Display advertising
3 ways to improve your campaign targeting

3. Looking at demographics​​

Compared with the last two tactics, demographic targeting seems almost too simple. However, many marketers fail to use their demographic data to improve the performance of their display campaigns.

You can think about it like this: If 90 percent of your revenue comes from millennial women, does it really make sense to show your ads to Baby Boomers? What about men? Odds are, even if you miss out on a few conversions, limiting your targeting to women under 35 will deliver much better results overall.
Fortunately, if you’re not quite sure what your target demographic is and you get fairly decent traffic to your site, Google Analytics can help you identify your target demographic. Simply open Google Analytics, click on “Audience > Demographics > Overview” and pick the “Converters” segment:

Looking at the GIF above, it seems like running display ads for anyone outside of the 25-44 age range would be a waste of money. In fact, it might be interesting to try excluding women from this client’s display ad targeting to see if that would improve results, since only about 18 percent of their conversions come from women.

If you don’t have the data to run this report in Google Analytics, you can use the AdWords Report Editor to see how different demographic segments are responding to your ads.

Here’s what the same client’s click data looks like in the Report Editor:
Not surprisingly, this client gets almost three times more clicks from men than they do from women. Clearly, men between 25 and 44 are the primary audience for this client’s ads.

But now, let’s take a look at the demographics this client is actually targeting (To do this in your own account, open your display campaign in AdWords, click the Display Network tab and click “Demographics”):

The good news is, this client is mostly showing their ads to men, which fits the demographic profile of their target audience. However, about 45 percent of their impressions seem to come from people that fall outside of the 25-44 age range. Since this client only gets conversions from visitors inside that age range, that means almost half of their impressions are being wasted on people with no real chance of converting.

Can you see how powerful your demographic data can be? Simply by changing their targeting to exclude anyone outside of the 25-44 age range, this client could free up a third of their display advertising budget! That budget could then be focused on getting more results from this campaign or other campaigns.


When you get right down to it, the success or failure of your display advertising campaigns depends on how well you use your data to optimize your targeting strategy. Do it right, and you can get the clicks and brand awareness your business needs.

Are your display ads in need of some help?

Columnist Jacob Baadsgaard shares three ways to use your data to optimize your display targeting strategy.

As many marketers are well aware, click-through rates for display ads are typically less than impressive . But is that really a surprise? After all, what kind of results can one expect from placements like this?

In all seriousness, though, getting the right people to click on your banner ads is a significant challenge.

Now, don’t get me wrong, display advertising can be a great way to market your business, especially if you’re trying to build brand awareness. The trick is knowing how to use your analytics data to ensure that your ads are showing up in the right place at the right time.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at three easy ways to improve the performance of your display ads. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that you’re using Google AdWords and Google Analytics, but these principles apply to a variety of other platforms as well.

1. Picking your placements
When it comes to display advertising, Google wants you to get impressions… lots and lots of impressions. However, they don’t really care whether or not those impressions actually turn into paying customers. You get an impression, they get paid, and they’re happy.

As you can probably imagine, that means it’s in Google’s best interest to make setting up a display advertising campaign as easy as possible. All you have to do is put together a few ads, create a campaign in AdWords, pick a topic to target, and your ads will pop up all over the internet.

For example, a business with a marketing-focused SaaS (software as a service) product like Moz or Salesforce might look at their topic options and go with “Business & Industrial > Advertising & Marketing > Marketing.”

Seems pretty rational, right? I mean, they’re selling marketing software, so targeting the “marketing” topic makes a lot of sense.

That’s true, but there’s a flaw in this thinking. Yes, the topic is relevant, but not every website that Google defines as a “marketing” website will be the sort of website that Moz or Salesforce wants to be on.

For example, I imagine that a business like Moz or Salesforce probably wants their ads to show up on sites like Inc.com or Search Engine Land. Those websites have a highly relevant audience.
However, their ads also show up on GetJar (as I discovered while researching this article):

Now, I might be wrong, but I’d be willing to bet that when Salesforce and Moz put their marketing strategies together, “Likes hacking Instagram passwords” wasn’t one of the defining traits of their buyer personas.

