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The Race for Digital Advertising is On

The Midterm Elections are just around the corner – November 6, 2018 to be exact. This handy 2018 Midterm Election Guide provides everything you need to know. And this post will tell you why, as candidate and strategist you need to think outside the (set-top) box to reach key voter groups!

According to eMarketer, as the midterm elections are heating up, ad spending is rising. Political advertising dollars are flowing to publishers at higher rates than had been expected earlier this year, based on statistics from E.W. Scripps – political ad spend will top $112 million in 2018, surpassing not only the previous midterm year but the 2016 presidential election as well, when its political ad spend reached $101 million.

Although the budget forecast is leaning heavily towards traditional channels – broadcast TV being the largest – the battle is also on for digital ad inventory. It will be getting the second-highest share of dollars, based on Borrell Associates media trend tracking, at the tune of $1.8 billion.

 

 

Digital advertising is primed to be a sizeable driver in the Midterm elections. With 435 U.S. House seats and 33 U.S. Senate seats at stake, programmatic advertising can easily dominate the race for the digital ad spend. With the power and targeting offered with programmatic advertising technology, campaigns can reach voters with quality, hyper-targeted ads, that unlike other advertising formats, can be adjusted on-the-fly.

MediaPost, in identifying the trends to watch in the 2018 midterm states that, “as we approach one of the most hotly contested midterm elections in memory, we already know one winner: digital advertising has clearly emerged as the preferred medium for both candidates and voters.”

Political advertisers need the right strategy to reach voters who are increasingly mobile and always immersed in content.

Consider Native

Native ads are advertising formats that are consistent with the form, style and voice of the platform they appear on and are considered less intrusive to the reader.

Native ads are consumed the same way people view editorial content which could attribute to consumers looking at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads and why they tend to register higher lift in purchase intent (18%) and brand affinity (9%) than banner ads. They can also register higher lift in voter intent too.

More importantly, native and mobile are dominant partners. Native advertising is even more likely to be mobile than social; more than 90% of native display ad dollars go to mobile placements, thanks to sites and apps designed specifically to include native ads.

Go Digital and Local

Particularly in midterm elections, localization is key. If your congressional campaign just needs to reach one side of a city or county, geotargeting enables you to zone right in.

Focus the Message

StackAdapt Custom Audience Segments are first-party data sets that target individuals based on the relevant content they’ve recently consumed online, their intent (to purchase or to vote) and their competitor interactions.

To identify users that belong to a segment, StackAdapt uses two main approaches:

  1. Collect users who share similar unique internet browsing patterns – that is users who have recently visited relevant pages that demonstrate a specific interest, such as Republican or Democratic Candidates
  2. Collect users that have recently connected to a specific corporate network such as the University of Georgia, thereby allowing political advertisers to target current college students of a specific campus

These diverse and unique audience pools make targeting your ideal audience fast, easy, and accurate – and gets your message in front of the right set of voters at the right time.

There is a lot of opportunities to reach voters through the various tactics offered only in programmatic advertising, including voter targeting and geotargeting. And it also brings pricing efficiencies and scale that help maximize campaign dollars. And some key elements, such as custom audience segments and programmatic native are only available in StackAdapt.

If you want to learn more about boosting the performance of your political campaigns, reach out to your StackAdapt representative or contact us to get your campaign up and running today!

4 min read

State of Conversions: How to Measure Across DSPs

As digital media continues to dominate the advertising world, digital-savvy clients are questioning which channels work best, and which technology partners they should continue investing with. However, there remains an industry-wide problem of conversion attribution.

According to eMarketer, the digital buyer today is expected to use 4 different DSPs, down significantly from 2016’s estimate of 7, and yet despite the drop of almost half the tech, it is still hard to measure cross-channel conversions.

It’s not that there is a lack of tools – the primary problem is the industry itself; the rise of wall-gardened inventory sources such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook have made it increasingly difficult to help gather results and understand where and which platform drove which conversions, let alone cross-device conversions.

This makes it extremely difficult to point out if, and when users will be able to have a holistic view of their digital buys. But as a savvy digital media buyer, there are a few strategies that may help you to further refine your data and to have a strong understanding of where your conversions are coming from.

1. Leverage an ad-server

By using an ad-server, you can generate both ad tags and 1×1 impression/click trackers and use their pixel as your conversion point’s source of truth. It is strongly recommended that you piggyback your DSP’s pixels into the ad-server’s, as it will enable your DSP(s) to collect the necessary data to feed its algorithm and enable you to optimize towards your CPA goals within the platform.

Most ad-servers do have a reporting tool that will distinguish which conversion belongs to which tag, and, depending on the tool’s level of reporting, can further dissect this information across devices as well.

