The Display Advertising Industry

display advertising

When I attended my AAM training a few years ago, I remember I barely understood what I was explained. To me, it was all new. The technicalities were not that difficult, but when the trainers explained the business side, I stopped following the course; it was all gibberish to me. It took me a couple of years to get a reasonable understanding of the display advertising industry. Since then, colleagues and customers have asked me to explain them how this industry works, so I thought I would write a “display advertising introduction for dummies” post. I will omit a lot of parts and will simplify it. If you are well versed in this area, I suggest you skip this article, as it will not offer anything new to you. In fact, you may even know more than me!

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ID sync


When I was following the Adobe Audience Manager training, I remember that one of the topics I found most difficult to understand was ID syncing. The enablers spent a lot of time using these words and I could see that it was a key part of any DMP. Once I finally understood what it meant, I felt relieved. Today I will explain this concept, in case you are also stuck.

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Leveraging second party data in AAM

In an Adobe Audience Manager implementation, the first and most important data source is the data you already own. Then, when no more juice can be squeezed from first party data, we switch to purchasing third party data. Finally, in some cases, we go beyond and look for second party data. Today, I will focus on this last resort, which can be more interesting than what it initially looks like.

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Shopping Cart Abandonment (I)

Have you ever received a request to track and detect online shopping cart abandonments in real time? If you have, then you are not alone. This is a typical request we get from our clients and I have seen too many times. The theory is very simple: if we can detect that a user has added something to the basket but has not purchased it, then we need to persuade him to finish the process. However, the reality is more complicated than just that. Let me explain what I usually discuss with my customers and what options do we have.

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First visit targeting

If you are working with a DMP like Adobe Audience Manager, I am sure you have come across the following problem: you want to target your visitors on site, immediately after they log in, using on-boarded data, even on the first visit. This last statement is, precisely, where the problem is. The way AAM processes on-boarded data is as follows:

  1. You upload your CRM data to AAM, either to an SFTP location or an S3 bucket
  2. Every 12h, AAM reads all on-boarded data and processes it, converting the signals into traits
  3. The traits are stored in the core servers
  4. A visitor logs in for the first time
  5. Since the communication between the browser and AAM is done through the edge servers, these servers have at this moment in time no on-boarded information for that visitor
  6. The edge servers where this visitor activity has happened, request the on-boarded traits to the core servers
  7. In a batch process, core servers send to the edge server the visitor’s on-boarded information

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Unsegmenting vs suppression segments

Initially, when we think of segments (or clusters) for ad segmentation, we think of ever-growing groups of cookies. Simple use case like purchasers, visitors to our website, subscribers to a newsletter or owners of a device fit in this model. However, advanced (and not so advanced) use cases do not work well with this model, where we have visitors entering and leaving regularly a segment, so a segment can shrink in size:

  • Retargeting dropped baskets: the moment someone places an order, you do not want to retarget him again
  • Customers of a mobile operator: it is very common nowadays to switch to a different provider frequently
  • Age group: ever day, visitors enter one particular age group or leave it, as people grow older

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Agencies and DMP campaigns

Before I started working with Adobe Audience Manager, I had a very limited knowledge of the on-line advertising market. In the past, I had managed Google AdWords campaigns, but that was all I knew. Now that I have been working for some time with a few AAM customers, I have realised that the market for on-line campaigns is huge. There are many actors involved: agencies, trading desks, DMPs, DSPs, SSPs… I still have to learn more about this market.

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Detect iPhone 6 in AAM

Today’s post is going to be a different form the last few posts, a bit more hands-on.

One of the typical questions I get from my AAM customers is “how do I detect a user browsing with an iPhone [model]”. The only solution we have to reliably detect the device is through the User-Agent. Although this should be very simple, in theory, there is one problem: Apple does not want you to detect the iPhone model. Android devices include in the User-Agent the name of the device, or enough information to get it from there. However, Safari browsers include the device type (iPod, iPad or iPhone) and the iOS version, with no hint of the model.

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