve been asking for. It’s been a long time coming – but it’s finally here!

Overall, there are about ten new things worth noting about the new design. We will go through each of them now, starting with the most important changes, and then finish off with some answers to a few anticipated questions.

1. Unique Campaign Types

One of the biggest pain points in our old interface was the campaign creation process. You basically had the “kitchen sink” thrown at you in terms of targeting options. Users assumed – naturally – that each section needed to be filled out. This meant that conflicting targeting options could be selected, leading to campaigns that never bid or won any impressions.

We solved this issue in two ways. The first is with the introduction of unique campaigns types. We have broken down all the available tactics that are possible with the RTB platform into discrete campaign types.

For those of you familiar with our old interface, there was only one type of campaign that was used to create all these various campaign types. In order to make it more intuitive, we’ve simply made them each into their own type of campaign.

All new campaign types are broken down into three categories:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Video

Under Desktop, we have: Website, Retargeting, Audience, and Contextual.
Under Mobile, we have: Mobile App, Mobile Web, and Hyper Local.
Under Video, we currently only have one type: In-Stream (in beta)

In the near future, we will be updating the Knowledge Center and creating step-by-step walk-throughs and best practices for each campaign type or tactic. But for now, they should be intuitive enough to use on your own without instruction.

There are also “Advanced” campaigns, which are pretty much the entire menu of options. We don’t use the word advanced lightly. It’s very easy to misconfigure an advanced campaign, given all the options, which is why we don’t recommend using it to create campaigns. It’s only there for two reasons. First, for extremely unique campaign types that don’t match typical use cases, and second, to accommodate all of the “legacy” campaigns in the system. Which brings me to a critical point:

All old (legacy) campaigns are now “Advanced” campaigns in the new interface. On the flip side, all of the new campaign types are exclusive to the new interface. Attempting to edit them in the old interface will render them “Advanced” campaigns!

New Campaign Creation “Wizard” Process

The second way in which we attempted to simplify the campaign creation process (and thereby eliminate room for error) was with the introduction of a new step-by-step campaign creation process. You might call it a “wizard”.

As a result, it’s now almost impossible to configure a campaign incorrectly. We’ve also added a sidebar with tips that address common questions when creating a campaign, effectively guiding you through the process.

Campaign Summaries

Another useful addition to the creation process is the summary screen. You can now see, just before launching your campaign, all of your campaign parameters at a glance, making it easy to review and spot errors.

This summary information is also available in the campaign overview screen (in pop-up form), which means that you no longer have to edit a campaign in order to see its configuration.

Overall, the new campaign creation process removes much of the guesswork and makes the whole media buying process more straightforward.

2. Data Visualization (Graphs)

We all know that having visuals of your data over time enables quicker and easier campaign insights. That’s why one of the biggest drivers behind designing the new RTB interface was the ability for us to add graphs to the platform.

In the new interface, we now have graphs in multiple places, with more planned for future releases. They can currently be found when viewing:

  • Daily stats
  • Hourly stats

And just to clarify, both Daily and Hourly stats can be found at various levels in your campaign reporting: account, campaigns, sites, and ads. In the future, we plan to expand the use of graphs to other areas of the interface – so stay tuned.

3. Hyper Local Enhancements

Back in September of last year, we announced the introduction of Hyper Local mobile targeting, which made it possible for advertisers to target audiences in any given geographic zone, based on a set (or multiple sets) of GPS coordinates and radiuses.

In the previous interface, it was just a table with latitude and longitude coordinates that needed to be defined. In the new interface, we’ve integrated with Google Maps to allow for a much richer experience. You can now simply click anywhere on the map and it will automatically populate the targeting table for you. You can also drag the circle to any radius you like, and the targeting table will reflect your changes.

And just for context: targeted zones are show on the map in green, while untargeted (or excluded) zones are shown in red. If there is any overlap between the two, excluded zones are given priority.

4. Enhanced Campaign Reporting

Another one of the big changes in the new interface is how campaign reporting and optimization is conducted. In the old interface, campaign details were shown in the lower half of the screen, in a split-screen mode. This was limiting in terms of how much data could be seen at once. In the new interface, detailed campaign reporting is now shown in its own full-screen tab, with navigation now in the side menu.

Dynamic Side Menu

The new side menu itself is actually dynamic, which means that below the static menu items like Campaigns, Inventory, and Assets, are dynamic menus that change, based on what screen you are on (e.g., Account View, Campaign View, Sites View, etc.).

This menu makes it easy to quickly see all the possible dimensions in which you can view your campaign data. It also makes it easier for us to add new types of reporting to the system, which is on our roadmap for 2014.

5. AdPlanner (Inventory) Enhancements

For the sake of clarity, we have renamed the AdPlanner tab to the Inventory tab. It is a more straightforward and descriptive label for what it actually does (allow you to view available ad inventory).

Aside from the new name, we added a couple of simple – but often-requested – features. The first being that domain names in the site list are now hyperlinks, so that you can easily open the website in a new tab to check it out.

We also added, after hearing your feedback, a new button for exporting site lists to Excel-friendly CSV files. This means that you can now, after applying all the relevant filters, save your site lists for further research, future use in campaigns, or to create custom domain lists.

There are more plans for improving the inventory tab in the coming months. We think it would be awesome to make it a much richer tool by adding in more insights about each site, such as historical pricing and volume trends, demographic data, and more, and are working on making this happen.