Keep in mind that some DSPs only support impression trackers (this is common amongst social media partners).

2. Make sure your lookback windows are aligned

Digital media buyers also need to consider how their pixel is set up. Believe it or not, most DSP pixels have set lookback windows when it comes to both post-view and post-click conversions. This can result in a DSP taking credit for another DSP’s conversion, or worse, duplicate the numbers. This is an important consideration when comparing your results and determining the effectiveness of your digital strategy.

Whatever your lookback window may be, be sure that all pixels are set up to the exact same timeframe prior to launch so that you are comparing apples to apples.

3. Use Google Analytics

If you’re not ready to commit to an ad-server, consider using Google Analytics and building UTMs. Once done, set your goals in GA and begin tracking your campaign.

Remember, in addition to creating a UTM parameter for the campaign source, make sure to incorporate parameters for both campaign medium and campaign name to distinguish what strategy drove what result.

Use this great resource tool for building UTMs. Note that Google Analytics will only count post-click conversions if you are running media outside of GDN.

4. Consider a multi-channel DSP

StackAdapt may have started as a native-first DSP, but we incorporated video and display a few years ago. After being ranked the #1 native advertising and the #1 video platform, it makes sense to leverage our omnichannel offering.

And with our Conversion Journey tool, you can understand the touchpoints of your results. The StackAdapt Conversion Journey tool gives you visibility on information such as click to conversion and domain to conversion. Additionally, you are able to pass back other data points, such as order ID and product SKUs.

 

 

Contact your StackAdapt representative to learn more or request a demo to see our Conversion Journey tool and much more in action.

 

8 min read

StackAdapt Partnerships: Unlocking New Inventory Opportunities

Savvy marketers know that there are a number of different ways to use their DSP to achieve optimal results. While traditionally, the majority of inventory is facilitated through the open marketplace, sometimes there is a need to be a bit more private and strategic about where you want your ads to run. Deal IDs can unlock inventory reserved for deals or they can be used to target very specific inventory.

StackAdapt clients have always enjoyed access to brand-safe, premium and relevant inventory through the open marketplace and while this tactic will remain as relevant as ever, we are excited to introduce StackAdapt Partnerships – a team to help marketers achieve their goals by enabling supply partnerships across the ecosystem.

According to eMarketer, Private Marketplaces, or PMPs for short, have been rising steadily since 2016, with $9 billion being spent by advertisers this year alone. The spend is predicted to rise to nearly $13 billion, accounting for almost 20% of total programmatic spending.

PMPs can provide an optimal solution to many campaign challenges – allowing access to higher-tier inventory, inventory not available on the open exchange and greater control over the placement and the performance. Whether the goal is to get in front of video-on-demand bingers, snag that above-the-fold placement or ensure an exact audience match with a list of curated publishers – PMPs can help marketers get there.

Designed to deliver precise target at scale, private marketplaces are a hybrid of the access and agility of the open exchange, with the control and safety of dealing directly with publishers. Now the best of both worlds – high-performing open and private marketplaces – is available in StackAdapt. And the StackAdapt Partnerships team will do all of the heavy lifting for you.

At a glance, here is the differences between open and private marketplaces:

Deal IDs

Deal IDs provide added functionality that makes it easier to set up rules for deals.

The StackAdapt Partnerships team will create Deal IDs packaged for tentpole events such as Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, and vertical-specific Deal IDs for travel, finance, healthcare etc. The team will also facilitate custom deals for StackAdapt customers upon request.

To enhance this offering, StackAdapt is also releasing Deals Inventory in October. Customers will be able to activate pre-packaged exchange deals and request custom bespoke deals within the platform.

To learn more about the StackAdapt Partnerships team, reach out to your representative or contact us.

5 min read

Campaign Planning Anxiety? We Have the Cure!

“Plan your work and work your plan”, a quote of unknown origin but slight variations of it have been used by Vince Lombardi, Margaret Thatcher and many others.

So now you’re thinking…. great quote but I can only effectively plan my work if I have access to the right tools – I am already an expert at working my plan when I have one.

At StackAdapt we understand that the ability to proactively plan your campaign will help to:

  • Avoid jumping right into execution without insights into where your best successes are
  • Reduce the anxiety and stress of decision making
  • Eliminate dealing with last-minute fire drills

Which is why we are excited to announce our latest feature, the StackAdapt Planner.

The StackAdapt Planner gives you the power to identify high-value advertising opportunities before a single dollar of your budget is spent.

To best counteract any campaign planning anxiety and inform your ad strategy, use the Planner to surface the potential target reach and performance benchmarks from within StackAdapt across Devices, Categories, Channel Types and Geographies.