Even if Moz and Salesforce are targeting by interest, rather than by topic, GetJar probably still isn’t a great place for them to show their ads. After all, even if you’re an Instagram hacker who also happens to be the IT decision-maker for a business (now, that’s a scary thought), if you’re on GetJar looking for an Instagram password-hacking app, you’re probably not in CRM-research mode.
Improving your placements

As you can see from the example above, targeting a relevant topic or interest doesn’t mean that your ads will show up on the right sites or in front of the right people. Odds are, if you’ve been using topic or interest targeting, your ads have been showing up in all sorts of surprising places.

To see where your ads are actually being displayed, open up your display campaign in AdWords, click on the Display Network tab and click “Placements”:
This report will show you exactly where your ads were displayed during your chosen time frame (I recommend looking at the past three months or so) and how many impressions, clicks, conversions and so on your ads received on that site.
As a quick aside, websites you specifically told AdWords to display your ads on have a “Managed” status. Any site that Google picked for you has an “Automatic” status.

Digging into this report should give you a lot of insight into which websites you should be targeting and which ones aren’t worth your money. For example, if you’re getting a lot of impressions but very few clicks from a certain site, that may be a good site to exclude. Alternatively, you may get a lot of clicks from certain sites, but those clicks have a high bounce rate, which might mean that you have some sort of mismatch that needs to be addressed (for example, wrong audience, wrong ad or wrong landing page).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a bad idea to use topic or interest targeting. Topic and interest targeting can be a great way to identify new sites that deliver awesome results. However, if you don’t consistently refine your targeting and ads, giving Google the reins on your display campaigns can be a great way to waste a lot of money.

2. Refining your keywords
At first glance, it seems a bit odd to talk about keyword strategy in a display advertising article, but contextual targeting can be a great way to run a display advertising campaign — provided you’re using the right keywords.

Unfortunately, as in our interest and topic targeting example, just because a keyword seems relevant to you doesn’t mean that the sites Google picks using your keywords will always be relevant.

Let’s face it, Google bots are still pretty hit-or-miss on semantics.
Of course, you can (and should) use the process we discussed in the last section to improve the performance of a contextual targeting campaign, but if you really want to get the most out of your contextual targeting, you need know how your target audience talks about your business niche.

Fortunately, if you’re also running paid search campaigns, this is actually pretty straightforward. Open up a relevant paid search campaign in AdWords, click on the Keywords tab, and then click “Search terms”:

If you’re looking at a reasonable time frame (again, I like three months), you can see exactly what sorts of queries trigger your ads, get clicks and even drive sales. This information is incredibly helpful, both in terms of picking keywords and for actual ad design.

As you look through your search terms report, you’ll probably notice that many of your best search terms have particular words or phrases in common. These words or phrases should form the foundation of your contextual targeting keyword strategy. An approach like this doesn’t guarantee runaway success, but it will produce much better results than simply picking words that seem relevant to you and plugging them into your campaign.

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OUTCOME THAT MATTERS SmartyAds has developed ad exchange using the renowned technology helping marketers access a large base of publishers and media agencies finding more opportunities to build up brand awareness and generate more revenues at lightning speed. Using ad exchange along with DSP allows buyers access more inventory. Premium ad space at a fair price is not the only dish our ad exchange platform has to serve: we open a gateway to hundreds and thousands of inventory sellers in a bargain hunt.

INDIVIDUAL APPROACH SmartyAds’ ad exchange gives a chance to choose a high-value company to keep and meet your display objectives across the marketing funnel. To score ad spaces at scale and play with confidence, we have come up with an online tool kit that transforms a conventional ad exchange experience for users. Along with SmartyAds, marketers get an opportunity to explore the busy ecosystem of media exchange and grab a bull by its horns utilizing the potential of programmatic space buying.

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How Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Changed Online Display Advertising
by Michael Sweeney

Online advertising has morphed into a global multibillion-dollar industry that spans from traditional methods, such as email marketing, to search engine marketing (SEM), display advertising, and more recently, social media and mobile advertising and even investments into offering RTB technologies to clients. Not to mention Artificial Intelligence.
Out of the many areas that make up the online advertising scene, one that has greatly evolved over time, and isn’t showing signs of stopping any time soon, is display advertising.

Online Display Advertising

What was once an industry solely focused on email, the increase in availability of the Internet in the 1990s created a new opportunity for online advertisers and paved the way for an even more effective way to reach their target audience – online display advertising.

