Pre-bid and Post-bid Verification: What are your options for location-based campaigns?

Let’s talk location.

Get original insights, informed comment, and thought leadership from the team as well as from our partners and customers, as we shape the market together.

Pre-bid/Post-bid Verification: What are your options?
Amy Fox

In the world of programmatic advertising, verification has become table stakes. Without some kind of guarantee of brand safety or viewability, many advertisers would be reticent to invest in digital at all.

Most of this verification is pre-bid verification. To explain it simply, as an advertiser enters a bid for a placement, a third party scans the page against a pre-determined set of rules to ensure the page on which the ad will appear is appropriate. For example, if you’re advertising Kool-Aid, you may have rules against appearing on pages that contain profane language. You may also, for obviously reasons, want to avoid appearing adjacent to content about childhood obesity or tooth decay. Your verification partner would be tasked with ensuring that your display ads appear in environments that are free of any of that content. However, you probably don’t want to block entire publications or networks, so verification has to be performed on a case-by-case, impression-by-impression basis.

The challenge with pre-bid verification is that every decision made about a programmatic placement occurs in less than 200 milliseconds. A company like Blis sees 200 thousand bid requests every second, and critical decisions need to be made against literally all of them. Those decisions need to be made quickly enough to avoid missing opportunities to reach audiences at key moments in their customer journeys.

Post-bid verification occurs after the ad has run. Rather than proactively preventing your ad from running in unsafe environments, it reports on where ads ran the day prior and allows advertisers to determine that all placements were appropriate, and whether they want to make any changes to rules for subsequent runs.

While post-bid provides a great opportunity for advertisers and their partners to ensure that every placement has been viewable and brand-safe. However, it can put advertisers with viewability targets in somewhat awkward positions if those targets are unmet on any given day.

In location-based advertising, verification is a new field that we’re only beginning to explore – and it represents a huge opportunity. However, it also introduces some controversy, as there are few third parties capable of accurately verifying location. While there are many verification companies in the market today, and some, like Nielsen, offer audience verification, they focus more on age and gender than location – and none are capable of accurately verifying location at all just yet.

At Blis, we can proudly offer pre-bid verification to our clients. We review all the data we receive from our publishing partners in two-week chunks, and we create visualizations of that data so we can carefully look for patterns that seem suspicious or otherwise non-human. Our location data is scored based on those reviews as either a pass or a fail. Any publisher with data that has received a “fail” is blocked from providing data for the next day. Through this rigorous, ongoing process, we can ensure that our data is trustworthy every single day, and that our clients’ budgets are never wasted on inaccurate lat/long data.

While we don’t offer post-bid verification just yet, we may in the future. We recognize that fraud is a concern in all areas of digital advertising, location included, and want our clients to feel confident that the data and services we provide are both reliable and trustworthy. And, as with the data powering all programmatic advertising, we don’t believe anyone should be allowed to grade their own homework. In the interest of moving the industry forward, we firmly believe that all data, including location data, should be verified by an anonymous third party to ensure both transparency and accuracy.

Click here to view Blis’ Brand Safety Policy.

In our next post, you’ll learn more about the sources of location data, and the questions you should ask to ensure you’re getting the best quality data.

Tags: , , , ,

Amy Fox is Head of Product at Blis and is responsible for high level product strategy and development alongside the release of new revenue streams and products into the market. As one of the original Blis employees, Amy has grown her career over the last few years from an entry level role in partner relationships through to heading up both Operations and Product sequentially.
Most recent blog posts
Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa

Article

Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa

Question 1: How long have you been at RSi and what is your role?
For the past three years, I have been responsible for creating and scaling Ansa, a web-based solution from RSi – Retail Solutions, Inc., that has enabled over 75 of the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies to build, measure and maximize the performance of their shopper marketing campaigns running in support of the nation’s leading retailers. I am responsible for all aspects of business development, partner and agency relationships and the overall revenue growth of Ansa.

Question 2: How does RSi help solve marketer challenges?
Shopper marketers’ biggest challenge is to connect their online campaigns to in-store results. RSi’s Ansa solution provides the intelligence they need, based on daily, store-level POS-data from the largest US retailers in order to plan, target, and measure the impact of their shopper marketing campaigns. Retail Solutions Inc. has partnered with the leading ad networks in Shopper Marketing, such as Blis, to make Ansa’s automated analytics available for the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies. To measure and maximize their digital ad campaigns, all they need to do is ask for Ansa inside their next campaign.

