Display ads can be placed on digital media properties in many ways. To be sure, a media property can be an app, a website, a page of a website, a social platform, a video game, or otherwise. As with traditional media, display, or impression, advertising is the primary method of monetizing a media vehicle. The managed placement method of serving display ads requires a little more intimacy with the ad-serving platform than an automated method. After your display creatives (ads) have been rendered, a digital media planner will need to place them in the most appropriate media properties for the target audience. With automated placement methods, digital media planners rely heavily on the ad-serving platform algorithms to place the ads in appropriate media properties. This isn’t always the most efficient method of serving display ads, but it can be a useful method. A more sophisticated method of serving display ads is the managed placement method, where the media planner hand-picks the media properties that will serve the ads for the campaign.
With managed placement, Web sites and content areas are researched manually to ensure the content on the property is highly relevant for your target audience. This method of placing display ads requires more intimacy with the tools available from the ad-serving platform. While modern digital media properties like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Adwords, etc., have robust self-service tools for media planners, traditional media vehicles like newspapers and magazines still require media planners to negotiate directly with media sales professionals. Historically, all media planning would be considered managed placement. Traditional media is still an option for impression (display) ads, depending on your communication goals, but it has become less attractive due to lack of a self-service model.
Websites like Facebook and Adwords have eliminated the requirement of negotiating with a middleman or a media salesman. On these platforms, the bid for your settings determines the amount of impressions you will receive for your display ad. Early Web sites didn’t have this type of functionality but more sites are employing this method of selling ad space in order to monetize their site. Unfortunately there is not a universal ad serving platform that allows advertisers to serve ads to all Web sites; the closest thing to it would be the Google Adwords platform.
Through the Google Adwords ad serving platform, which has the largest network of content sites within it, digital media planners can launch display ads utilizing the managed placement method in a matter of minutes. A nice aspect with the Adwords managed placement method is that it allows for very simple managed placements or very sophisticated managed placements. The amount of targeting options within Adwords is truly staggering. Likewise, the Facebook/Instagram ad serving platform is just as powerful, if not more-so, than the Adwords platform. Combined, these two ad-serving networks have the potential to serve ads to most of the world population.
The most important aspect of the managed placement method of serving display ads is that you always control the content areas or sites that your ads will be displayed on. If your media vehicles have been researched thoroughly, then there is little need to worry that your display ads will be positioned next to any negative content. Another positive aspect is the ease of throttling impressions on content areas that you deem to be of high value. This isn’t as easy to accomplish with the automatic placement method. In essence, with the managed placement method, display Ads are placed on sites regardless of whether the keywords in the content correspond with the target audience. The media planner is manually making the call that the content of the web property matches the target audience for the communication goal. At Vagary, we see value in both ad serving methods, depending on the communication objectives.
On the downside, sites with premium content can demand premium prices for their display ad space. Consider that your competition is looking for high quality content areas to display ads on as well. This means your advertising dollar probably won’t go as far, in terms of impressions and clicks, on high-value content areas.
As digital media planners, Vagary has extensive experience in placing display ads, whether it be through the automated placement method or the managed placement method. Both of these methods can be useful, but probably at different times, depending on the communication goal for the campaign. Ether way, tactical expertise with the ad serving platform is needed to get the most out of your advertising budget.
UTILITY: Present your brand to target audience.
DIFFICULTY: Medium to difficult, depending on how many platforms, or networks, you require. Moderate skill with each ad serving platform is needed. With display ads there is the added difficulty of developing the actual creatives to be displayed.