Adapting and Growing in an Industry of Constant Change

Adapting and Growing in an Industry of Constant Change

2017 has been a pivotal year for the ad tech industry. P&G executive Marc Pritchard set the tone for the year in January when he declared that it is time for digital to grow up and clean up its act.  Since this call for transparency and safety, leading brands, publishers and technology companies have taken strong stances on some of the digital media industry’s biggest challenges, innovations and trends. Topics like fraud, brand safety, untapping the value of data and ad tech consolidation have been top of mind.

At Bidtellect, we work hard to stay ahead of these trends, ensure that we are always complying with industry standards and to be as effective and efficient as possible for our advertisers’ content, performance and investments.

Challenges with Fraud and Brand Safety

Not surprisingly, the IAB initiative to fight fraud, Ads.txt, was a hot topic in 2017. Although at first there were relatively low adoption rates, there is a consensus that this is the first step in ridding the ecosystem of fraudulent behavior. While this will not solve every problem, it is an important first step. Going back to Pritchard’s declaration, taking responsibility for fraud has also been highly discussed.  Companies throughout the supply chain are responsible for bringing quality and eliminating fraud. The onus is on all of us, not one constituent.

In addition to developing the necessary technology to support ads.txt, we have also put proprietary measures in place. For example, we validate every domain to make sure it actually exists before serving any impressions and we also ensure that there is a match between the IP sent via the bid request and the IP collected through the impression and click tracker.

Brand safety has also been front and center as some of the world’s biggest brands have had to pull their campaigns from major technology platforms because their content has been associated with non-brand safe content.  To protect advertisers from this on the Bidtellect platform, we have extensive brand safety measures in places to protect brands’ content from appearing next to content that does not align with their values. In particular, our pre-bid solution analyzes and caches pages URLs to determine whether they are acceptable based on the brand safety selections made on the campaign level. This occurs before any impression is ever served. Additionally, more than just having the standard IAB segments, we can drill down into additional sub-categories to supplement beyond simple categories like Tech or Entertainment. We also have brand safety options around newer industry problems, such as fake news.

Making the Most of Your Data

Finding the value in data isn’t exactly a new topic for the industry, but it is one that continues to be important to advertisers, especially as new ways to capitalize on data emerge and existing ways continue to evolve.
Brands want to be sure that they are tapping into all available data to its fullest potential. For example, the value of an impression can mean multiple variables: content, audience, time of day and location. Understanding all of these data points will enable advertisers to deliver the most relevant content to consumers at that point in time and establish a true engagement with the end user.    

A big trend that really took hold in 2017 was the utilization of account-based marketing (ABM) in B2B marketing. Account-based marketing, put most simply, is targeting your ad dollars specifically to companies you may consider as a lead. Bidtellect is integrated with several Data Management Platforms (DMPs) enabling marketers to build custom audiences and activate them across marketing channels to achieve better results and greater reach against target audience.

The value of a DMP for brands and agencies is not up for debate, but how to make the most of your data strategy with the right DMP(s) differs for each brand.  There are many leading DMPs in the ecosystem, all with unique value props, and it’s important for ad tech companies to identify their needs when choosing their partners. For example, one DMP might offer the most advanced cross-device capabilities but another may excel at capturing the most relevant first-party data.  Most DMPs will not cover all of these basic data needs, which is why it is important to make sure you are connected to the right partners. Bidtellect is integrated with the industry’s leading platforms to ensure our advertisers have access to the first and third party data required to fill their unique needs. Our strategic integrations ensure maximum coverage, so we can always be sure we can onboard whatever partner you may need.

Technology Consolidation

There has been massive consolidation in the ad tech marketplace in 2017. Not only have there been a significant number of M&A deals, but advertisers are seeing greater value and efficiency in consolidating the number of buying platforms they use. An Advertiser Perceptions survey recently revealed the most important criteria for marketers and agencies when evaluating Demand Side Platforms. As we enhance and evolve our platform, it is our objective to ensure we are providing our clients with everything they require for an intuitive and high performing experience when they work with us.  We examined how our platform measures up to these expectations:

Audience, scale and reach:
Bidtellect’s platform is integrated with leading data and supply partners. As mentioned earlier, we are connected with the leading DMPs, offering extensive first and third party data for the most precise audience targeting.

Advertisers on our platform can easily scale their content because we are the single access point to the largest premium Native supply ecosystem, integrated with leading supply sources, such as TripleLift, Yahoo Gemini and Teads. Our platform is supply agnostic, allowing advertisers to reach expansive inventory while benefiting from the most advanced programmatic buying capabilities. Advertisers can opt into and out of specific inventory sources based on performance throughout a campaign and have the flexibility to manage/monitor their budgets and creatives on a single platform.  
Many of our supply partners offer a specialty through a custom integration with us either through extensions or a completely different integration (not IAB standard). Custom integrations ensure that we are getting all traffic with all possible information provided by each supply partner.

Audience insights, data, pre and post campaign:
Additionally, we have made Audience discovery very simple.  Advertisers can discover their first party audience using our own pixeling/retargeting capabilities or through our DMP integration with Lotame without doing any additional work. Advertisers can also create third-party custom audiences using our platform integration with Lotame. Through them alone, we currently have access to 60+ partners with both probabilistic and deterministic data. To ensure we’re able to reach all audiences at scale, we proactively user sync with all our supply partners and maintain an industry high match rate. Insight into our pool of unique users for first and third party data is updated daily, allowing you to make informed decisions about the scale of your audiences.

