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New Report: Quantifying The Cost Of Ad Fraud View Now

Ad Delivery


What is Ad Delivery?

Ad delivery refers to the process for serving your ads to target audiences across a variety of channels including websites, social media platforms, email, and more. This process is made to ensure that your ads are not served aimlessly, but are strategically placed – taking into account your objectives, the target audience’s preferences, and the contextual relevance of the ad.

Ad Delivery methods

How your ads are served is usually determined by the platform you choose to place your advertising (e.g. Google Ads or Meta Ads), but here are the main ways your ads are normally served regardless of platform:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC): PPC is a common model where you pay only when your ads are clicked. Ads are targeted based on user searches, audience targeting, content relevance, or some combination of these. This method is useful to control budget and outcomes vs. other models discussed below.

Impression-Based Advertising: This strategy involves paying for a set number of impressions and is usually best for reach, visibility, and brand exposure across targeted demographic and psychographic segments. The most common method of is cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM).

Programmatic Advertising: With this model, you use automated systems for buying and placement of your ads. Usually known as real-time bidding or RTB, these platforms use AI and real-time data to serve ads that reach the target audience (based on your criteria) at the moment most likely to generate engagement.

Paid Placement: Some large publishers (think news sites or major blogs) still allow you to buy paid placement for specific timeframes like a day, week, or month. You pay a flat rate, and are paying for your ads to serve to any visitors for that set time period. Most publishers will provide benchmark numbers, so you can calculate the equivalent CPM or CPC.

Ad Delivery options and settings

The method you choose for ad delivery is only part of the equation. You must also consider options and settings to determine who, where, and how often you’d like to serve. A few common options you should consider are

  • Demographic Targeting: Focuses on users’ demographic information, such as age, gender, and income, for tailored advertising.
  • Setting Frequency Caps: Limits the number of times an ad is shown to the same user, and can prevent ad fatigue. Example: capping frequency at 2x daily and 5x monthly
  • Geo-Targeting: Delivers ads to users based on their geographic location, enhancing relevance for local and regional campaigns.
  • Standard and Accelerated: Some ad networks, such as TikTok, allow you to choose between the “standard” or “accelerated” delivery types. Standard spends your ad budget throughout the day, while Accelerated spends it as fast as possible based on your targeting criteria.

Best practices to optimize Ad Delivery

As you’ve seen, there are many components to deliver an ad to potential customers. You have to choose a delivery method and determine what settings to use. Here are some best practices to improve the user’s journey, and ultimately ad performance.

Consider User Experience: Prioritize ad formats that complement rather than disrupt the user experience, using native ads or non-intrusive banners that blend seamlessly with content. No one likes ads that are annoying and intrusive, and it could negatively affect your brand perception.

Test Multi-Channel Strategies: Expand your ad delivery to include multiple platforms and devices. You may find that one channel works well to drive volume, while another drives lower cost (but high quality) customers. Also, consider if your ad matches the style of that channel. While you want consistent messaging and branding across user touchpoints, you may need to adjust the same creative slightly for different channels.

Focus on Creative Quality: Speaking of creative, it makes sense to invest in high-quality, engaging ad creatives that capture attention and convey the brand message effectively. It’s hard to test the efficacy of your ad campaigns if your creatives are not engaging.

Navigating Ad Delivery challenges

Serving ads is not without its challenges. Here are a few challenges you may encounter, and what you can do to successfully overcome them.

Expanding Privacy Regulations: Increasing data privacy regulations require you as an advertiser to stay current with these rules. You may need to adapt your strategy, and focus on consent-based marketing and privacy-compliant targeting methods.

Ad Blockers: It’s common for a proportion of your users to use ad blocking software to filter your ads from being shown. This software reduces reach and limits your ability to reach customers.

Viewability Issues: Ad viewability is an important metric in digital marketing, as it measures whether your ad was actually visible to a user. It may have shown up on the page as an impression, but determining if it was viewable is key to understanding the performance of your ads.

Technical Constraints: Issues such as slow loading times and compatibility across devices can limit the effectiveness of your ads or your ability to serve ads at all. If performance varies a lot across devices or ad sizes, you may need to make adjustments due to these constraints.

Ad Saturation: It can be challenging to stand out in a crowded ad space. Focus on strong creatives and strategic placement to capture user interest.

Ad Fraud: In a recent study by Juniper Research, 22% of all online ad spend was lost to fraud in 2023. As an advertiser, using click fraud prevention tools like Fraud Blocker can help you reduce fraud and improve performance fo your ad campaigns.

Frequently asked questions

How do algorithms determine the best audience for an ad?

Algorithms, like the ones used in real-time bidding, analyze a multitude of factors including user behavior, content interactions, and predictive engagement to dynamically target ads towards the most receptive audience. In simple terms – it tries to serve your ad to the right person at the right time.

How can I address the challenge of ad blockers?

It isn’t likely that people will stop using ad blockers anytime soon. To lessen the impact of ad blockers, focus on delivering high-quality, value-driven content. You can also test alternative ad models and channels, such as sponsored content or influencer partnerships.

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