Question 3: What benefits does the partnership with Blis bring to buyers as well as the adtech ecosystem?
With RSi’s Ansa solution, building, dynamically optimizing, and reviewing attribution measures for every digital ad campaign has never been so simple. Here is how it works:
1. STORE-LEVEL TARGETING: automatically get from Ansa your store targeting data as store addresses, lat/longs or by Ansa Digital ZIPs to identify stores with the greatest sales potential prior to launching hyper-local media.
2. IN-FLIGHT OPTIMIZATION: see in real-time how sales are trending in your targeted stores vs. a 52-week historical average, and get access to dynamic optimization lists that can guide budget reallocation.
3. MEASUREMENT & INSIGHTS: get access via the online portal to end of campaign analysis just days after the media campaign is over. Visualizations give you a standardized set of analytics, such as sales lift, incremental dollars and units, confidence level, weekly lift, characteristics of high performing stores, etc. Prove and improve your media to help you fine-tune strategies for your future campaigns.

Question 4: What are use cases for the Blis + RSi partnership? (Please provide a few examples from different verticals).
If you are a shopper marketer, maximizing your budgets, understanding performance of your marketing tactics and generating key learnings from those marketing tactics are tasks that are essential to your business.

Running a digital marketing campaign with Blis, and Ansa’s daily, store-level sales intelligence helps make that extremely for the CPG community and shopper marketers specifically.

For existing products, Blis campaigns using Ansa targeting can reach a targeting efficiency of 2:1 vs. campaigns that do not use Ansa store-level targeting thereby ensuring that every dollar is spent driving sales to your most important retailer locations.

Blis campaigns optimized with Ansa typically identify and heavy up investment around 16% of stores that are trending significantly ahead of the average store during a campaign and identify and decrease investment around 14% of stores that are trending significantly behind the average store, therefore ensuring that your budget is being optimized surrounding stores that are over-performing during a given campaign.

After each Blis campaign, Ansa automatically generates measurement of Featured Item Lift and Halo Item Lift at both the total event and week levels. Results are completed 5 business days after the end of each campaign and allow you to learn quickly and improve continuously, all at an amazingly affordable price.

Question 5: What shopper marketing measurement trends do you predict for 2018?
Optimization in-flight based on store sales trends during campaign. Optimizing on engagement, intent and / or clicks may be ok for some campaigns but more and more frequently shopper marketers are tasked with driving sales at their most important retailers. And understanding how their marketing tactics performed 5-6 weeks after a campaign has finished is just not fast enough anymore in today’s fast paced world and puts media providers at a severe disadvantage. By utilizing automated reporting that allows Ansa partners like Blis to understand and optimize their media in-flight based on daily, store-level POS sales data you now empower your media partner to act on supporting the stores that are driving your product sales which can ultimately provide a powerful boost to a shopper marketing campaign.

Question 6: If there was one piece of content you think every marketer should read, what is it?
(Other than this blog post of course!)

Think with Google and Facebook IQ are two fantastic sources of resources. Articles, trends, case studies, POVs, insights, etc… pretty much everything you need to read to keep you up-to-speed in this very fast-paced environment.

Read more

Embracing the Retailer’s Dream Metric: Cost Per Visit

Article

Embracing the Retailer’s Dream Metric: Cost Per Visit

The twentieth-century American engineer and statistician W. Edwards Deming once said, “Just because you can measure everything, doesn’t mean that you should.”

This applies to retailer struggles today as marketing executives need to decide what they should measure and how. Do they care about impressions, views or click-through rates? And once they figure that out, how can they make sure their ad dollars are really working? The Partnership predicts that ad fraud will cost brands over $16 billion this year alone, while Infectious Media suggests that over half of all digital ads aren’t seen at all.

Fortunately for retailers, there’s a new metric in town—one designed to eliminate waste and increase sales. With a cost-per-visit (CPV) model, retailers pay only when a consumer sees an ad and visits a specific location. Here are four ways retailers are benefiting from this cutting-edge new metric.

1) Increased Foot Traffic

With the National Retail Federation predicting eight to 12 percent e-commerce growth this year alone, no one can deny the rapid rise of online sales. However, 85 percent of consumers still prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, where 94 percent of all sales are generated. That’s why it’s vital for retailers to keep their physical stores alive and continue to enhance their in-store experiences.

With the explicit goal of bringing visitors into physical store locations, CPV is a metric for retailers wanting to increase foot traffic—and pay only for successful conversions. While there are many ways to boost in-store visits, today’s leading location data solutions use predictive location modeling. With Blis Futures, we choose to charge on a CPV-basis because we are completely confident in this approach.

