Crossing the Digital Divide: The Leap From Search to Display – SES San Francisco

Good morning party animals. It’s Day 2 here at SES San Francisco, and if Day 1 is anything to go by, Day 2 is going to be a blinder. So grab your coffee and let’s go.

First up we have moderator, Jeff Ferguson (, with speakers Sacha Berlik (mexad), Dave Zinman (Yahoo!) and Mike Baker (DataXu).

These guys are going to give us their take on display advertising.

Hit us up.

Most of the audience in this session have been involved in search, but not display.

Mike is up first to talk about Demand Site Platforms.

Online media buying has evolved since 1996 from direct buys from publishers, to Ad networks and Ad exchanges. Last year gave way to Demand Site Platforms (DSPs).

What are DSPs?

DSPs are media buying tools that help buyers aggregate, bid on, and optimize digital inventory across ad exchanges and yield management platforms. Benefits include improved display ROI and a reduction in display costs.

How do I use a DSP?

There are dashboards available where you can manage all of your display campaigns. Campaigns are split into different flights. You can apportion a budget between different flights and choose which aggregators you want to run on, and what content channels you want to run on.

DSPs as a Driver of ROI

Mike gives an example of a leading automotive maker who wanted to increase online scheduling of test drives. They managed to achieve 4.5x their objective with DSP. Very nice.

Key Learnings

– You need to be able to adapt dynamically in real-time for price as there is persistent price volatility
– Creative leads the charge in DSPs. You need to continually optimize on the creative as this will be your main driver of success
– Display generates demand, but it also fulfils demand which can make attribution tricky (it’s not always the last step in conversion; it spans the entire funnel)
– Analytics and media buying is converging – with DSPs, the buyer owns the algorithm

Dave is up next. He says you can’t treat display like TV, radio, or print. It’s a different beast entirely. Dave says that display has a much larger impact earlier on in the funnel than what search can.

Display is great as it can:
– Tell a story
– Show commitment to a product
– Appeal to emotions

The challenge is how do you take the measurement discipline we use in search and apply it to display? And how do you link this to ROI?

Jeep used a buzz index to measure the impact of display. They hit a three year high on their buzz index for the term “Jeep” when they were using display. The power of display is interacting with people throughout the funnel, and driving people through the funnel through to conversion.

Why Bother with Display?

The number one reason to bother with display is scale. Here’s a few examples:

HP used dynamic ad insertions and drove return on ad spend that was comparable to search (in terms of clicks and CTR), but was also able to reach 140 million people. So display combined the power of search performance combined with massive reach.

Hyundai achieved a 227 percent overall conversion increase (compared to traditional search campaigns) when they added rich ads to search.

The challenge is measurement. Mike says the best way to measure the contribution of display is through an A/B test: Switch display on vs. switch display off (and watch things crumble!).

Sasha is up next. He flew 14 hours to speak here for 15 minutes! We feel special.

Display buyers have ignored search developments for almost 10 years. He advises us not to make the same mistake with display expertise.

Display is getting closer to search through auction based technologies:
– No more pre-committed budgets in display buys
– You can measure the same campaign success and optimize towards KPIs in real time

What’s New Compared to Search Marketing?

– There are at least six different platforms to learn and fully understand
– Only click optimization with session cookies won’t be effective anymore
– High post-click conversion expectations won’t make you happy (ie: it’s not going to be as effective as your search campaign)

Different Ad Exchanges

Here’s a quick overview of some of the different ad exchanges out there:

1. Right Media

– Solid technology
– Massive reach worldwide
– Great optimization algorithm

– No real-time bidding
– Lack of media quality
– Very Slow
– Blind to design

2. Nexus

– Great technology
– Very fast
– Real time bidding on many major suppliers
– Audited inventory

– Not mature yet
– Many bugs
– Limits on creative and third part tags

3. Double Click

– Worldwide reach
– Full transparency
– Audited inventory
– Great targeting options (similar to Google Adwords)

– Poor UI
– No proper pixel tracking
– Limits on ad specifications

The data driven marketplace is very young right now and immature technologies are fighting for market share to survive. Users need to be educated more. Technology alone doesn’t solve the lack of knowledge about all of the different Ad Exchanges.

Key Takeaways

– It’s important to understand the market place and players
– You need to understand the different bid management systems, their technologies and algorithms

This live blog post was written by guest blogger Imelda Khoo. Imelda is the E-Marketing Manager at Tektronix, responsible for global SEO, PPC and social media. Imelda blogs at SEM Booty and is also on Twitter @imeldak

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