ad exchanges or what is Ballueder up to?

Ok, this post is not the opinion of my company mexad but an article I wanted to write for a while. Many people, including my mum, ask me what I am actually doing all day? What is your company doing, and what is the landscape like? Are you still in digital marketing? So this article really is for my mum, so she understands what I am doing all day 🙂

I worked in search marketing before, and PPC (pay per click) is synchronized bid management on keywords across multiple search engines like Google or Bing. Most people have understood that by now.

advertising landscape
advertising landscape
Now, I moved into display advertising or display optimisation in January, launching a company called mexad in the UK. What mexad or other Display Engine Marketing (DEM) agencies do, is providing a service (mainly) to media planning and buying agencies to access inventory on ad exchanges and optimise display media. We have our own technology that sits across ad exchanges and yield optimisers alike that effectively, similar to PPC, allows synchronized bid management across multiple ad exchange platforms – just that we don’t bid on keywords but on placements.

Ad Exchanges and Yield Optimisers, e.g. Right Media, Doubleclick ad exchange, Rubicon, Appnexus, Admeld and so on, are like a stock market where bidders like mexad bid on inventory and sellers, e.g. websites or publishers, offer their inventory (space for an ad). It is a market place where both sellers and buyers meet in real time. Depending on your target audience, cookies, audience data etc., you decide (or your bidding engine does it for you) whether or not to bid for any given impression and of course how much you want to bid. That is what people would call ad exchange optimisation.

Similar to search engine marketing, we can optimise towards targets, the main one being “CPA” – cost per action. That could be a newsletter sign up, a sales, or any action you want to measure. And, we only buy – in real time – inventory (space) on the ad exchanges that actually work towards the campaign objectives.

Mum, was that clear? We are like a stockbroker that decides how much we pay for any share and whether that share makes a difference for our clients’ business outcome. Just with a small difference that we are not limited to how many shares are available. There are billions of impressions to go around.

How do we differ to ad networks? Maybe mum should stop reading now 😉

Networks traditionally have their own inventory, e.g. they need to fill space. They also work on a fixed price, that could be CPM (cost per 1000 impressions), CPA (cost per action), or CPC (cost per click).

Display Engine Marketing agencies like mexad buy across the exchanges on a CPM basis but pass on the price savings, e.g. working on a lower, dynamic CPM. We also offer different matrix, depending on campaign set up but cannot guarantee leads for example. This is because we are a service provider, not owning inventory and work with a much lower margin than networks. Additionally, mexad then optimises towards the best possible outcome for your campaign, and in case it doesn’t work, you can stop the campaign and don’t have to continue running the campaign. Similar again to PPC.

We can buy blind or fully transparent, again all that depends on what our clients want.

What are DSPs?

I might not be the best person to ask as mexad isn’t a DSP (demand side platform). A DSP, at least in my opinion, is a technology similar to the one mexad has in house but you can use it yourself. You might want to compare it to a search marketing bidding tool. However, there are dangers of using a “blackbox technology” across ad exchanges at this current market place which is still very young. The current market place is new, and only if you have experience and knowledge about each individual technology and exchange, you can make ad exchange optimisation work well. Mike Nolet, co-founder of Appnexus, writes that in one of his blog articles, that the current marketplace needs the human factor to achieve the best possible performance across multiple bidding platforms.

More coverage of our area can be found on Ad and

Of course, mum or anyone reading this, if you have further quesitons, please let me know. I love optimizing 🙂