How to choose a digital advertising platform

Whether you’re just stepping in the business world or have already engaged your early adopters and are ready to move on and grow your business with digital advertising, one of the main questions you might think of is what to consider when choosing a platform for advertising?

As a brief round out…

What is a digital ad platform?

Basically, this is a tech solution, enabling you to programmatically buy ads across web, mobile, and in-app. Such a platform is also called a DSP (Demand-Side Platform) or an RTB (Real-Time-Bidding) media buying platform. Through the interface of DSP you can set up, run and manage your ad campaigns.

Now, imagine you’re visiting one of those digital and marketing trade shows, where hundreds of ad platforms representatives set out their booths, and think about the list of questions you’d ask them to get to know the capabilities they offer.

Let us help you and suggest considering at least the following 8 things. 

#1 Reach and coverage

Whether you think local or global, you may want to start scaling your business once. To understand the potential of the audience you can reach, explore what coverage a DSP provides. 

Specifically, ask for figures on monthly impressions served via DSP and which regions are covered. If you’re interested in the specific geo like Africa or Asia, for instance, request as detailed stats on the location as possible.

Also, check if a DSP can provide you with stats on websites or apps categories. This information can be handy if you’re going to reach the audience interested in specific topics, like automotive, beauty, traveling, and so on.

#2 Targeting opportunities

Next essential thing to explore is how exactly you can reach your most relevant audience. 

With numerous standard targeting opportunities, like geo, social and demographic data, and more, you may want more specific targeting filters. For instance, targeting by browser, city, connection type, device ID and type, app bundle, and so many more.

Besides, it’s a good idea to check if you can link together the filters and rules for more precise targeting, save and reuse your “pre-sets” for different ad campaigns and retargeting.

#3 Ad formats available

What you want is not just to make sure you reach your potential consumers, but also that you’re doing that with the right ad message and creative. So, it’s important to find out which ad formats are available within a DSP, and if they’re compatible across different platforms and devices, as your audience may surf the web on desktop, mobile, and in-app.

Explore a bit which ad formats are trending and top-performing and see if a DSP offers them. For instance, video ad formats, interstitials, various native and in-app ads types. 

Plus, it’s always okay to collect some stats and proofs, so feel free to ask for viewability, completion rate, and other ads performance metrics the DSP provider can share.

#4 Anti-fraud and brand safety measures

As a brand owner or marketer you want to make sure your ad doesn’t appear next to unsavory or extreme content. So, ask a DSP provider about their supply sources – where your ads will be served. 

Also, it’s essential to explore if a DSP implements any anti-fraud measures to ensure your ad is served only to real people, not bots. Specifically, several questions to check here: 

supply partners:

how are their picked and qualified?

ad inventory quality:

is their ad inventory compliant to industry standards (for instance, have ads.txt or app-ads.txt technology implemented)?

anti-fraud technologies:

is a DSP partnering with any anti-fraud detecting and traffic validation providers, like Pixalate or Forensiq?

A reliable DSP normally hand-pick high-quality supply partners, ensures that you get the audience of real people, not bots, plus offers you the tools to control over your digital advertising placements.

#5 Supply sources 

Continuing on, talking about supply sources, partnering with direct publishers will definitely add extra scores to a DSP. 

Check if a DSP not only offers you high-quality traffic provided by supply partners, but also have in stock direct publishers. If so, this can be a great addition, letting you reach exclusive audience plus avoid the middlemen-partners, and therefore save your ad spend.

#6 Planning the ad budget

Whatever size of business you operate, optimizing ad budget and allocating it wisely is always a top priority. 

Explore if technologies and algorithms behind the DSP can help you predict your ad spendings. Check how exactly you can evaluate and plan your budget, and if there’s an opportunity to optimize it on the go, when your campaigns are already live.

Another idea to check is minimum deposit. If you’re representing a small or medium business, you surely want to know if the DSP is startup-friendly and lets you start testing the digital ads with small budgets. 

#7 Transparent and detailed analytics

Reporting and analytics is your endless source of insights – for future business and marketing decisions. 

What’s essential to know here is what specifically you can measure and track, and how affordably all this data is visualized and served to you. 

As for the first part, just several things to check out:

if you can track users’ or consumers’ behaviour

and interaction with your ads

tracking ad formats, creatives,

and overall ad campaigns performance

knowing your conversion rate

and other metri

transparency: seeing which supply sources

are most and less performing for you

track your ad spend

and plan your ad budget based on it

Actually, a good DSP should provide you with a wide range of metrics to track and fine-tune. 

What regards to reporting itself, it’s handy when you can see it instantly, get it scheduled, and have it always accessible in a DSP dashboard. 

#8 Personal manager

Last but not least thing to figure out is if a DSP provides any human touch. Most of DSPs operate as self-serve platforms, which is great. Yet, there could be numerous cases when you may need support or guidance. 

From demo and onboarding to technical support and, basically, managing and optimizing ad campaigns for you – this is where a numan touch is essential. 

Even if you’re not so new to DSP platforms and freely cope with media buying by yourself, knowing that you can get in touch with your personal manager and get help any time you need it is priceless.

Closing thoughts

Sure thing, you can go in-depth and ask a DSP provider more specific questions based on your goals. Yet, the list we’ve just gone through is a good point to start exploring digital advertising platforms. What else do you find essential when choosing between the ads platforms? Please share in a comment below.

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