Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crossing the Digital Divide: The Leap from Search to Display #sesuk

My Search Engine Strategies live blogging continues, typos, warts and all with coverage of "Crossing the Digital Divide: The Leap from Search to Display". Ciaran Norris from Mindshare will moderate while Sacha Berlik, Founder and CEO of Mexad and James Yancey, MD of SearchIgnite Europe, present.

James Yancey

James makes a prediction; next year this room will be overflowing. I tend to agree. Behind him the slide says it's not a battle between search and display; it's about understanding the cross-channel.

From among SearchIgnite's clients in Europe, James works with five or six who have set up biddable media departments. However, he goes on to explain it should not be about search and display departments fighting for this budget - it should be about the cross-channel budget.

Why do DPS sound familiar to paid search people? It's an auction, it uses tech and automation, it's objective and accountable and is a direct response medium.

In search there is no cookie ID, represented by a keyword and cannot be bought in bulk impressions. In display there is cookie data, demographic survey data is available and you can buy in bulk (CPM) on the impression level.

The growth in display is not simply down to the auction - it's about the data you can have. Keyword "can". If you don't have the data then you don't have it. Data lets you understand the value beyond a simple keyword.


James suggests that real-time bidding is sub-set of auction based display. You're buying single impressions rather than collections of impressions. You're targeting someone based on their cookie ID. If your data is certain someone is about to transact - then it may be worth paying more to target that person - hence real-time bidding. It's that ability to target that person at the right time.

A DSP is a technology interface that sets across many auctions. By themselves, James says, that's not impressive. It would be like having a search tool that let you work across Google and Yahoo at the same time. The key thing, the interesting part, is having the data.

DSPs can be built in basements with friends. It's the data source that's important.

What are some of the challenges?

- Inventory
- Premium inventory
- Privacy legislation / behavioural targeting
- Disintermediation
- Attribution modelling

Sacha Berlik

Sacha comes from a Display background, does not have the Search background so from his point of view the Display world has changed dramatically. He founded MexAd in 2008.

Display bid management is the entry point for search marketers, says Sacha, it's a good chance for them to take a big piece of the cake from the traditional media agencies.

The traditional media agencies ignored search for too long and stuck to their old display buying ways. This has left them vulnerable but it's a lesson for search marketers to avoid.

What do we need to know? There are no pre-committed budgets in display any more. This is a big difference from the pre 2008 days. No need to buy a month of impressions, hope for the best and see what happens. Today you can optimise in real time.

What's different? In search there is only Google. In display there are at least six; and they're different down to the algorithms. In a few months there will be at least eight platforms you will need to know.

Sacha predicts that click optimisation with just session cookies will no longer be effective and don't expect high post-click conversions.

Some exchanges; AppNexus, DoubleClick and RightMedia. We're going to go deeper.

RightMedia was the first - been here since 2005. Pro: solid technology, massive reach worldwide and great optimisation algorithm. COn: no real-time bidding via external DSP, lack of media quality (so many dodgy sites), very slow in development and it's blind by design.

AppNexus: don't like to be called an ad exchange, call themselves DSPP. Pro: great technology, very fast, RTB on many major suppliers, transparent, audited inventory and server side cookie storage. Cons: Many limits of creative and third party tagging.

DoubleClick Ad Exchange. It's Google. Pro: giant reach worldwide, full transparency, accepts DFP partners, audited inventory and great targeting options. Con: poor UI (AdWords!), no proper pixel tracking, limits on ad spec and without your own technology you're lost. You need to use a large ad server to get into this and you need your own RTB to compensate for their lack of pixel.

There's also OpenX. It's blind by design and Sacha doesn't think it's mature.

On to yield optimisers aka SSPs. We have AdMeld, PubMatic and Rubicon. MexAd predicts that these SPPS will re-brand themselves towards exchanges.

AdMeld. Pro: integration of 3rd party data sources, real-time bidding and focus on technology that makes buyers and publishers happy. Con: High floor prices.

PubMatic. Pro: High quality in European markets. COn: RTB only on US inventory. Non-English inventory is high CPM.

Pubicon. Pro: nice publishers, worldwide, good reach and RTB. Con: A lot of non-premium inventory. Okay, not as dangerous as RighMedia (no p0rn) but it's not wise to rely on their internal classifications.

Two blog reading tips; ExchangeWire and Adexchanger.

(*Live blogger's request; dear Adexchanger please move to full text RSS)

Sacha reminds us that the data driven marketplace is very young. Technology is immature and there is a fight for market share and survival. It's a tough fight, for example, Google blocked AppNexus and advertisers were unable to buy Google Inventory. It took eight weeks for AppNexus to get back into the Google display buying system.

Technology doesn't compensate for lack of knowledge and this is a complicated marketplace.

Try and gain access to your RTB sources and don't just lean on your DSP.

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