1994 saw the first recorded piece of online display advertising in the form of a banner ad. It appeared on a website called HotWired and was bought by telecommunications giant AT&T, used to promote their campaign.

Over its three-month life span, the banner ad boasted a click-through rate of a massive 44%– that’s about 42% higher than today’s definition of a successful click-through rate of just 2%.

This was the beginning of what is now a highly lucrative trade
In the early days of online display advertising, the exchange between the advertisers (or agency) and the publisher (the website owner) was a direct sales process. The advertisers would contact the publisher and purchase ad space (inventory) on their website on a cost-per-thousand basis – known as Cost Per Mille, or CPM, as mille means “thousand” in Latin. This system meant advertisers would pay a certain price for every 1,000 impressions (meaning 1,000 views).

[Buying and selling of inventory was done directly and sold on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis.]

Buying and selling of inventory was done directly and sold on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis.

Difficulties emerged when the number of websites, and therefore publishers, began to increase. The once-straightforward direct sales process started to become more complex, unhinged, and drawn-out. While Premium ads – those bought by advertisers directly from the publishers – were still common, publishers soon found that a lot of other available inventory wasn’t being filled and fell victim to oversupply.

To counter this problem, advertising networks started to emerge. Ad networks act as brokers. They buy unsold (aka remnant) inventory from publishers, run the inventory through their technology, aggregate the audiences, and then package it all up and sell it to advertisers.

[Ad networks take remnant inventory from the publishers, package it up, and then sell it to advertisers.]

Ad networks take remnant inventory from the publishers, package it up, and then sell it to advertisers.

Both advertisers and publishers enjoy the benefits of ad networks. They provide publishers with a highly effective way to sell their 10% – 60% remnant inventory, help them cut down on the time and money associated with selling inventory to advertisers, and also offer a range of services, such as lead optimization and customer support. Advertisers benefit by receiving high cost savings and an easier, more effective way to connect with audiences on a much larger scale.

Even though the introduction of ad networks added fluency to the ad buying and selling processes, publishers soon discovered that they weren’t able to sell all their remnant inventory through one ad network, so they started selling their inventory through multiple ad networks.

The increase in the number of ad-network companies also meant that publishers spent a lot more time searching for the best-valued network. This now meant they found it hard to identify the best-performing advertisers and often had to pay out commissions to a number of different networks.

For advertisers, this also created challenges. They soon found that they weren’t able to reach their target audience by using just one ad network, so they started buying inventory from multiple ad networks and advertising exchanges.

However, buying inventory from multiple parties (e.g. ad networks and ad exchanges) meant they often bought the same audience more than once, lacked clear insights into the effectiveness of their ads, and struggled to identify their best-performing inventory.
The next revolutionary ad-buying method to hit the online display industry was the introduction of Ad Exchanges and Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

Ad Exchanges and Real-time Bidding
The easiest way to explain how ad exchanges operate is to compare them to the stock exchange. In the same way stock exchanges handle the buying and selling of stocks, bonds, and other securities, ad exchanges facilitate, manage, and complete the buying and selling of impressions between publishers and advertisers.

The liquidity of inventory, just like the liquidity of stocks, now means that thousands of advertisers (or media buyers) and publishers can come together on the ad exchanges and trade inventory in real time.

[The ad exchange conducts auctions on an impression-by-impression basis.]
The ad exchange conducts auctions on an impression-by-impression basis.

The introduction of ad exchanges has completely changed the way display ads are bought and sold. Instead of buying impressions on a cost-per-thousand basis shown to a wide audience that often include only a small percentage of their target audience, advertisers can now buy ads on an impression-by-impression basis. By only bidding on the impressions that are relevant to them, based on the audiences they want to reach, advertisers are able to target their true audience more directly. This also provides publishers with higher ad revenues, as their inventory is being displayed to the right users advertisers want to target.

Real-time bidding is the process that makes all this happen. The operational side of RTB is highly complex and is comprised of a large number of different factors. Explaining how RTB works deserves a separate post, but in the simplest terms, the RTB process works like this:
  1. Publishers sell their ad inventory on the ad exchanges.
  2. Advertisers then bid on the publisher’s inventory in real time, based on the impressions that are valuable to them (audience, retargeting, etc.).
  3. The winner is the advertiser who bids the highest amount of money for that impression.
  4. The winning ad is then displayed on the publisher’s website.

