Digital Display Advertising For Medicare Marketers

Chapter 5 of “Medicare Marketing in Our Digital World”

Digital Display is a wide term for a category that includes banner advertisements, promoted or sponsored advertisements including those on social media, native advertisements, video, rich media and sponsorships for all devices. Unlike strictly text based ads, display advertising relies on images, audio and video to engage the audience and convey the advertising message.

Revolutionizing the way digital display ads are managed.

There are many vendors whose products and services have completely transformed the management of digital display ads..  When looking at the Display Lumascape above, you may find that some of the category topics are unfamiliar.  Let’s take a closer look at what goes into implementing digital display advertising.

Agency Trading Desks and Programmatic media buying

ATDs or Agency Trading Desks manage the bidding of programmatic digital display media through a system that is customized to execute the digital display strategies of a specific client or group of clients of a specific agency.  Programmatic automates the ad buying and selling process through the use of software and technology at a speed and scale that makes it more efficient and effective. Programmatic Ad Buying (also known as RTB Real Time Buying) helps marketers take advantage of unsold or “remnant” digital inventory. When ad serving sites have unsold inventory, programmatic rates are offered at considerable discounts compared to the site’s direct rates.

And programmatic offers advertisers the ability to incorporate large amounts of data, to serve users with ads that are more likely to be relevant on psychographic, demographic, behavioral and intent levels. Accuen is Omnicom Media Group’s Agency Trading Desk within a programmatic agency, operating the industry’s first open and flexible platform for programmatic media buying for the world’s leading marketers. Accuen delivers market-leading solutions across channels, transforming data into competitive media advantage.

Dynamic Creative Optimization DCO or Dynamic Creative Optimization allows marketers to test and optimize banners or other digital display ads based on real-time feedback from multi-variate testing. Multi-variate testing tests a hypothesis in which multiple variables are modified. The goal is to determine which combination of variations performs the best out of all of the possible combinations. The data is analyzed in real-time through an algorithm and results are interpreted simultaneously to serve the right banner via real time data dependent on a searcher’s intent.

Retargeting This definition of retargeting is from “Retargeting is a cookie-based technology that uses simple a Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the Web.

Here’s how it works: you place a small, unobtrusive piece of code on your website (this code is sometimes referred to as a pixel). The code, or pixel, is inconspicuous to your site visitors and won’t affect your site’s performance. Every time a new visitor comes to your site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie. Later, when your cookied visitors browse the Web, the cookie will let your retargeting provider know when to serve ads, ensuring that your ads are served to only to people who have previously visited your site.

Retargeting is so effective because it focuses your advertising spend on people who are already familiar with your brand and have recently demonstrated interest. That’s why most marketers who use it see a higher ROI than from most other digital channels.”

Filling out the eye chart of the Digital Display Lumascape are the following: DSP is an acronym for Demand Side Platform which is software used to purchase advertising with a platform that allows buyers/advertisers to buy the inventory from various ad exchanges and data exchange accounts through one interface which is RTB or Real Time Bidding.  A Supply-side or Sell-side Platform (SSP) is a technology platform which enables the publishers to manage their ad impression inventory and maximize revenue from digital media

Exchanges are ad exchanges, which is a “market” for ad buying and placement, as are Ad Networks which come in various iterations and flavors such as Vertical/Custom, Targeted Networks/AMPS (Audience Management Platforms which is a vendor that offers both DSP and DMP, Data Management Platform), Performance enhancing software, Mobile specific platforms, ad servers and then a multitude of vendors that work to supply measurement and analytics, verification and privacy, retargeting, testing and optimization and media management systems and operational systems.

Medicare marketers will usually rely on their agency partners to manage these aspects of their programs, as the technical nature and knowledge needed to staff marketing operations to facilitate all that is associated with best practice digital display marketing and advertising prohibits Medicare marketing organizations from building their own in-house digital display marketing teams.

According to EMarketer: “In 2016, digital display ad spending will eclipse search ad spending in the US for the first time. Combined, the categories of video, sponsorships, rich media and “banners and other” will account for the largest share of digital ad spending: 47.9%, worth $32.17 billion.”

This monumental shift from search to display is not reflected in the current usage that I’ve observed by Medicare marketing organizations. Some organizations are “getting their toes wet” in the digital display water, and some haven’t provided themselves with adequate dedicated digital display budget to be effective.  Others have completely stayed away from digital display putting all their eggs in the search basket for digital advertising investment.

What does the term “Programmatic” mean as it relates to Display Advertising?

By definition, Programmatic ad buying refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to contracting inventory from a specific site over a specific time period which has enabled marketers using Programmatic ad buying to buy digital ads more efficiently and effectively.

