Home > Online Advertising Analytics > How can I drive better performance of my Online Advertising platform?

How can I drive better performance of my Online Advertising platform?

Many search engines with a platform to place search advertisements dabble with this question. But as you can see, this question is very open ended and in order to be able to answer it clearly, it is very important to understand the component questions. Addressing each of them will ensure a better business performance.  In an ideal scenario, we would know every customer’s goals completely to such an extent that we can fine-tune each and every advertising campaign. But this Utopia doesn’t exist. Even if we knew an advertiser completely, it is highly impossible to address every advertising campaign on the system. The most analytical way to proceed with this problem is to look at it from a general standpoint and determine general and automated solutions that can in the long-term lead to higher revenues for the platform as well as achieving the goals of the customer. So, the question now becomes – “What are the factors I need to consider before embarking on such an initiative?”

There are 3 aspects to this question

1. Demand – This part is very obvious.Demand in the online paid search industry basically refers to advertisers. The users of the search engine form the supply. There are two dimensions to demand – quantity and quality. Quantity can be influenced positively by promoting the search engine and also by having a good amount and quality of supply.This is a task for the marketing wing of the organization. Any features that the platform offers advertisers will go a long way in influencing the advertisers positively. Influencing quality of demand is a harder task and requires  a rigorous analytical set up. Many companies don’t even have an analytical wing and it becomes the responsibility of 3rd Party analytical service providers to show value. It is imperative to understand the various aspects to a PPC(pay per click) model that need to be looked into and optimized to ensure that an advertiser performs to his best capacity. Let us discuss a few ideas in this section –

  • Seasonality – There is undoubtedly seasonality in user searches. Searches related to certain industries spike at some times during a financial year. Various reports can be designed to assess the extent of this seasonality. These reports should be able to tell you which segment of keywords show an increase in searches, so that keyword recommendations can be made to advertisers. Business will also do well to understand bidding patterns during these seasonal time periods. An advertiser showing impressions for a keyword may stop showing impressions because of an increase in competition on seasonal terms. The business should be able to identify which advertisers are getting impacted due to competition and make bid suggestions to them for these seasonal keywords. Advertisers should be given the flexibility to set variable bids based on the season
  • Ad Quality – Ad Quality is very important in influencing a customer to click on it. Ad quality can be determined on multiple factors such as the text, the ad position and the quality of the landing page URL. It is also important that the ad be directly related to the query that is causing the impression. If not, the system can get flooded by a lot of low quality ads and the credibility of the online advertising platform will be lost. This can do massive damage to the popularity of the platform. Terms like CTR (Click Through Rate = Clicks/Impressions) is a reliable measure of ad-quality.
  • Advertiser Intent – Any advertiser wishing to advertise on an online platform will have to create an account and adjust settings to match his intent. Settings could be things like picking keywords to bid on, selecting targeted users, selecting geographical locations to display ads in, etc. Many advertisers are not sophisticated to understand how to make these changes to settings in the platform and hence end up creating campaigns which actually do something very different from the advertiser’s intent. If the business could recognize such advertisers, it could give them a demo of the tool and show them how to use it. This will help in building advertiser relationships as well as improve the platform as a whole. The benefit is mutual. It helps advertisers to achieve their goals more effectively and the search engine becomes more relevant.

To keep it simple, I have mentioned only a few dimensions above. For learning more, please get in touch with me at biznessanalyst@gmail.com

2. Supply – Supply is mainly driven by the quality and credibility of the search engine. It doesn’t take a marketing guru to understand why Google and Bing have such a large user base. There is more to supply than just having a large user base. It is also important to understand how they behave while using the search engine. In other words, like demand, supply too has 2 aspects – quantity and quality. It really doesn’t bring a lot of monetary benefits if you have a large base of users who do not click on online advertisements. Industry based distribution of search queries could give a fair idea of user behavior. Below are a few ideas to improve performance on a supply-based approach.

  • Industry Analysis -This analysis mainly involves tying up the number of searches that happen on search terms belonging to certain industries to the number of advertisements available for these searches. Analysts can check to see how many number of ads were displayed on every search. This will help business recognize weather there are enough advertisements. If you see a lot of search pages with very few ads for a particular industry, you now know which field your customer acquisition efforts need to focus on.
  • User Search History – Tracking user searches is highly controversial, but I still feel that this can be done while protecting user privacy. One can look for general patterns and understand the nature of user searches. One good analysis would be to identify search queries that users look for before they get the right result.
  • User segmentation – Segmenting users can be very useful in order to drive targeted advertising. User segmentation can be done using various variables like industry of search, frequency of clicking on ads etc.

3. Platform – Demand and Supply are external factors, but platform is a very important internal factor. I think that it is very necessary to have a very good platform and provide advertisers with as many features as possible that gives them more control over their advertisements. It is also important not to include a plethora of features that are not serving a very important purpose as this could result in information overload and leave the advertiser confused. I recommend building a solid dashboard showing the advertisers how they are performing at various levels of granularity. It could also be interesting for the advertisers to understand how their competitors are performing. The dashboard should also be able to tell the advertisers where they could do better and make recommendations on the fly. This kind of a feature will need a great deal of effort to build but I think it provides a very important value-add and all steps must be taken to put it in place if its already not up and running. Improvements to the dashboard can happen over time but just providing this feature tells the advertisers that you do really care about their business. This will help build good relationships with them. Platform also refers to all the complex algorithms which result in ad delivery starting from the time a user types in a search query. This algorithm is a black box to many advertisers and they may have some apprehensions on the fairness. It is highly important that the algorithm be flawless or else there is bound to be multiple escalations in the near future when advertisers begin to understand the failings of the system.

In this article, I have covered all the factors affecting performance very broadly. In case, you want a more granular approach or want to have a problem solved, please feel free to me at biznessanalyst@gmail.com.

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