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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Yesterday we hosted a great webinar, lead by Matt Sauls, which covered all the details of our new video capabilities. So if you’re interested in learning a thing or two about video RTB, just sit back, relax, and check out the replay below:

For the best viewing experience, we highly recommend watching with HD enabled in full screen mode. Enjoy!

Webinar: Learn About Video Campaigns on SiteScout RTB

by Ratko Vidakovic on April 3, 2014 · 0 comments

Video RTB with Matt Sauls

A few weeks ago, we announced the introduction of video campaigns to the SiteScout RTB platform. We also promised a training webinar to give a live overview of all the new functionality. So, we’ll be hosting our video webinar next week to give a guided tour for anyone interested.

During this webinar, Matt Sauls will be showcasing our new video capabilities on the SiteScout RTB platform. These capabilities include new targeting features, inventory sources, and creative options. Matt will also discuss some of the upcoming features that are on our product roadmap for video.

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

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RTB Zeitgeist: Going programmatic? Ask these 5 things

by Ratko Vidakovic on March 31, 2014 · 0 comments

5 Questions to Ask Your Potential Programmatic Buying Partner

It’s important for marketers to know as much as possible about programmatic in order to fully realize its potential. With that in mind, here are five questions marketers should ask potential programmatic partners.

The first question for marketers to ask is how potential partners source their inventory so that they can get a sense of the kind of inventory available for their campaigns. Marketers should also ask what brand safety and fraud protection measures are in place to ensure that inventory sourced is of an acceptable quality. Marketers should also ask about the freshness of data sets and how conversions will be measured, especially on mobile.

There’s lots to consider when you are using programmatic buying, and this article hits on some of the key things you should think about.

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Smaller agencies still undecided on programmatic

With programmatic trading, size seems to matter. While large advertising agencies are embracing it, many small- to mid-sized agencies aren’t sure what to think. For some it’s a trust factor, and for others it’s a feeling of uncertainty about the validity of buying media through programmatic exchanges.

The small- to mid-sized agency reservations were reported by software developer Strata who surveyed 75 agencies. and they show a marked difference from the large agency holding companies who have invested heavily in programmatic trading desks.

One of the more major issues, the survey said, was an inability to define programmatic trading. Furthermore, many smaller agencies could in fact be using programmatic trading without knowing what it is.

If the survey results tell us anything, it’s that education is still important across the advertising industry.

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SiteScout RTB Update: Introducing Video!

by Ratko Vidakovic on March 4, 2014 · 3 comments

Today we are thrilled to announce the addition of video campaigns to the SiteScout RTB platform! Video campaigns are a whole new format that we are proud to introduce as an exclusive part of our new user interface. In other words, our old interface will not be supporting video campaigns.

For you, this is big news. Very much like when we first launched mobile. Today, mobile is one of the most widely used targeting features on the platform, and we expect video to become just as popular.

New Targeting

Video inventory will consist of pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll placements. When creating a video campaign, these roll positions are now a unique targeting feature:

Moreover, the same targeting features that have been hallmarks of the platform, like audience and contextual targeting, will all be available to overlay on video campaigns, giving you the same level of efficiency and effectiveness.

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Real-time bidding explained in plain English

Real-time bidding (RTB) has become hugely popular over the last year, but if you still have lingering questions about RTB, Digiday has an excellent primer to bring you up to speed.

A popular misconception around RTB that continues to persist is that it’s the same thing as programmatic advertising. It’s not. It’s merely a type of programmatic advertising that involves the automated buying and selling of online ad impressions through real-time “auctions.” Those auctions take place in less time than it takes to load a web page, usually with the help of ad exchanges or supply side platforms. The highest bidder wins the impression and their ad loads on the site.

A key benefit of RTB is its ability to let advertisers target specific users online with an incredible amount of efficiency. Advertisers can also access heaps of inventory across a variety of websites, cherry-picking impressions as they like.

If you know someone who wants a simple explanation of RTB, forward along this link.

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Webinar: SiteScout RTB 2.0 Tour (Mar 4, 2014)

by Ratko Vidakovic on February 21, 2014 · 0 comments

The Full Steve Monti

Since releasing the beta version of our new interface, we’ve been getting a huge amount of interest in a training webinar. So, we’ll be hosting our next webinar during the first week of March, giving a guided tour of the new SiteScout RTB 2.0 platform.

During this webinar, Steve Monti will give a live tour of all the improvements in the new interface, along with explanations of why we made them and how you benefit. He will be guiding us through the most notable enhancements in the new interface, including:

  • Tactical campaign templates
  • Hyper-local improvements
  • Enhanced reporting
  • And much more!

After the presentation there will be a Q+A period where Steve will be answering questions from webinar attendees.

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AOL's best year in a decade fueled by programmatic

If you ever wanted a clear example of how programmatic can slingshot a business forward, look no further than AOL in 2013. According to the company’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, AOL just came off its best revenue year in a decade and programmatic played a key role.

AOL reported a 23% year-over-year increase in advertising revenue and 63% growth in third-party network revenue. Growth was a driven by the sale of premium formats across the company’s programmatic platform, including revenue from

AOL Networks, the division of the company that deals in the intersection of “premium programmatic,” also saw marked success, experiencing an increase of 50% in its revenue year-over-year due to video, mobile and programmatic.

For more on the numbers, check out this MediaPost report.

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Facebook becoming one of the biggest players in RTB

With Facebook Exchange (aka FBX), Facebook is quickly becoming one of the larger players in the real-time bidding space. Its growth and potential are already leading to some to delcare it could become even bigger than Google’s AdX exchange. Business Insider recently released a report that sheds some light on this new RTB powerhouse in terms of how ads are purchased and how its grown and performed to-date.

Revelations in the report include Facebook already accounting for almost half of retargeted ad clicks on the web. Not only that, FBX has provided great early results to advertisers when it comes to performance and cost.

That said, despite its size, FBX only accounts for a small share portion of Facebook’s revenues. It’s not yet mobile-ready, nor does it provide access to Sponsored Story social-native ads.

If you’re looking for a good primer on Facebook’s real-time future, this is it.

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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.

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Publishers embrace real-time bidding as data takes centre stage

Publishers are warming up to real-time bidding (RTB) and there are numbers to prove it. A report from Econsultancy indicates more publishers are turning to ad exchanges and supply side platforms (SSPs), as well as using RTB data to improve advertising effectiveness.

According to Econsultancy’s Online Publishers Survey Report, 22% of publishers are using a Data Management Platform (DMP).

Last year saw a surge in interest in DMPs, largely due to the strong growth in programmatic and internal pressure to investigate big data. SSPs have seen the largest uptick in terms of use — increasing from 35% in 2011 to 67% in 2013 — and they’ve established themselves as a way for publishers to manage each impression and maximize ad revenue, the report says.

Finally, the report says revenue from online display advertising continues to grow at a steady pace.

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