The Planner will show the inventory availability based on total impressions, as well as benchmarks for performance metrics like eCPM, eCPC, eCPE, CTR and Completion Rate %.

This has the potential to take your conversations with clients to a whole new level!

Contact your StackAdapt representative to learn more.

Not a StackAdapt customer? You’ll definitely want to be now – see the StackAdapt Planner (and so much more) in action.

3 min read

The StackAdapt Creative Studio: Design Expertise + Technology = Peak Performance

Data and technology can help deliver an ad to the right audience and ensure it is viewable – this is part of the core of StackAdapt – but regardless of the power of technology, it has little influence over actual engagement on the ad. That’s where the creative has the potential to make or break campaign performance.

Maintaining the integrity of a brand and the aesthetic requires a human touch. Our newly launched Creative Studio puts StackAdapt in a unique position to offer services that not only leverage the performance and optimization of our technology, but also to tap into a team of experts to produce creatives that will help you achieve peak performance with your programmatic campaigns.

The Creative Studio interacts with the client-facing teams at StackAdapt, and with clients and agencies directly, to provide feedback on how to improve existing creatives to achieve better performance or to gather assets, understand the campaign goals and customize creative to fit the advertisers needs. The key is to ensure a brand’s creative story remains consistent across all marketing channels.

The Creative Studio can help with:

  •      Creating new native or display ads
  •      Turning display into native ads
  •      Turning static display into dynamic/interactive display ads

Led by Luc Samanski, a creative and innovation award-winning senior industry professional with extensive experience in ad composition across a breadth of ad formats, the Creative Studio develops and executes custom creative advertising solutions that work.

 

 

Dissecting Native Advertising Creatives

The non-experts in the crowd tend to look at a native ad creative similar to a photo or a painting, but the experienced individuals will break it down into what works and why. Luc has dissected a native advertising creative for Porter Airlines:

What makes this native ad great is that Porter Airlines, rather than simply talking about flights, is providing some helpful suggestions on restaurants to visit at a given destination. They exercise good photography selection with an image of an interesting and appetizing meal.

Porter also has a very visible and clear CTA at the top to drive conversions for travellers who are curious about visiting Toronto. Once the user clicks on the ad they are linked directly to the article covering the best brunch spots:

Having quality content will always lead to a more positive and memorable interaction for the user.

Tips for creating enticing, engaging, high-performing ad creatives

Tip 1: Content is king

Consumers are getting smarter and smarter and high-quality content is not only more likely to resonate with consumers, they are more likely to positively engage with it. Avoid clickbait captions because consumers are aware of when they are being advertised to or misled.

Tip 2: Choosing the right images

When it comes to image selection, avoid images that are too “stock image-esk”. Find more interesting lifestyle photography that tells your brand story – and avoid having any copy on the image. The combination of the right image with great content will ensure you’ll have a great click through rate!

Luc and his team can help you bring creative to digital. Reach out to your StackAdapt representative to explore options for your campaign or download our 1-pager to learn more.

8 min read

Best Video Advertising Platform – We’re Flattered!

According to the State of Video Marketing 2018 Report, video usage is on the rise – with 81% of businesses using video as a marketing tool. This should be no surprise since we watch a LOT of  video, more than 3 hours of video in a typical day. So as a marketer it’s obvious that you need to incorporate video into your marketing mix or perhaps boost what you are doing today.

And if you need even more ammunition – 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018. So how do you determine the best demand-side platform to run your video content, since there are several to choose from in the market? Determining the right one for your organization depends on who you ask, the problem they are trying to solve (is it similar to yours) and how they evaluate success.

Analyst reports can have stringent criteria and typically focus on solutions for really large enterprises, who more often than not, don’t share the same business objectives and challenges as smaller organizations in the same industry. So most individuals will look to review sites or other online sources to help make their decision easier. Sources like G2 Crowd.

We are flattered that our customers and G2 Crowd has deemed StackAdapt the #1 Video Advertising platform from their consolidation of reviews for Advertiser Campaign Management Software.

A trusted research tool for software, G2 Crowd is a review site for business technology. G2 Crowd continually collects, aggregates, and analyzes user reviews, where its analysis is captured in G2 Crowd Grid Reports and on their website. Resources from G2 Crowd play a critical role in the evaluation process of thousands of software buyers globally, who use the Grid to help them quickly select the best Advertising Campaign Management products for their businesses and to find peers with similar experiences.

Read what this agency has to say about StackAdapt and Video Advertising:

StackAdapt not only performs as a video advertising platform, it also ranks as a high performer on the G2 Crowd Grid for Demand Side Platforms. Read more about Our Advantage or see first hand why users rave about StackAdapt.

4 min read