Bidtellect’s proprietary metric Engagement Score provides advertisers with an in-depth view of post-click consumer behavior, which is critical in content distribution campaigns.  Engagement Score tracks and analyzes users’ time on site, bounce rate and page views per visit, and provides a holistic score that encompasses all three metrics to provide unique engagement analytics. Additionally, Bidtellect’s optimization technology was built specifically for native advertising and content distribution environments. This year, we made significant updates and enhancements to improve advertiser performance across a variety of campaign objectives with a heavy focus on driving conversions.  

Making it easy to partner, utilize capabilities:
The most recent significant updates to the Bidtellect platform focused on ease of use and making the platform easier to navigate. Using a data-driven approach, we found the areas of our platform where users spend most of their time and used this information to make key changes. We hold client feedback in the highest regard and are always reaching out to see how we can improve. Including our partners in both our prioritization process as well as ideation, mocks, and beta releases allows us to be in lockstep with the people that matter most.

2018 Predictions and Trends for Content Marketing and Native Advertising

2018 Predictions and Trends for Content Marketing and Native Advertising

The barrier between content creation and content distribution will finally come down.
Brands have already begun to move toward content-first strategies and away from offer-driven marketing, but 2018 will be a truly transitional year.  Right now, content creation and content distribution often exist in silos, preventing one from influencing the other and causing marketers to miss a significant opportunity when it comes to their content marketing strategy and execution.

With the two pieces linked, marketers can gather behavioral insights from distribution campaigns and feed them back into their creation strategy, leading to smarter, more valuable content for consumers. Creating and distributing high-quality content will help advertisers move away from an “offer-driven” approach and create an overall optimized experience for the end user.  
In 2018 these two pieces of content marketing will work in conjunction, enabling marketers to travel the “last mile” in linking the right content with the right consumer, at the right moment in time. Content is the future of brand/consumer relationships and it’s critical that brands get this last piece right in order to fully capitalize on the opportunity ahead.

Contextual Optimization Will Be Essential.
With enforcement of GDPR coming in May 2018, the rollout of iOS 11 with its restrictions on persistent cookies, as well as the continued adoption of server-side header bidding with its decreased match rates, there will be an increasing number of programmatic auctions that cannot be matched to a known user. This shift in landscape necessitates another way to optimize and target that doesn’t rely on a decreasing amount of matched user data. Contextual optimization offers an intelligent way to optimize and target unmatched (and matched for that matter) ad inventory, and it’s not limited to what site the ad is on.

Native is the best opportunity to exploit contextual optimization, as it provides more data points for context. The look and feel of every single ad placement is unique, and can be correlated even more closely with user behavior.  Contextual targeting has always been critical in Native Advertising, given that the advertisers’ content must match the form and function of its environment. But with the previously mentioned industry changes, the ability to contextually target will become even more important for advertisers to make relevant and valuable connections with consumers.

Dynamic Creative Optimization: The Dream Becomes Reality.
Each new innovation in programmatic technology focuses on personalizing the advertising experience for consumers.  Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) has been on the wishlist for a long time and it will finally be achieved in 2018. DCO provides the technology to massively simplify the process of tailoring content experiences for consumers in real-time. With this capability, advertisers can reach target audiences with unique creative variations that cater to the specific user being served the ad. This will be transformative for the way consumers feel when they engage with a brand, significantly driving engagement, conversions, brand affinity and ultimately optimizing the experience.

There Will be More Industry Collaboration to Fight Fraud.
Industry initiatives such as Ads.txt, Ads.cert and TAG will continue to play an important role in ridding the digital ecosystem of fraud. It’s the responsibility of every advertiser, publisher and technology company to ensure they are complying. But the onus is on each constituent to not only comply, but to be proactive and to communicate.

We should actively facilitate an open dialogue between all players, sharing what we’ve learned. It’s critical that DSPs and SSPs work together to be a part of the solution, not simply hope that someone else is taking care of it. We will work together as an industry to make advertising safe and measurable all the way through to consumer engagement and post-click activity.

Immersive Units Will Become More Mainstream.
Consumers are highly inundated with advertising messages and brands need new and immersive ways to connect with them in these crowded environments. Cinemagraphs are an example of a highly engaging and growing format that brands are using to stand out and capture attention. They combine the movement of a video with the stillness of an image, bringing eye-catching creatives to.

Custom type units are increasingly available in the programmatic marketplace. When Native formats first emerged and publishers rapidly adopted them it was difficult to scale. The advent of Native programmatic was the first transition of premium placements into RTB environments. All of this supports that programmatic is no longer about remnant inventory.  It’s about leveraging data to connect advertisers with relevant consumers in real-time. Native programmatic is the future.

Native is the Future of Mobile and Video.
As consumers increasingly reject invasive content experiences such as pre-roll and banners, brands seek new and innovative ways to connect with them. Consumers’ attention has become so precious, particularly in mobile and video environments, that when brands engage with consumers it must be valuable, relevant and organic.
Native by definition means that the content being served will match the form and function of its content and the surrounding content. The shift has already begun, but mobile and video budgets will continue moving toward Native as advertisers see better performance and ultimately enhances user experiences with their content.