As digital media buyers start to become more rounded in their skill set, navigating the display advertising landscape can be intimidating with the ridiculous amounts of acronyms and technologies involved. However, with the appropriate combination of ingredients, these words and acronyms can mean success for clients.

So what do all of these terms mean and how do they work together? How do you know what type of display is best for your client? Let’s cover the basics.

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Display Advertising Defined

Display advertising can come in many shapes and forms; images, video, content that appears organic, mobile, animated, text, etc. So how does an advertiser go about highlighting these ads on the internet? It’s not as simple as send ad A to website B. There are a lot of behind the scenes technologies in place to make this happen!

Google Display Network – A Common Network

What would digital advertising be if Google was not a major player? Google has several tools and technologies that are big players in the display space, including the Google Display Network, commonly referred to as the GDN. The GDN is Google’s own ad network with more than two million websites that have collaborated with Google to have ads from Google Adwords appear on their sites. These can take the form of both text and banner ads. The Google Display Network has a healthy mix of targeting options, but can be limiting in RTB and inventory access.

Who should use the GDN?

With smaller budgets, GDN makes it easier to manage display buys with paid search and shopping ads.

When advertisers have smaller budgets, it is easier to manage display buys from the same platform as paid search and shopping ads. The GDN also has some strong capabilities, such as in-market targeting, CRM retargeting, dynamic product-level retargeting, and even access to certain placements not available on other networks, such as Gmail Sponsored Ads and YouTube. It has a great reach, but when it comes to real-time bidding and optimizations, the capabilities aren’t as strong and require more optimization on the buyer’s part. The GDN does not have access to Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks.

Data Management Platform — A Digital Data Hub

A DMP is the equivalent of this warehouse for data for display. A DMP allows you to leverage your first-party marketing data (think email addresses), as well as collect new data from your marketing efforts, and finally segment the data into tangible audiences.

For example, think of a giant factory/warehouse for a major consumer goods store (like Target). You have trucks coming in from the roads, bringing new product from manufacturers to later be shipped out to Target stores. You have Target-branded products that were created and are also ready to be shipped out to stores. Finally, you have a certain group of stores you want to ship both original Target product to, as well as other manufacturer’s products. The warehouse is a DMP in this example.

Who Needs a DMP?

Brands who leverage large amounts of data. In addition, brands who have a complicated or multi-phased sales cycle would benefit from a DMP to leverage segmentation.

Demand Side Platform – Where You Buy Your Ads with Real-Time Bidding

A DSP is a technology platform that allows advertisers to purchase inventory from various ad exchanges in real-time, typically with algorithms and AI in place to auto-optimize these bids. It delivers the ads to the right people at the right time at the right price, all within milliseconds. No need for human interaction.

Back to the warehouse analogy with Target – think of the different store managers/buyers at Target as DSP’s. These buyers know what product will resonate well in their stores. Then those buyers choose what to send on the trucks that take the product to their stores.

Who Needs a DSP?

DSPs let buyers go programmatic by bidding for the right audience at the right time and the right placement.

Everyone! A DSP is a fantastic way to go “programmatic” with your advertising, by bidding for the right audience at the right time and the right placement through what is called RTB, or real-time bidding. A DSP will automatically do all of that for you! A great DMP will optimize your campaigns toward KPI’s you establish up front to get the best bang for your buck.

DFA – Double Click for Advertisers

To complicate things even more, DFA is yet another tool by Google that allows advertisers to traffic their display advertising. This, simply put, is a way to have ads served through a DSP. The DSP can call the display advertising tags, housed in DFA, then place and serve that ad on various placements. DFA’s biggest selling point is the ability to track post-impression activity, such as view-through transactions and revenue.

Who should use DFA?

DFA is ideal for advertisers who want to prove the value of their display efforts. DFA has the ability to let advertisers know the percentage of impressions that were actually viewable to a user when ads are served. By understanding the percentage of viewability, advertisers can ensure their placements are getting the most bang for their buck through their DSP’s. If they are buying ads directly through publishers, it can also allow them room to negotiate when their ads aren’t being viewed near as much as promised in the upfront agreements.

DFA also has enhanced reporting capabilities, with various attribution models included. Finally, DFA is a great fit for advertisers who are concerned with brand safety, as DFA will report back various sites that your ad may have appeared on that may be flagged as inappropriate, and even provides screen shots of the ad placement.

Google Bid Manager

Google Bid Manager is essentially a DSP that allows advertisers to go and buy whatever inventory they want from the supply side. DBM can not only access the GDN (or an ad network), but has access to other ad exchanges and inventory, unlike the Google Display Network, which only has access to publishers who are a part of their AdSense network.

Who should use DBM?

Buyers who want full control of their media buys at a single access point should use Google Bid Manager.

Buyers who want full control of their media buys at a single access point. If you’re already using DoubleClick for Search (another technology worthy of it’s own blog post) or DFA, DBM is a great way to keep all your data in one place. Reporting is streamlined. However, it should be noted that similar to the GDN, DBM does not have access to many social networks’ inventory.

Phew! And that’s just the beginning. In my next post, we will cover specifics on how all these platforms interact with each other and more strategic and tactical display advertising concepts, such as cross-device, attribution, dynamic vs. static, and more!

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  • Or Segal

    Or Segal

    4 years
    Hi, My name is Or Segal and I am the Head of RTB here at Vidazoo a media Agency specializing with Programmatic Advertising. Would be glad to hear more details about your solutions. We are looking for a self solution to deliver our Advertisers Display campaigns. Many thanks, Or