By Sara Harnell – Director of Account Management, OpenX
Hardly a day goes by without an article touting the benefits of programmatic marketing. But what if your company can’t afford the cost of buying through a demand-side platform (DSP) or the resources to build your own real-time bidding engine? Does this mean you’re stuck on the programmatic sidelines?
The answer is fortunately no – thanks to self-serve programmatic, an equal-opportunity solution that lets all (legitimate) buyers get into the programmatic game.
OpenX has long offered a self-serve interface (OpenX Ad Exchange for Buyers) to allow buyers to create and manage their own programmatic campaigns. It’s an intuitive way for buyers to test the waters, and decide if they want to expand their budgets and resources to programmatic channels. It’s been quite successful with marketers in companies of all sizes that we’ve continued to build it out. Today’s it’s nothing short of a full-featured programmatic platform.
So the next question a reader considering programmatic for the first time may ask is: What should I look for in a self-serve option?
First and foremost, make sure that the ad exchange itself has access to plenty of multi-screen, high-quality audiences at scale. (OpenX has 65 of the comScore 100 publishers).
Second, make sure the interface is easy and intuitive so you don’t need a PhD in software engineering in order to use it. OpenX features icons for easy navigation and quick access to common tasks, breadcrumbs so you don’t get lost, Universal Search and a simple Action button for performing bulk operations. And a flexible dashboard lets you view various performance metrics for your orders, line items and ads.
Third, make sure it offers streamlined tools that have a direct impact on campaign creation and performance, such as day-parting, conversion tracking, hosted creatives, postal code targeting and the like.
Conversion tracking is especially important, given that a key benefit of programmatic is the way in which it allows you to do audience discovery. You want to track how the audiences you target respond to your ads, as well as which creative delivers the best response.
OpenX lets you do just that. You can easily create conversion tags that will track how consumers respond to the ads, as well add a piggyback beacon that is dropped with each conversion tag and collect additional information in your ad server.
Fourth, one of the best reasons to choose programmatic is the insights it provides into what works, and what disappoints. Make sure that your self-serve option has lots of reports for you to analyze (and pull at your pleasure).
Not to toot our own horn, but reports is one of the areas in which OpenX excels. You can pull campaign performance by geo (locations, DMA, state and city level), as well as domain, and easily block the underperforming domains straight from the report. And of course, you can generate performance reports by device and operating system.
Finally, select a partner that makes marketplace quality a top priority. Traffic fraud has become a huge thorn in the digital ad industry. Ensure that your partner has dedicated resources to remove suspicious activity from the inventory you’re buying.
As it happens, OpenX recently upgraded its self-serve interface for ad exchange buyers. You can learn more about it here.