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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Optimize cost/value performance

Let’s look at some pricing, so, bidding, in this instance.

And we’re going to look at our DSPs, which are demand-side platforms, and our SSPs, which are supply-side platforms and how they interact with each other in the Ad Exchange. So, with premium buys like the New York Times, you pay a fixed CPM, we know that. So, you’re paying to acquire a certain number of impressions during the day.

Another method available to us is RTB, which is what’s called real-time bidding. This is where there are a number of advertisers all bidding for a certain impression or access to a certain member of an audience or audience group. They’re all bidding against each other for access to that.

We’ve got on the demand-side platform, we’ve got all the advertisers and they’re all bidding. And on the supply-side platform, we’ve got all the publishers or all the ad placements available to us. And the Ad Exchange understands how much the people are willing to pay, the relevance and different factors within the DSP side, understands it, matches that up to the SSP side, and that’s how our ads are served.

In the GDN and other RTB platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Android, advertisers can optimize their max CPC bids and targeting options for impressions or on clicks. On the GDN, you can use default bids or custom bids. So default bids are all of the targeting contained within an ad group gets the same bid, whereas custom bids is you may segment the targeting within that ad group.

We recommend you only have one primary targeting type in an ad group. But if you have more, custom bids is a more defined way of bidding effectively for the different targeting options.

Bidding approaches

There are three main bidding approaches on the Google Display Network.

Default bids

If you don’t set specific bids for your targeting, Google Ads will use your ad groups default bids. So that is the bid you set up when you created your ad group. Again, it’s okay to use ad group level bids if you have one single targeting type per ad group, because you know that reflects that single targeting type. So that makes sense.

Custom bids

However, if you have multiple targets in an ad group, you should use custom bids. If you want to add individual targeting to different targeting methods within an ad group, you can set up custom bids on each targeting options for the GDN. For example, you can set a max CPC bid on a specific placement. So, if you’re targeting, for example, household topics, and then you go into your automatic placements, you can deep dive into the top-performing placements within that topic and bid more for those targets. That will be a way of using custom bids to optimize your performance.

So you can only use custom bids on one targeting method per ad group. So it’s important that, you know, you can’t use custom bids on topics and another set of custom bids on audiences. It’s usually your second-tier targeting within the targeting of the ad group.

Bid adjustments

Bid adjustments are what you can use across all of the Google Suite. So you can bid for certain devices or locations. But where it’s important for display is, you can bid on certain audience types or demographic. So, for example, if you’ve doubled up on audience and contextual targeting, you might say, “I want to target people who are in the market for SEO and SEM services, but I’m willing to pay 10% more if they’re on a website that contains the topic SEO or SEM.”

So what you’re saying is, “I’m able to bid for my audience, but I’m willing to bid a bit more if they’re on the type of content that is most relevant to my audience and my product.” This gives us a lot more control in the definition and targeting and acquisition of the most relevant audiences at the most important time beside most relevant content.

Bidding strategy

Our bidding strategy is essential to understand what we’re going to pay. So it’s important to develop a bidding strategy because a well-developed bidding strategy will ensure that your ad group and your targeting is working at its most competitive, driving the right ad, at the right placement, to the right person, on the right device, at the right time.

Measuring goals

Like everything we’ve done with display, we need to know what our goals are, we need to measure them effectively.

Once we’ve measured them effectively, we’re able to see how our bidding strategies are working together. We can start delving into some automated bidding strategy like target-cost-per-acquisition, or some of the other automated bidding strategies available to us on the Google Display Network. We can test these, first of all, by observation and then possibly by bringing in Google Ads experiments, is a way to understand how you can develop a bidding strategy. Focusing solely on one single bidding strategy doesn’t align your bidding strategy to your campaign goals as effectively as applying multiple bid adjustments or bidding strategies and changing them as the data changes and as the KPIs may change.

Bid adjustments by device

Setting bid adjustments by device is fairly straightforward. So, like any of the Google Ads Suite, we simply click into Devices. And beside the devices, we’re able to choose whether we want to increase our bids or reduce our bids by a certain percentage.

It’s quite important for display to have a mobile consideration because not always is the ad readable on mobile devices. Also, mobile display drives a lot more traffic from users than desktop display simply because mobile is more used. And it’s used in app. And as a result, you can drive a lot of traffic but maybe not a lot of qualified traffic. So having a device-bid strategy around your display activity is essential and testing what level plus or minus your mobile bid adjustment should be in order to get the best results.

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Cathal Melinn

Cathal Melinn is a well-known digital marketing director, commercial analyst, and ecommerce specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Cathal is a respected international conference speaker, course lecturer, and digital trainer. He specialises in driving complete understanding from students across a number of digital marketing disciplines including: paid and organic search (PPC and SEO), analytics, strategy and planning, social media, reporting, and optimisition.  Cathal works with digital professionals in over 80 countries and teaches at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced.

Alongside his training and course work, Cathal runs his own digital marketing agency and is considered an analytics and revenue generating guru - at enterprise level. He has extensive local and international experience working with top B2B and B2C brands across multiple industries.

Over his career, Cathal has worked client-Side, in digital marketing agencies and media owners with brands including HSBC, Amazon, Apple, Red Bull, Dell, Vodafone, Compare the Market, Aer Lingus, and Expedia.

He can be reached on LinkedIn here.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

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Display Advertising
Cathal Melinn
Skills Expert

This module introduces the key concepts involved in display advertising. It covers the advantages of different types of display platforms and demonstrates how to set up a display advertising campaign. It also explores the key considerations for targeting and bidding in a display advertising campaign, and how to report on and optimize campaign performance.