A Walk in the Programmatic Park: 10 Steps to Setting Up a Successful Mobile RTB Campaign

With fall being in full blown mode and the trees shedding their colorful leaves, we’d like to take you on a walk in the park: the programmatic park that is. While this may not be as pretty a scenery to admire, the sights are still worthwhile when planning and executing your marketing activities with focus on success! We summed up the ten main steps to go through when planning out and executing a mobile programmatic campaign.

So let’s go for a stroll!

Please note that we took AppLift’s programmatic platform DataLift 360 as an example and that the steps may vary on other platforms.

  • Login / Campaign setup page

1. To create a campaign, start with the beginning and click on “Create new RTB Campaign”.

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2. Information section: Proceed with entering a campaign name and choose the creative type you’d like to add to the campaign. Choose between Image, HTML, Native and Video. Note that only one creative type can be run per campaign. Here is also where you choose the run time – set to your time zone – and dayparting if required. Selecting which time of the day and which day of the week to focus your efforts on in order to follow usage patterns can pay off, especially on mobile. Advertisers can identify user behavior in order to serve them the impression at the time they are the most keen to click and download the app. For instance, for most app install campaigns, day-parting is key, as users are more likely to be active on their devices during daytime rather than at night, so it is best to only target these active hours.

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3. Creatives section: Next, you can get to the creative upload screen, where you can add all the creatives associated with the campaign. You also get to enter a click and an image URL. To make the most of programmatic campaigns, it is advised that advertisers have a range of various creative sizes, types and designs that can target and reach the right audience. It is also highly recommended to refresh creatives at least once a month, as with user fatigue user performance tends to decline with time.

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4. Targeting section: You can then get to select various targeting options for your campaign, which range from region or postcode to lat/long targeting for the geo targeting capabilities. Targeting can furthermore be set at exchange level, on traffic type, network type, OS version, device type and manufacturer. There are also socio-demographic targeting criteria such as gender, age, etc. and psychographic targeting criteria such as hobbies and interests to choose from, as well as publisher categories. Blacklisting and whitelisting functionalities are also available, where you can upload .csv files of app IDs / bundle IDs to be blacklisted, or alternately add those IDs manually. Finding the right audience is critical in optimizing the performance of programmatic campaigns as it can avoid advertisers wasting undesired impressions and can be done through the use of first-, second-, and third-party data.

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5. Last but not least, the Budget section. Here, a budget cap can be configured. An additional feature is the Optimization section where bid optimization, placement diversity, auto exclusion, bid pacing and frequency capping can be defined.

6. Bid optimization is an option which uses automatic optimization models (CPM, CPC) to predict the best bid value for every request eligible for your campaign, to achieve your campaign’s goals.

7. Placement diversity is used to ensure that in case of a well-performing placement, the whole campaign won’t be run on that inventory. Placement diversity can be set to a certain percentage – the recommended default depends on factors such as the app and campaign volume – and is usually set to between 5 and 20% by default. It’s basically a maximum of percentage of daily budget to be spent on a given app.

8. Auto exclusion automatically blacklists apps which have not achieved $x eCPI after a minimum spend of $y on this inventory.

9. Bid pacing is used to distribute the budget of the campaign across the hours of a day so that the advertiser does not end up spending his budget immediately at the start of the day.

10. Frequency capping refers to a capping of the number of impressions per day which a user sees from a given campaign: X impressions/user/campaign/ y days, or X clicks/user/campaign/ y days. Frequency capping is crucial in ensuring that there is no user fatigue. For a brand new ad campaign with freshly-designed creatives and broad targeting, frequency capping can be low, as the vast majority of users are seeing the ads for the first time. As the campaign matures, the frequency cap should be gradually increased. For a retargeting campaign, advertisers should also account for user fatigue right from the beginning of the campaign as users already know the advertised app or product.

Summing it up

For advertisers, RTB is a great way to optimize their campaigns and realizing its potential on mobile can help in maximizing ROIs, while allowing them to monitor, as well as track the performance of their campaign. There are many different strategies to setting up RTB campaigns, but the above steps are typical of setting up and starting this type of campaign. The key to getting the most out of RTB campaigns depends on having a clear understanding of the end goals of the campaign and how it should be targeted and optimized.