According to eMarketer, U.S. programmatic digital display ad spending grew 137.1% to $10 Billion in 2014, which represents 45% of the U.S. digital display ad market.  And a recent article in Advertising Age noted that “Programmatic buying is on track to make up $14.88 billion of the approximately $58.6 billion digital advertising pie this year, a nearly $5 billion leap from 2014, when it accounted for $9.9 billion.”

Why does it matter to Medicare marketers?

Programmatic Ad Buying provides marketers with the ability to grow, scale, gain media efficiency, enjoy wide targeting capabilities and deliver ads with cross platform (device) accessibility.

“A demand-side platform (DSP) is a system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface” states Wikipedia, and this access to thousands of sites on which we can serve ad impressions provides us with the ability to be extremely efficient, effective while increasing our digital display targeting capabilities with virtually limitless scalability.

Programmatic Ad Buying (also known as RTB Real Time Buying) is an automated way to take advantage of unsold or “remnant” digital inventory. When ad serving sites have unsold inventory, programmatic rates are offered at considerable discounts compared to the site’s direct rates.

As with search, digital display ads bought through programmatic means, can be targeted nearly every which way from Sunday.

  • Retargeting
  • Look-a-Like Targeting
  • Behavioral or Psychographic Targeting
  • Contextual Targeting
  • Demographic Targeting
  • Brand Keywords
  • Targeted Non-Brand Keywords
  • Conquesting
  • Targeted Ad Copy
  • Targeted Devices
  • Behavioral Targeting
  • Targeted Day-Parting
  • Retargeting (Remarketing)
  • Geo Targeting
  • Geo Fencing
  • Platform (Device)

Banners Banners are the most common form of digital display advertising and come in a variety of flavors and sizes.  The Marketing Tech Blog provides this comprehensive listing of popular banner sizes:

Top Performing Ad Sizes on Google

  • Leaderboard – 728 pixels wide by 90 pixels tall
  • Half-Page – 300 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall
  • Inline Rectangle – 300 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall
  • Large Rectangle – 336 pixels wide by 280 pixels tall
  • Large Mobile Banner – 320 pixels wide by 100 pixels tall


Other Supported Ad Sizes on Google

  • Mobile Leaderboard – 320 pixels wide by 50 pixels tall
  • Banner – 468 pixels wide by 60 pixels tall
  • Half Banner – 234 pixels wide by 60 pixels tall
  • Skyscraper – 120 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall
  • Vertical Banner – 120 pixels wide by 240 pixels tall
  • Wide Skyscraper – 160 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall
  • Portrait – 300 pixels wide by 1050 pixels tall
  • Large Leaderboard – 970 pixels wide by 90 pixels tall
  • Billboard – 970 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall
  • Square – 250 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall
  • Small Square – 200 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall
  • Small Rectangle – 180 pixels wide by 150 pixels tall
  • Button – 125 pixels wide by 125 pixels tall

See the entire list of banner sizes from The Marketing Tech Blog here.

Rich Media Digital Display As Google so aptly defines it “Rich media is a digital advertising term for an ad that includes advanced features like video, audio, or other elements that encourage viewers to interact and engage with the content.”  While text ads sell with words, and display ads sell with pictures, rich media ads offer more ways to involve an audience with an ad. The ad can expand, float, etc. You can access aggregated metrics on your audience’s behavior, including number of expansions, multiple exits, and video completions to get granular data on the success of your campaign. If you have a simple objective to generate clicks or a more ambitious goal to create brand awareness, rich media is the format to go with.

There are various types of Rich Media digital display ads available to Medicare marketers and you will find wonderful examples of these different types at Google’s Rich Media Gallery here.

  • Animated Ads are now mostly implemented in animated gifs or HTML5, as Flash is nearing extinction as Google has announced that “from January 2, 2017 ads in the Flash format will not run on across Google Display Network and DoubleClick.”
  • Expanding Ads that begin as banner size can expand to large sizes and may include a video display.
  • Sidebar Ads are displayed usually in the columns to the left or right of the content.
  • Mouse over Ads either pop up or expand when the user mouses over words or the entire ad.
  • Background Ads replace the background image and provide a large clickable area for users to hit as the background of the web page.
  • Click-Through Ads bring the user to a new page (usually a landing page) where the user will be served a video or an additional ad, then they will need to click through to view the content.
  • Reveal Ads block the content on the web page and when the viewer has viewed the ad or video, the content.
  • Video Ads autoplay with or without sound on a page.
  • Slide-In Ads slide in from the left, right, top or bottom.
  • Exit-Intent Ads are pop-up ads activated by mouse-movement predictions to determine when a person has the intent to leave a page. 
  • Pop-Up Ads can be designed to deploy as soon as you arrive at, or attempt to leave a web page.

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