For an advertising novice, the modern state of Display Advertising is a concoction of acronyms and new innovative technology. Ad Networks and exchanges seem to be multiplying exponentially, and in all the kerfuffle it can often be easy to hit key performance benchmarks within given budgets. However, it has become increasingly aware to me (one of the aforementioned Advertising Novices) that navigating the unique ecosystem of display takes a certain nuance and understanding gained through direct experience or a practiced mentor.
One of my first lessons dealing with third party advertising technology is that it is largely non-uniform. Just from a UI standpoint, there is a myriad of buttons and processes to learn and memorize. And just like the world of paid search, each client you serve in each, or multiple, platforms demand a different set of KPIs. Now all that basic information can be overwhelming, performance and optimization aside. How do you keep it all straight? Ask lots of questions and expand your knowledge base.
The second major display lesson was learning the difference between trust and skepticism, and how transparency is defined those two words. Without an established code of transparency, there is an obvious conflict of interest! They maximize their profits while meeting your goals instead of maximizing KPIs efficiently and exceeding those goals.
So, as a consumer of third party ad platforms, how am I supposed to ensure I am getting the lowest possible CPA and maximizing conversions for the management fee charged by these third party partners? I’ve found that the answer lies in asking the right questions of your collaborators.
How much are you spending?
You pay money for a technology service, so ask them where that money is going! It is easy to become enamored with gaudy KPI data, but it is smart to become cognizant of how much exactly you are spending to get there and can you improve performance by making small changes to that spend. And let’s face it, both Total Spend and Marginal Spend ought to be KPIs.
What makes you different?
As I previously mentioned, there is an abundance of ad platforms on the market today. Thus, understanding the unique, often subtle, wrinkles that makes each management platform effective can make hitting KPIs easy or much more difficult. The goals of the service need to align with the goals of your campaigns. This can be a collection of specific audiences or as simple as an efficient reporting feature. Whatever it is, it’d behoove you to learn what it is, and how to make it work effectively and efficiently for you.
What exactly would you say you do here?
This iconic workplace quote fits perfectly with the theme of transparency. Understanding the inner workings of a third party technology service is paramount in garnishing the most out of your third party relationship. Taking your knowledge beyond the base concept of a specialized service to its flow of capital and how that capital affects your account can take your analytics and performance to the next level.