6. Daily Statistics

In the previous interface, all statistics were total counts, even when a date range was chosen. In the overview screens, this is still the case. However, in the new interface, we now have daily reporting, showing a daily breakdown of stats for any given time range.

Not only that, but it’s also combined with our new graphs, making it a breeze to identify insights and issues. I think everyone will be thrilled with this new feature. I know we are.

7. Reporting Column Improvements

Another one of the big issues with the old platform was the way the reporting columns functioned. Oftentimes, due to the sheer number of columns, and the way in which they behaved, column labels would get cut off, or the column would automatically resize to the point where the data in the column got truncated.

In the new interface, we fixed all these issues with a new approach. First, we gave each column a minimum width, meaning that columns can no longer be re-sized (either automatically or by the user) to a width smaller than their minimum.

In cases where there are only a few columns (e.g., when managing Domain Lists), we’ve made it so that the last column now takes up the extra space. And lastly, if too many columns are selected for your screen resolution, the stats now scroll horizontally.

New Column Selector

Another issue that we resolved is the process of customizing the columns that get displayed. Previously, there was a clunky pull-down menu that was hidden in the column labels themselves, which was somewhat unwieldy. There was also no way to reset the columns to their default settings without clearing your browser cookies and hoping for the best.

That’s where the new column selector comes in. It’s now possible to customize the columns on basically any screen with only a few clicks. And, if anything goes wrong, you can always hit the “Reset to Column Defaults” button and get back to the default settings.

8. Collapsible Side Menu

With all of the reporting data available in the platform, I think everyone knows how valuable it is to have horizontal real estate. It was with that in mind that we made the side menu collapsible in the new interface.

In fact, the new system knows to automatically collapse the side menu when creating new campaigns, so that you have the space, and lack of distractions, to focus on the task at hand.

The system also remembers the last state that the side menu was in. So, if your preference is to always have it collapsed, it will always be collapsed, by default, whenever you login.

9. Action Buttons

One of the major goals for the new SiteScout RTB interface was to improve the user experience by making things easier to do.

In the old version of the interface, the main way of taking action on any item displayed was to first click the item you wanted to take action on, then click one of the various action buttons in the top right toolbar. That space is now reserved for actions that relate to all of the entries displayed in the current view (e.g., Export to CSV).

Actions that apply to individual items like campaigns, sites, ads, and so on, now “live”, so to speak, within the actions drop-down button. We made an effort to make sure that this button is consistent across the entire interface.

10. New Date Picker

This may seem like a trivial improvement, but I think we all know how important date pickers are to our lives, especially with software that we use on a daily basis.

It’s now much easier to select date ranges. The calendar behaves much like the one you find in Google Analytics, where you click the first and last day of the range you desire, and it highlights the rest. Another improvement that I love is the additional date presets, which now include:

  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • 2 days ago
  • 3 days ago (my personal favorite on Monday mornings)
  • Last 7 days
  • Last 30 days

That pretty much sums up the improvements to the new interface. We will now cover some common questions that we anticipate you might have.

Has anything been renamed in 2.0 Beta?

Yes. What was previously the Tools menu in the header of the old interface is now the Assets menu in the sidebar. Furthermore, within the Assets menu, a few items have been renamed as well:

  • Retargeting List is now Audiences
  • Offers/Conversions Pixels is now Conversions
  • White/Black List is now Domain Lists

And lastly, like I mentioned above, AdPlanner is now Inventory.

Has anything been removed from 2.0 Beta?

Yes. In order to make the platform friendlier, we decided to remove some features that few people were using. The following features are no longer available in the new interface:

1. AdBuilder – The AdBuilder was originally built as an interactive tool for building and augmenting banner ads with things like geo tokens and social widgets. Unfortunately, it wasn’t widely used. As a result, it wasn’t given much attention, and was ultimately dropped in 2.0.

2. Advanced Mobile Device Targeting – The level of granular device targeting previously available has been disabled due to the overlap in options. Devices are now grouped into primary categories and separated by Desktop, Tablet and Phone for simpler selection.

3. Advanced User Agent String Targeting – Even though this was a cool feature that some users appreciated, we found that it simply added confusion to the experience. Since most users tended not to utilize it anyway, we decided to cut it from the initial new release.

If you feel strongly about any of these items, please let us know. We may add them back upon request, assuming the demand is high enough.

How do I access 2.0 Beta?

Accessing the new interface is simple. Just click the button that says “SiteScout 2.0 Beta” in the header of the current interface. Everyone should see it now.

It will immediately whisk you away to the new interface. If at any point you wish to go back to the old interface, you can do so by going to the Help menu and selecting “Back To Classic RTB”.

At some point in the future, we will eventually phase out the old interface, but at this point in time, there are no dates in mind.

We Need Your Feedback

It’s important to remember that this is, in fact, a beta release. Even though it has gone through extensive quality assurance testing, bugs do slip through the cracks. So, if you run into a bug: please tell us! It will help us get things fixed more quickly.

(Our goal is to have 2.0 completely bug-free by mid February, so that we can announce the general release and move on to new and exciting features.)

Bugs aside, we want you to help us make the product better by letting us know what you think. That’s why we included a nice shiny feedback button at the bottom of the side menu:

Alternatively, you can email us at: feedback@sitescout.com

Questions? Concerns? Feedback? Feel free to leave a note in the comments below!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

thomas January 28, 2014 at 1:36 pm

holy crap!!! awesome updates guys!!!

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