Oct 3 2017
Christine Kim

Basis Spotlight: Best Practices for Campaign Optimization


For a media buyer, the digital work doesn't end once a campaign is up and running. The launch is just the beginning, and if you adopt a “set it and forget it" approach, even the best strategies and tactics can translate to wasted money or missed opportunities.

Staying on top of optimizations is crucial to campaign performance, but for many buyers, it can be a struggle. Optimization, at its most basic definition, means to make something as good as possible. But in programmatic it means utilizing data to identify and modify campaigns towards the highest possible performance.

Campaign optimization should be top of mind every time you set up and launch digital campaigns. So, we've rounded up five things to consider before launching your next one:

  1. Define a single KPI. Set clear and specific goals for every campaign you create. For example, if the campaign objective is to drive conversions, then optimize the campaign toward conversions and not the lowest eCPM. The KPI will tell you which metric you need to optimize against.
  2. Identify what can be modified upfront. Depending on the situation and advertiser, certain campaigns may be more restrictive than others. This impacts the amount or frequency of changes you can make. In general, these changes can be categorized into three main buckets:
    • Scope: Changes to geo target, devices, exchanges, ads,
      day and time
    • Audiences: Changes to first or third-party audiences, as
      well as frequency caps
    • Price: Changes
      to CPM bid of the whole campaign or a sub target within it
  3. Don't make too many changes at once and record all the changes you do make. Avoid adding a new exchange, creative, or increasing the bid of your campaign all in one day. Why? If you make too many changes at once, you won't know which optimization made the difference. Have you ever tried so many new hair products at once that you can't figure out which product is making your hair look so fabulous? Bet you didn't think programmatic could be compared to hair products. But, it leads me to my next point …
  4. Measure the impact of every change. Before making an optimization, think about the short-term impact. Do you expect CTR to go up 0.02% by removing an ad? Do you expect overall campaign performance to increase if you remove a placement or domain? Having a measurable and timed goal for each optimization will help you determine if you're making the right decisions for campaigns.
  5. Accrue enough data to make educated and statistically-sound decisions. How can you determine how much data is enough data? That's tricky, because it depends on budgets and flights. A general rule of thumb is 10,000 impressions per tactic. However, this may not be a realistic benchmark if you have a smaller budget. In those cases, we recommend aligning the impression value to the monthly tactical budget. For example, using 1,000 impressions per tactic as a benchmark for a $1,000/month per-tactic campaign.

Post-launch, always revisit live campaigns to apply one – or all – of the above tactics. And keep in mind that as digital media evolves, so too do the tech, tools, and solutions that are available to us. Meaning technology today can sometimes do most of the optimization heavy lifting – for example, algorithmic optimization.

For more information on DSP technology or on Basis, visit our website, reach out to your Centro representative, or email info@centro.net.