2) Greater In-store Sales

Driving consumers into brick-and-mortar locations may also encourage consumers to buy more than they anticipated. It gives retailers the opportunity to upsell consumers so they need to make sure they clearly advertise their promotional pricing, point-of-purchase displays and loyalty programs. Once you have a potential customer in the store, you can push tailored messaging in real-time and create personalized promotions. As anyone that has ever been into a Target retail location can attest – you may go in for one specific item but end up unable to leave the store for less than $100! So only paying when a consumer sees an ad and then visits a physical location reaps multiples rewards for a marketer.

3) Branding Opportunities

When retailers buy ads on a cost-per-visit basis, they don’t pay if the consumer sees the ad but doesn’t come into the store. That means the retailer also benefits from ad views and branding. In fact, a consumer may see the ad and make a purchase online rather than in-store, but the marketer still pays nothing for that conversion. At Blis, we are willing to take that risk and allow marketers “free” branding messages. Our confidence in the technology behind our CPV metric allows us to think of marketers first.

4) Risk-free Investing

CPV transfers the risk from buyer to partner, so retailers don’t have to worry about wasted ad spend: They’re making a completely risk-free investment. With free branding and zero downside, retailers have nothing to lose.

When Blis became one of the first tech partners to offer the CPV model earlier this year, we sent a critical message to both retailers and the wider industry: We’re ushering in a new era of transparency and accountability in advertising.

Check back again next week when we switch gears to discuss how retailers can use mobile to boost engagement, retention and acquisition.

Read more

Closing the Retailer Purchase Loop: Solving the Challenge of Attribution

Article

Closing the Retailer Purchase Loop: Solving the Challenge of...

You’re on your way to work when you pass a billboard featuring Nike’s newest running shoe. That reminds you: you just signed up for a half marathon, so you’ll need some new gear. You start googling top-of-the-line running shoes on your phone. You forget about the race until days later when looking at Facebook on your laptop, and there they are: the same shoes that caught your eye. Still, you won’t purchase them until you try them on. So what a pleasant surprise when, on your walk home, a banner ad appears across your phone: “You’re 3 minutes from a Nike store,” it says. Why not stop by?

If you go into that store and purchase those shoes, which ad was it that led to the conversion? Was it the original billboard, the social media ad, or the location-based banner? Perhaps a perfect combination of all three?

These questions reflect the challenges every marketer is currently facing when it comes to attribution. Today, a typical path to purchase is no longer a straight line to the point of sale. It looks more like a latticework of ads both online and offline, on our devices or in our neighborhoods.

Yet despite this added complexity, brands can begin to solve the mystery of attribution and determine the value of each marketing touchpoint. They just need to follow the footsteps.

Understanding Footsteps to Purchase

Brands can get a better understanding of which campaigns are boosting their ROI by taking a look at how digital ads directly relate to foot traffic.

First, advertisers can conduct an A/B test to determine which ads are bringing people into their brick-and-mortar retailers. By comparing how many devices were seen in store from an exposed group (devices that received an ad) to a control group (devices that didn’t receive an ad), brands can figure out what’s working and how well. This is the kind of study we conducted on a series of CPG brands earlier this year—where we found an astonishing 47 percent uplift in foot traffic for the exposed group.

Location data can also reveal more than just how many devices made it into stores. It can also tell advertisers the average time it takes for someone to enter a store after seeing an ad, or which locations are performing best. Brands can also layer this data with purchase histories and sales data for even more insightful stats and figures into how their customers are responding to ads.

So once brands have uncovered all these clues into what’s driving conversions and how, what do they do with it all?

Step Up Your Campaigns

Brands don’t strive for accurate attribution just for the sake of it. They want to know what’s causing conversions so they can do more of it—and cut out what might not be working at all.

An energy drink brand, for example, can use data about foot traffic and sales to make sure the next iteration of their campaign performs even better. Let’s say the brand discovers that people are 50 percent more likely to go into a store that stocks the energy drink when they receive an ad within 200 feet of the retailer. Rather than targeting everyone within 500 feet of the retailer, the brand can eliminate waste by just reaching out to those within a much smaller radius.

What if advertisers discover that no matter what distance, more people seem to be purchasing the energy drink from Walgreens than CVS? Perhaps next time, they can put a greater share of their ad budget into targeting those near Walgreens.

By solving some of the mysteries around attribution by finding which campaigns are driving sales, advertisers can continuously optimize their campaigns. And that means less waste and a greater bang for every marketing buck.

Read more