Optimizing R/F via Ad Serving

The growing move towards Reach and Frequency-based buying means a whole new set of considerations for Interactive ad servers on both the agency (advertiser) side and the site side. We don’t have this capability from either a planning, buying or tracking standpoint today, but we hope it is only a matter of time before we do.

Agency Considerations

From an agency standpoint, we will be building reach and frequency goals by campaign and by site. The closest we can get to this in traditional media is radio, where, based on turnover and historical research, we can buy a certain number of spots per week that will deliver the average frequency desired for the station that will combine with other stations to deliver the planned overall average reach and frequency. Assuming everything performs consistently with either history or estimated futures.

For the Internet, we can put frequency caps on ad serving, whether a site serves the ad or the agency does. (Now, I am unclear as to why any agency would not use the same third party ad server for a whole campaign, given the advantages in tracking sites to the same metric standards and tracking users across sites. But it does happen). This means that if I have a DR campaign I can limit frequency of exposure to 1x. Thus on a 1MM impression buy, I can buy 1MM unique users that will only see an ad from me one time. At the same time, if the goal is branding (with the sweet spot at 4-7 impressions), I can buy a cap of five per site with 200,000 uniques for that same 1MM impressions and six for the overall campaign, accounting for duplication between sites. Or, when the algorithms get sophisticated, just set it at 6.0 or whatever for the campaign and have the server work it out.



Now, some work needs to be done as to whether the frequency should be an average or a capped frequency, but that is a whole other discussion. I am going to assume for now that it is a capped frequency.

In addition, the agency needs uniques and frequency to date in a basic report, just like impressions so that the agency can track this new metric.

Site Considerations

Like the agency, the site needs more data on uniques and frequency delivered in a standard report.

But more than that, it will need a whole new inventory algorithm. I have had several sites in the last week inquire as to who had the ad server software to make sure that 10-20 or more simultaneous advertisers would reach their unique guarantees and their frequency goals across the month on an even basis, as such an advertiser desires.

So, if you have the next generation in data reports, and the ability to let site and agency (advertiser) track reach and frequency accumulation on a real time basis, by site (for both) and on an overall basis (for the agency), let us know. Those of us who spend time on the Spin Board are very interested.

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