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Multi-platform strategy a must for best programmatic ROI, suggests study

Tim Maytom

The optimal programmatic media buying strategy requires multiple partners, with multi-vendor supply path optimisation resulting in tenfold improvements in key areas, according to a new study by ad tech provider Visto.

With an estimated 80 per cent of digital ad placements now purchased via programmatic exchanges, advertisers looking to get the best performance while not over-complicating their ad tech stack are looking for every advantage they can get.

Visto's study attempted to quantify price, performance and quaity variations across formats, buying platforms and methods, even when targeting the same publishers and using the same tactics, just through different partners. Leveraging the multi-platform optimisation (MPO) tool from its Enterprise Ad Hub, the company compared campaigns that were run through four industry-leading execution platforms accessing premium inventory on 50 publisher properties in 10 top metro areas.

The test evaluated both video and display impressions, with uniform bids by format distributed across desktop, mobile and video screens. Assessing the performance in real-time, Visto observed broad performance and quality variations for the same KPI even on the same publisher sites. Furthermore, no single platform delivered the best results in every scenario, highlighting the need for a diverse vendor supply path.

Differentials between the highet and lower performers for different KPIs included a tenfold improvement in cost per completed view on Weather.com, a six times difference in viewable CPM for ads served on The Guardian, and a $250,000 (£188,600) higher CPM cost for 100m ad impressions on AOL.

"We created the Visto Hub and MPO tool in order to help marketers, agencies and media companies find the best path to performance, and through this test, we can see without a doubt that the ability to evaluate and transact centrally across multiple platforms will drive better return on advertising spend," said Kerry Bianchi, president and CEO of Visto. "Those who elect to use just one DSP, SSP or exchange partner will unfortunately find one size does not fit all."

According to Pathmatics, the average advertiser in April 2018 used 4.2 demand-side partners for their programmatic buying, a figure that doesn't include additional programmatic technologies like ad servers, verification and research tools or non-DSP channels like Facebook and Google Adwords.

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