Struggling to distinguish one Demand Side Platform (DSP) from another? We asked a programmatic supervisor how he chooses the right DSP for each channel, how he measures success, how he sells in-feed native to his clients, and more.
Q: Tell us about AMP Agency and Advantage Media, as well as your role there.
KM: My name is Keagan McDonnell and I’m the Programmatic Supervisor for both AMP Agency Boston and Advantage Media Solutions. AMP and Advantage Media are sister companies both owned by our parent company Advantage Solutions. I oversee the programmatic team from a day-to-day operations perspective, leading strategy, delivery, and optimization.
AMP Boston is a full service marketing and advertising agency. We service primarily digital clients, about 90% of our clients are digital only. Advantage Media is a programmatic media company for retail and CPG brands and also serves as AMP’s internal trade desk.
About 2 years ago we started to build out our in-house trading desk leveraging Advantage Media’s MomentAware™ DMP. Our in-house programmatic team has been steadily growing ever since, and we’re looking to continue to build and leverage an in-house team for everything programmatic.
Q: What does your average day look like?
KM: Pretty busy. No day is ever really the same but I come in, sit down, get a grip on any campaigns that I’m running, and help the traders and the coordinators get a better understanding of the space, the campaigns they’re running and any questions, optimization recommendations, etc.
Q: How many digital advertising platforms are you guys using?
KM: Right now we’re using about 6. I’ve used well over a dozen in my career, and my team is the same way. We have quite a bit of experience when it comes to platforms.
Q: So, every day you have to check all the platforms and make sure everything is running well?
KM: Yeah, we run most campaigns on at least 3 different platforms. We use a native DSP, a mobile DSP, a display DSP, and from there also a video DSP. We focus on using best in class DSPs for each channel. And then using MomentAware™ as the connector between all the different platforms.
Q: Do you think it would make your job easier if there was one DSP that could do everything?
KM: We prefer to use separate self serve DSPs. There are a lot of omnichannel DSPs, all the big ones claim to be omnichannel, but every demand side platform is built out of something. If you’re talking about some of the bigger DSPs, they’re all built out of display -- they’re display first, display is their bread and butter. When you talk to a video first DSP, they were born and bred in video so they have best in class video capabilities. We focus on trying to leverage those capabilities that are the core of the platform and use those to drive success.
Q: Why did you choose StackAdapt as your native advertising DSP?
KM: We were originally using partners like TripleLift, specifically through Deal IDs and single source DSPs. A lot of our business is based on pretty tight geographic restrictions. So we were having a lot of trouble scaling those campaigns. One inventory source makes things very difficult.
So, we were looking for a native DSP and we were going through an audit of a bunch of them and what we found was that, not only from a customer service standpoint, but from a product standpoint, StackAdapt’s ability to focus on in-feed inventory is super, super important to us. So, being able to leverage that, as well as being able to tap into multiple inventory sources are the reasons we went with StackAdapt.
Q: Do you leverage retargeting?
KM: We definitely leverage retargeting, it’s the most efficient. Retargeting is all about converting users who have been to brand sites or have engaged with the brand previously.
Q: How important is recency when it comes to retargeting efforts?
KM: Recency is really one of the big things that we find from a data quality perspective is hard to account for. Especially when we’re talking about third-party data sets. A lot of our clients are CPG brands. The joke we always use is shopping for bananas. Just because you shopped for bananas six months ago, or even two weeks ago, doesn’t mean you’re still shopping for bananas. So, yes, being able to have that last 7 days is a really big indicator for a lot of products that we support that have short purchase cycles. MomentAware™ helps us identify the right audiences and then we are able to activate them across channels using a variety of DSP partners.
Q: How do you sell in-feed to your clients? Because a lot of the larger corporations, they don’t understand native or they don’t see the benefits of native. What’s your strategy for convincing them?
KM: We usually describe in-feed similar to what a client sees on Facebook, as that's an experience that they already understand. Another thing that is really helpful is being able to do ad previews so we can say, well, this is what it looks like. We can put it in a pitch deck and say, this is what the native ad looks like, these are the types of sites [it will be served on]. Finally, from a click through rate and cost per visit perspective, those things all tie together to tell a really strong story. We actually don’t have trouble selling it because it’s definitely one of our most successful tactics.
Q: Let’s talk about some of the campaigns you’ve run with StackAdapt. A lot of beauty product campaigns, food campaigns, tell us, what was your strategy and how did you measure success?
KM: When working with our CPG clients, our strategy is to drive efficient site traffic as well as click through rates and StackAdapt performs amazing there. Going back to the recency of the data, being able to leverage that, as well as, not only the ZIP code and DMA targeting but also the radius targeting that you guys have in your platform has been super awesome.
Q: How does StackAdapt CTR compare to the industry average for native?
KM: We’re seeing click through rates that are 2x higher than the average. Like I said, every client that we put in [StackAdapt] has been very happy with the results and they keep asking for it. If your clients keep asking for it, you know you’re doing something right.
Q: In your opinion, if a company wants to drive performance, what should they do?
KM: The most important thing is to understand your audience. Know everything you can about your consumers so you can be smarter when it comes to planning and smarter when it comes to buying. Those types of things will help improve performance exponentially.