The process (also called Programmatic Media Buying) is repeated each time a web page is loaded on a user’s computer. This real-time auction starts and finishes before the page loads and happens in about 100 milliseconds.

What was once used as a way to sell off remnant inventory, RTB is now being utilized for all types of display advertising, including premium ad space.

RTB has completely changed the online display industry for all parties involved.

Apart from the obvious benefits (improved targeting and retargeting, higher revenues on impressions, reduced inventory waste, greater control, etc.), RTB also provides a number of advantages through the use of real-time analytics:

For Advertisers
Increase ad effectiveness: An integral part of any campaign run via RTB is campaign-performance analysis. Analyzing the performance of each campaign through real-time analytics enables advertisers to quickly move their focus from one group of ads to another, based on their performance.

With RTB, this can be done programmatically, meaning that the changes are done automatically by an algorithm without the involvement of humans. This ability to quickly change focus allows advertisers increase the effectiveness of their ads.

Recognizing fraudulent inventory: 

Ad fraud is a massive concern in the display advertising industry. It is reported that $6 billion is taken from advertisers through ad fraud each year. Real-time analytics combined with fraud-fighting technologies can assist advertisers in identifying potentially fraudulent inventory (extremely high click-through rates are often a sign of bots at work) and thus reducing the amount of lost revenue to ad fraud.

Campaign optimization: Another key benefit offered by real-time analytics is the possibility to apply advertising strategies and tactics to campaigns to increase their overall effectiveness. Identifying the performance of a campaign, or a number of campaigns running simultaneously, in real time enables advertisers to increase the response rates of specific ads by applying certain tactics. By recognizing in real-time which audiences and ads are producing the best click-through rates, reach, and engagement, advertisers can take action and change the direction of certain campaigns on the fly.
Optimize price floors: Through the use of real-time analytics, publishers can adjust the CPM price floor of their inventory to maximize their revenue by analyzing the real price advertisers are paying for certain audiences. Take, for example, a travel site that sets a CPM price floor of $1.50. By analyzing the going rate for this audience, the publisher may find that many advertisers are paying a CPM price floor of $1.40. The publisher can then make changes accordingly and start earning revenue that otherwise would have been lost.

Ad spending on RTB in the U.S is projected to increase by 31% to $5.94 billion, and account for 25% of all online display advertising sales in 2015 – clear evidence that RTB is shaping the future of display advertising and firmly planting itself in the online advertising industry.

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How it works?

Cost-effective display advertising that harnesses RTB potential gives marketers an opportunity to use rich media, text as well as images to promote business and acquire new clients. Using a large base of digital publishers, we bring down your marketing costs. Our display advertising suite allows users setting precise targeting by choosing geo location for a campaign; pick time of the day for ads to pop up, certain key phrases along with the language you speak to your targeted user. Utilize banner advertising exchange to light up your brand on any device.

Our team has created display advertising solution that offers plenty of opportunities to tailor winning campaigns and control spending monitoring marketing efforts in real time. Increase the popularity of your brand, grow sales potential, and broaden horizons for audience reach by using SmartyAds innovative display advertising platform, software that allows banners to pop up all across the global network tempting viewers to drop by your own website.

Make every ad count!

We will empower you to segment the audience and select campaign parameters to address marketing efforts to a particular age group, people with certain annual income, or users that have children etc.

Boost your sales and save budget indirectly by going for Internet advertising solutions we have developed for you.

Encourage only the accurate users to come on board and browse through your offers by prompting the chosen demographic groups to see your ads. 

Displaying ads is about generating revenues . NextGen IMS's banner ad exchange offers publishers to create a sales stream by hosting display banner ads or certain keywords tied to their business. We create a room for potential growth and higher revenues.

How it works?

We employ our propritary RTB technology to let your site display banners of advertisers who are reliable and promote products or services that correlate with your business. Create simple ad tags to kick off. Your visitors will see relevant banner ads coming from the bidders who offer the highest price. As a publisher and our partner, you earn money based on classy display advertising CPM. Display banner ads are among the easiest yet effective instrument to monetize inventory. Our large base of advertisers offers only relevant ad banners for publishers bringing more cash to your pockets.