Creating Your Best Display Campaign

Online marketers have a so many options in display advertising --  contextual targeting, data targeting, behavioral targeting, retargeting, dynamic creative -- that they can quickly become overwhelmed. However, there are some simple considerations you can use to evaluate, prioritize properly, and engage in a successful display campaign. 

The first consideration is measurement: finding the right balance between ensuring your ads are viewable, your metrics are clear, and there is an adequate attribution model in place.  

You need to enter into a campaign knowing what your key metrics for success are going to be, and you have to establish the infrastructure so your ads will be optimized for success.  That means making sure you get the most bang for your buck.  Your ads should be verified as viewable, and you need to know the right value that should be placed on each successive impression. 

I know that attribution is a touchy subject right now, and the industry is not yet standardized in any way, but that shouldn’t stop you from testing out a theory you create and sticking to it.  As long as you know there is a value in each impression, you can start down the path of attribution, and that can be valuable.  If you set this measurement infrastructure from the beginning, it will help you to prioritize your options at every stage of the campaign.

Related to the topic of viewable ads is inventory quality.  The quality of the inventory refers to the context and the audience that will be shown the ads.  There are many tools and services you can integrate into your campaign to ensure that your ads will be running on quality inventory. The right partners you are evaluating will be comfortable with those tools, and may even offer them for free.  If a publisher or technology firm is not familiar or comfortable with services like Double Verify or other brand-safety companies, then you should de-prioritize them immediately. 

Data is the inevitable element in any discussion of online -- specifically, making sure you are using the right data.  There are lots of ways to access data and integrate it into your campaigns, but you want to partner with the people who have the most and the most recent data that’s right for your campaign.  Recency and volume are the two biggest criteria when you select a data partner because you want to be able to test out different kinds of data and find the right solution.  I can pretty much guarantee that the first attempt won’t work, so patience is important, as well as time.  You can make it work over a couple of weeks if you have the right partner.

The last thing to keep in mind is that your campaign will be highly dynamic.  What works now may not work later, and that means you have to have your partnerships open and ready to go.  Be constantly evaluating your campaign and don’t put anything on auto-pilot.  Know that you are going to see fluctuations in your campaign, and that means you need to give it some love. 

What other components do you feel are good advice for those engaging in online display campaigns?  Share with us on the Spin Board!

Tags: display
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4 comments about "Creating Your Best Display Campaign".
  1. Norm Page from Same Page Capital, LLC , April 26, 2012 at 8:34 a.m.
    Sage advice Cory. I'm wondering if it's worth a sentence or two around the issue of coverage when discussing one's data strategy. Large amounts of data is good as is recency. But what about coverage of that data against target audiences.
  2. Nick D from ___ , April 26, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.
    Good summary for those dipping their toe into digital for the first time.
    Building on your comment "There are many tools and services you can integrate into your campaign to ensure that your ads will be running on quality inventory.", it's also worth pointing out that even within 'quality inventory' there are differences in environment. Redbook and the Wall Street Journal are both quality titles, but they're rarely interchangeable for an advertiser, and the same's true online.
  3. Catherine Spurway from PointRoll , April 26, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
    Good post and I agree that the first consideration is measurement; identifying the KPIs and associated metrics is a must up front. Further, audience identification, targeting and distribution are incredibly important, but once you've found your key targets across your plan you need to engage them with a relevant and action-inspiring message that will drive results. Creative/ad message is a critical component. Audience + Creative + Distribution = Performance.
  4. Neil Monnens from Measurable Media Labs , April 26, 2012 at 6:12 p.m.
    Most of my ad career has been as a media planner, and if I were doing that today, I would request sites impression delivery be measured by Adxpose’s (or DoubleVerify’s) viewable impression number. So if I purchased 5 million impressions from Site A, when Adxpose numbers reach 5 million viewable impressions that would be when the campaign delivered in full. If a site did not agree to this, then I would still measure that site using Adxpose viewable impressions but base their CPM off the viewable impression number. So if they charged a $10 CPM but had 80% viewable impressions, their effective CPM would be $12.50.