When marketers buy media using demand-side platforms (DSPs), they’re able to employ a variety of sophisticated targeting methods. Understanding how the advantages of each method can work for a given campaign objective is the key to a successful strategy.
Most DSPs will support a large number of features and campaign customizations. All of these are intended to fine-tune the performance of campaigns, depending on the marketer’s objectives.
Let’s highlight a few of the major buying methods that are made available via real-time bidding:
Site buying: Like traditional media buying, it’s possible to use RTB to buy ad inventory on specific websites. From a marketer’s point of view, the strategy is to find websites where the audience matches your desired demographic and then test different placements on those sites.
Retargeting: Retargeting (a.k.a. remarketing) gives you the ability to track users who have previously visited your website or some other page on the Web that you control (for example, the sales/lead page). Visitors who are retargeted will be served banners on other websites they visit while surfing the Web. This is an incredibly powerful form of advertising, and while it’s not true prospecting, engaging with an audience that’s already been exposed to your brand is a potent way to drive users to the next step in the sales funnel.
Third-party data: There are many companies that specialize in building retargeting lists intended to be sold to third-parties, just like mailing lists or telephone lists. These companies will partner with niche content publishers to identify users who have certain interests, purchase intents, or that belong to certain demographics. By targeting these lists, much like you would target your own retargeting lists, you have access to extremely powerful sets of audience data.
Contextual buying: Instead of placing ads on entire websites, it is now possible for RTB platforms to analyze each page on a website and return ranked category data (for example, sports, personal finance, health, etc.). By employing contextual targeting tools, you can search all websites looking for specific page content that may indicate the presence of your desired audience. This is especially effective on websites that have a variety of content intended for various audiences.
Hyper-local buying: For the first time in history since physical signs and billboards, it is now possible to identify a user’s location to within 20 to 100 feet. Users on mobile devices who have enabled “location sharing” can now make their latitude and longitude available when ads are being served to them—and this is very exciting to marketers. Hyper-local buying can be effective for targeting people in business centers and shopping centers, as well for identifying users who are close to a specific business or store.
The RTB targeting toolbox is already deep, yet it keeps growing each day as the industry changes. That said, most of the tools will fall into one of the above categories and these are the areas where RTB really shows its advantages.