Display Advertising takes a Giant Leap as myThings introduces its Pretargeting Solution to the U.S. at the SES Conference in Chicago.
Founded in 2005 in London, England, myThings has become a global leader in personalized display advertising. At the SES in Chicago, they introduced their new data-driven, intent-based acquisition solution to the United States. We had the chance to interview Michael Swope, US Managing Director of myThings. Here are some of his insightful comments:
Q. How is display advertising different from traditional search engine marketing?
A. Traditionally, display has been a branding tool that targeted a mass audience with the same message. But that’s a thing of the past. In the last 2-3 years, there’s been a dramatic shift in the space. It’s now a super-targeted, data-driven performance channel. We refer to it as “the new display”. It has already made its mark in sales-driven campaigns powered by what is known as personalized retargeting, and now it’s about to do the same in targeted acquisition campaigns, just like search.
As we all know search works. But it has its limits. First, the reach of display is unparalleled. Tens and even hundreds of millions of sites run banner ads. myThings alone serves over 3 billion impressions per month. Second, there’s no real branding effect in search. Display certainly has. This is becoming even more impactful with bigger ad units, rich media capabilities and online video that allow brands to tell a story.
Both search and new display solutions enable advertisers to acquire new users with targeted advertising that’s based on an expression of intent. However, intent that’s based on keywords is implicit, but in display it’s explicit. For example, if a user searches for the term “Galaxy S3”, is he looking for a manual or does he want to buy the device? myThings’ pretargeting solution can determine that a user has actually browsed a specific product page, making him an in-market consumer. If a user visits a Galaxy S3 product page on a certain website, he has expressed explicit intent to buy it.
Last but not least, display is all about cost effectiveness. Buying keywords is expensive. The new display, powered by advanced automated trading of impressions in real time, offers buyers the ability to decide on the right price for the right user for each and every impression. They can also set unique pricing for each product. That’s really important since not all transactions have equal value for an advertiser.
Q. Can you define the terms “pretargeting” and “visual recognition” as they relate to your display advertising solution?
A. Pretargeting is a unique solution that has been developed by myThings. We’re excited to launch it in the US market. It enables advertisers to acquire new users who had not been to their website and have expressed an explicit intent in a product that they sell. It’s powered by cutting edge visual recognition technology that drives quality, in-market traffic, which basically means qualified leads.
Visual recognition technology in display is where real innovation is taking place. I’ll explain with an example: A user visits a shop comparison or product review site that we partner with and reaches a laptop computer product page. Visual recognition algorithms match between the laptop and our advertiser’s product info, determining if there are identical or similar matches.
How is this done? There’s meta-data and title data, but visual parameters such as size, shape, outline, color and even texture are key. Algorithms can extract what we call a visual fingerprint of the image query. Geometric analysis is performed between images to find if there are similar products as well. The user is then shown a banner with a laptop (similar or identical) offered by our advertiser.
This is completely different from both search and also an existing intent-based display solution called search retargeting, which are based on keywords and therefore provide only implicit intent.
We’ve seen promising results after six months of testing. A 4-5X click-through-rate uplift compared to standard display campaigns and a post-click conversion rate that’s comparable to SEM.
Q. Do you believe exchange-traded display will level the playing field for smaller companies?
A. Running tight budgets as they often do, performance display can certainly benefit smaller companies. With RTB and greater focus on audience-based targeting, they can pinpoint their audience. With effective bid management, they can also granularly control pricing and easily measure their ROI.
Thanks to Michael for taking the time to answer these questions and share the information.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!