Media buyers have to handle a lot of moving parts—they stay on top of the competitive landscape for every brand they manage, research and nurture relationships with publishers, and of course, analyze the troves of data that come from online advertising and content distribution.
Many professionals have found success for their brands with media buying techniques that have set them apart from the crowd and their competition.
This is a collection of advice from successful professionals in the industry, agencies and analyst groups around the web for media buyers looking to make a splash in their industry.
Think about how much it really costs to optimize a campaign.
Especially when you’re just starting out with a new brand, you’re probably going to run into a lot of big publications and big payout offers. They’ll look really great up front, but the truth is that they’re not always the best place to start. Stan Ivanov, CEO of Intelligence Media Group, said it best:
“It takes a much smaller budget to optimize a $2 offer than it takes to optimize $150 offer. So, try to target offers in the $2 to $5 range outside of very competitive verticals like dating, diet, education, and loans.
In the beginning, you just won’t be able to compete with the big boys,” Stan Ivanov told What Runs Where.
The idea here is to spend a small budget on one offer or channel that you can optimize really well and then diversify from there.
As you collect data, optimize creatives and pivot strategy, you’ll spend more and more of your budget—the more you spend at the beginning of your campaign, the more you’ll have to spend to optimize. If you’re just starting out in your space, gain experience and historical performance data before you take on larger offers.
Know the difference between mobile and desktop traffic.
After you’ve taken a dive into your campaign, the historical data collected will be key to pivot your strategy to reach your goals. Oftentimes, the device type is a big part of this.
For example, a campaign might be receiving more impressions from desktop traffic but more downloads from mobile traffic.
The traffic performance often depends on the content type. A brand awareness video, for example, will likely perform much differently than a mobile app download campaign on the same platform. The trick is to find which is right for you.
We’ve seen firsthand at Taboola that mobile traffic is quickly taking over across all parts of the globe. What we see in our network is a reflection of what is happening in the market—in 2016, the market share for mobile traffic surpassed that of desktop for the first time, and it’s stayed that way.
A live graph from StatCounter shows the trend over time:
While mobile did indeed take over desktop traffic in October of 2016, there is still a significant amount of desktop traffic—both have their purpose.
When deciding which traffic is best for your campaign, keep in mind the mindset of your target audience. Mobile audiences are often moving, have shorter attention spans, and aren’t going to spend as much time with your content as they will on desktop.
Bid right—understand the correlation between volume, bid and CTR.
Choosing your traffic, and targeting for geography, demographic, interests and previous campaign success is important, and is the first step to optimizing a successful campaign. The part that can be difficult is your spend—how do you bid and when do you pivot?
There are four scenarios you’re likely to come across when buying media. The trick is to know the correlation between different increasing and decreasing results, and pivot so that you can get the best return on investment (ROI) for your brand.
“Any action you make creates a karmic reaction. That was never more obvious than when we refer to Media Buying. There are lots of relations between different parameters and media buying beginners should take them into consideration.” Elena Rudneva, Affiliate Manager for Mobidea
Rudneva describes four common situations including real time bid (RTB), traffic volume, and click through rate (CTR), so media buyers have a better understanding of what the correlation between the three means:
RTB, volume, and CTR decrease: your traffic was stolen, and your ad is losing ground. It’s time to up your bid for the same quality traffic.
RTB stays the same, volume and CTR increase: a competitor with a higher bid left the auction. Bask in your glory, because this is your best case scenario.
RTB and volume increase and CTR decreases: your target audience is extremely competitive and someone outbid you. You probably won’t be successful here, so go back to the targeting drawing board.
RTB, volume, and CTR all increase: as you increased your bid, your traffic and volume increased. This is the most logical scenario and means your impression level increased. You’re seeing higher quality traffic.
No matter how your campaign is performing, or what RTB to volume to CTR correlation you’re seeing, it’s going to change—you have to keep testing.
Test everything, pivot, and then test everything again.
When you’re spending your brand’s money, you want to get the biggest return on the dollar. For some professionals, this can cause them to freeze and try to learn everything they can first, so they can launch an incredibly successful campaign from the start.
The thing is, the best insight into campaign success comes from continuous testing. Charles Ngo, a leader in performance marketing, says it simply:
“Most people would benefit from reading less and doing more; keep launching campaigns and keep testing,” said Charles Ngo in a recent interview.
Even if you aren’t being timid and you are running multiple small campaigns to test and optimize for the future, you have to remember that the goal of testing is not to cheat the system. Chris Cole, founder of Internet ROI, advises that your real goal should be to develop creatives and landing pages that really reach an audience:
“Don’t try to be clever. Identify your target audience through testing and then find reliable ways to reach them. A mistake I see all too often is to hop from network to network looking for the one traffic source that will magically lower the CPA.
Chances are, that time would be better spent optimizing creative or landing pages,” Chris Cole said in a recent interview.
As you optimize, pay attention to the one tried and true piece of advice that will really lead you to success—you should constantly be on top of how your competition is performing.
We really can’t underestimate the value of competitive intelligence.
It seems obvious to provide the advice to media buyers that they should take a look at competitive activities, but having the right questions to ask can make the difference between powerful competitive intelligence and meaningless information.
Liz Gazer, Founder of Growthspurt Media, has some specifics she think would make media buyers more successful:
“A lot of marketing folks forget to develop a full strategy complete with target customer profile before rushing into media buys. So, research is important; competitive analysis is important.
Identify answers to questions like where is your competition advertising? Where are your consumers hanging out? What are they reading, watching and listening to? What trends are they following and what motivates them to spend in your vertical? Answer those and identifying the right media channels to spend in, becomes a lot easier,” said Gazer.
There’s no better place to start your research than the competitors in your space—the trick is to not just follow suit with their practices, but to try new things, test better, pivot faster and eventually drive more traffic and conversions for your brands.
See our article on top of the funnel marketing for more information on exactly how to scale.
Filling the role of a media buyer can be challenging, but very rewarding when you blow your goals out of the water. Learning from veterans in the industry is a great place to start, and will help you find success.
Taboola is the world’s leading content discovery platform, serving 360B recommendations to over 1B unique visitors each month on the web’s most innovative publisher sites. To learn more about how Taboola can help you, contact us or start your campaign today.