According to the guide, ad exchanges signal a fundamental shift for advertisers in buying exposure to specific audiences, rather than media space, paying the value of each individual impression served. Demand-side platforms allow advertisers to manage multiple ad exchanges, and it simply wouldnt be possible to manage the volume of data manually without automated bidding technologies. It is only by using technology that performance campaigns can be scaled up or down: in the time it takes a consumer to request a web page or type a search term, their request is analysed, bid for at the appropriate level based on that analysis, and a relevant ad served. The ability to automate this process marks a fundamental shift in advertising: ads based on specific user data, rather than broad demographics, and paid for by their performance.
Perhaps the most significant technology innovation is that of predictive modelling, developed by Efficient Frontier, that allows advertisers to predict, with high accuracy what the most effective campaign components will be (such as the highest-performing keywords or ads); the outcome of a campaign; and return on investment, which lets advertisers choose their optimal return versus spend levels. Budgets and desired ROI can be pre-set, with no unpleasant surprises in store.
The guide also examines innovation in performance marketing such as location-based searches or contextual advertising; and social media, emerging as a key driver in the sector and still offering a highly targeted, but relatively low cost option to advertisers. It lists some of the key trends that will shape the future of performance marketing, including:
- Integration of search and display
The increasing importance of Facebook
Cross-platform campaigns and location-based targeting
Move away from banners to performance ads
The importance of attribution analysis, and understanding the route a customer takes from first search to sale
Better performing landing sites, to allow the brand site to perform at the best level
Increased transparency, led by Googles insistence that ad partners reveal the cost of campaigns to clients – a welcome move