Driving Programmatic Transparency

Over the weekend, I came across an ad for RBC on a website called “Citation Machine”. My first guess was that I was being retargeted being an RBC client but wondered if the people tasked with executing this campaign had insights into the ad clutter and type of environment that the ads appeared on.

This brings me to the subject of programmatic transparency. The vast majority of advertisers who are buying programmatic advertising today can’t see where their ads end up and this lack of transparency results in plenty of wasted ad dollars. Programmatic advertising has inherent benefits, but without mandated levels of protection like viewability, ad clutter, delivery in-target, site, and exchange transparency there’s a good chance that 75% of your programmatic ad budgets aren’t reaching the intended audience.

comScore conducted a study  http://bit.ly/1ZRlduS that points to just this.

You can protect your media dollars by taking a few simple steps. Here are 5 best practices that Index.Digital employs on behalf of our clients.

1. Bid on inventory based on viewability.  An ad that is never seen never gets a chance to make an impression. With almost 50% of online ads not being in view, this can add up pretty quickly.

2. Bid on inventory on sites that have a maximum 3 ads per page. 3 is the standard for most premium publishers. Low-quality sites or sites suffering from low traffic increase the number of ads per page to drive revenues. This dilutes the impact of your banner ad.

3. Bid on inventory above the fold. If the campaign is delivering impressions to target, and driving conversions then maintain this bidding strategy. This may reduce the number of impressions you can bid on, but I’ve seen first-hand conversions go up and CPA go down by as much as 50% with this simple change.

4. Site bundles that are common in the programmatic world do not provide site-level transparency. Stay away from bidding on site bundles unless you can view the site list.

5. Exchange transparency allows you to bid on the same publisher across multiple exchanges. By doing so, a campaign can be optimized towards the Exchange that is driving the optimum CPA or conversion.

By making these simple changes, you will start to see positive trends in performance.