Case Study: [Why Use AVID with a DSP?]

Why Use AVID with a DSP:

This is a quick case study on getting the most out of your DSP display traffic by using AVID Ad Server. This is aimed at advertisers who are new to using a DSP or have never used a DSP before, as well as advertisers who have been using DSPs for a while. Media buys are always better when managed through a third-party ad server, like AVID, because it allows you more control over how your traffic is split between different versions of your ads. AVID also allows you quicker insight into how your traffic is converting.

The Results

While most case studies start with a description of the problem, a justification for the solution, and then present the results at the end, we’re going to flip that and give you the best part first. Then we’ll walk you through how they got to these results.

These are month to date numbers for one campaign running on BrightRoll DSP. One thing to point out, obviously, is that this campaign is positive. The profit is about $0.12 per click. When you break it down like that, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but any advertiser will tell you that getting a campaign positive is a huge accomplishment. Now you can focus on scaling the campaign to increase clicks since you know that more clicks mean more money. There are two ways that advertisers get more clicks. The first is to increase the daily budget of the campaign (not your bid rates) to drive more impressions and get more clicks. Or, optimize ad images, ad angles, and ad copy to increase CTR.

What is a DSP?

A demand-side platform (DSP) is a system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface. Real-time bidding for displaying online advertising takes place within the ad exchanges, and by utilizing a DSP, marketers can manage their bids for the banners and the pricing for the data that they are layering on to target their audiences. Much like Paid Search, using DSPs allows users to optimize based on set Key Performance Indicators such as effective Cost per Click (eCPC), and effective Cost per Action (eCPA).

Why Should You Use AVID with a DSP?

Most advertisers are already using a DSP through services like DoubleClick (Google) or BrightRoll (Yahoo), and they always ask why use a third party ad server when most DSP’s already have an ad server built in to the platform.

The first reason is for accountability. Using your own ad server allows you to double check the stats being reported by the DSP. Small discrepancies are normal as each impression and click goes through different counting systems, but large discrepancies are cause for concern. Checking your stats will help you identify and correct problems that may be affecting your conversions. It takes a third-party ad server, like AVID to measure results and deliver successful campaigns in a non-biased way.

Second, banner control. Using your own ad server allows you to optimize the delivery of your ads. With an ad server you can split-test different ads, and weight ads according to performance. AVID Ad Server allows you to customize your ad containers giving you the option of showing multiple ads per impression. This is especially useful in targeting different demographics with two ads for the same product, for example having one ad for men and one ad for women displayed in the same 300×250 placement.

Third, advanced targeting. DSP’s have excellent demographic targeting including age, gender, location and interests, when combined with the targeting features in AVID you can personalize ads based on performance by device type, language, geo, IP type, and many others.
The reward is high quality traffic, lower CPMS, and high volume; all the ingredients you need to scale up any campaign and increase sales growth. Beyond sales you can leverage it to drive:
• Lead generation
• Engagement to your content
• Subscribers to your email newsletter
• Views and subscribers to a Youtube channel
• Tests for SEO headline clicks
• Survey & quiz responses
• And many other creative endeavors

What You Need Before Starting:

There are a few things you’ll need to get started right away.

  • AVID Ad Server account (Basic accounts start at $99/month)
  • A DSP account (we suggest BrightRoll, DataXu, or RocketFuel, but any DSP will work)
  • An ad image, title, and description
  • Credit card to fund your DSP account

The advertiser in our study was running campaigns for a diet supplement offer in France, so let’s look at what a sample front page looks like on

The highlighted red box is an example of a native ad placement set up directly in Yahoo Gemini. While these can be effective because they look like other articles on the page, we’re going to focus on the yellow highlighted section on the right. This is Yahoo’s Recommended Article section.
When you click into an article you get a page like this:

Notice the highlighted ad on the bottom right. This is a 300×250 placement that you can bid on and serve ads to. Using AVID Ad Server’s text ad style feature you can create your own native ad that looks like the other article links above it. Our advertiser took it one step further. Remember the recommended section from the front page. He noticed that this doesn’t exist on the article pages and created an AVID text ad style to be like that:

The actual ads have been changed to not give away too much, but through various tests using a single ad like the articles around it, a two-ad panel as shown, and a three-ad panel he discovered that the two-ad panel worked the best. One thing that made this ad work was branding the whole ad by adding a brand logo in the bottom right hand corner. So even though this looks like two ads, the branding ties them both together and they are just different ad angles for the same product. Much like an ad with before/after images work, this ad style works because it’s highlighting two benefits of the same product. The biggest mistake reckless advertisers make is trying to split the ad into two different products from different brands. For most ad networks this is a big red flag and will likely get your ads disapproved.

What We Learned:

There are four things that can be learned from this example.

First, don’t get caught up on the source. Advertisers are always looking for the one thing that makes a campaign successful. For some, they find the perfect traffic source with “quality” traffic as the key to success, but when they lose that traffic source they’re screwed because they didn’t take the time to figure out what it was that made the traffic source successful, so they can’t replicate that success through other networks. In this example the advertiser used Brightroll as their DSP, but the techniques used can be successful anywhere. Every traffic source has higher quality and lower quality traffic. The easy thing is to bid higher for higher quality, but guess what, there will always be brands and advertisers out there that are willing to spend more than you. Success comes when you can use tools that others don’t to be more successful with lower bids.

Second, take the time to research the sites you’re advertising on or want to advertise on. Ads that match the other content on the page do better. That’s the whole reason companies like Outbrain and Taboola do so well. Again, you can use the same networks everyone else is using and compete over who’s willing to spend more for those clicks, or you can advertise on those same sites through a DSP, cheaper and more effectively since you have more control over your creatives and ad angles.

Third, speaking of cheaper traffic, the US is saturated with brands and advertisers all competing over the “best” consumers. Finding a good niche in another country can be just as profitable and scalable as any campaign in the US. Also, these proven techniques, while common in a lot of US advertising, may not be as common in other countries. There are a lot of advantages in being the first mover in a new advertising technique to new audiences.

Fourth, success takes work. This should go without saying, but it’s worth saying. You can have some success copying what others are doing and having a bigger bank roll, but you’ll always be chasing someone else (remember what we said about first mover advantage). Research and testing are essential to success. Having an ad server that makes it easy to view and monitor impressions, clicks, and click through rates is more important now because of all the different traffic sources available to advertisers. The ability to quickly create new variations and present two different angles for the same product in the same impression is also a huge difference in increasing click through rates.

Contact us to find out more about how AVID can improve your current display marketing efforts.