4 Ways to Add Premium Ad Buying to Your Campaign Strategies

Back to Blog - by Ariel Howard

As advertisers look for new ways to reach their desired audience, stand out from the competition, and cut through the extremely saturated media environment, they must also consistently keep their brand reputation and safety a priority. Juggling these contrasting tasks is difficult, so finding new and effective strategies to meet these needs and achieve distinct goals is a welcome solution for many brands.

While not a new strategy, advertisers often look to premium ad buys to help alleviate advertising strain. Whether used in isolation or to support open exchange marketplace deals, there are several benefits of premium ads, including:

  • Increased brand safety. Premium ad buys allow you to control exactly which sites your ads will run on. This foresight naturally lends to better placements and less likelihood of an untimely PR crisis.
  • Targeted ad experiences. These ad buys can get your brand in front of a specific demographic, including one that’s unavailable in the open marketplace.

How Premium Ad Placement Buys Work

Buying premium ads happens via private marketplace (PMP) deals. The process is similar to programmatic ad buys in that premium ad buys occur on demand and in real-time. However, purchasing premium ads requires a more exclusive network of buyers and sellers with invite-only access.

Here’s how the buying and selling process works: A publisher opens up premium ad space on its site. For instance, the premium ad space might include hard-to-get above-the-fold ad placements on a homepage. Advertisers who have been invited to bid can bid on placements, and if accepted, the ad is purchased and delivered.

Premium Ad Buys vs. Open Marketplace Deals

Why pay higher prices to run ads? Each brand will have a different reason for choosing premium ad buys. Some companies appreciate being able to have more dependable placements. Others want to protect their brand reputation. One slip-up can be disastrous, such as an ad running next to insensitive, violent, discriminatory, or otherwise brand-unsafe content.

Programmatic media buying is effective in removing these risks with blocklists and privacy censors. But there is always a bit of risk. It isn’t foolproof, and mistakes can still happen.

Private ad exchanges eliminate all potential occurrences of a brand reputation catastrophe. Because advertisers know exactly which list of sites or apps their ads will appear on, they can predict what type of content their advertisements will appear next to. For example, if an advertiser chose to purchase within Expedia’s PMP, the advertiser would know that all ad content would be shown only to consumers looking for hotels, flights, rental cars, etc. With premium ads, there’s no guesswork and little reason to worry.

And while they’re specific, premium ad buys are not limited. Because there is a wide variety of PMPs, you’re not limited by where to purchase premium ads. Say you want to target singles: You could buy premium ad space with Match, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, or other matchmaking sites. Maybe you want to get in front of specific audiences based on their listening habits, generational makeup, or other attributes. Spotify’s PMP can get your audio, video, and display ads to the right eyes and ears.

Getting Results Through Premium Ad Buys

At Digilant, we’ve helped many brands gain momentum through premium ad buys. In one example, an online weather company wanted to target 25- to 54-year-old adults who owned smartphones to encourage engagement with the company’s latest storm-watching app. Instead of a broad advertising buy approach, we recommended a private marketplace deal across premium that took into account contextual strategy, behavioral data, current events, and behavioral targeting.

So where did we recommend placing ads? Because the time frame of this campaign fell during a season of political debates, we concentrated on news-related PMPs. Within two months, the company experienced more than 4,500 app installations and more than 10 million impressions at a cost per impression of $5.18. Additionally, the company was able to gather more insight into the populations that were most likely to download the app.

So how can you implement premium ad buys in your media strategy like the example above? Begin by following these four suggestions:

1. Find a trustworthy digital advertising partner.

By nature, premium ad buys are exclusive. Not every digital advertising partner has access to the same network and variety of premium publishers. Instead, you should choose a partner with established relationships in the PMP world. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they maintain their relationships and whether they have any exclusions or restrictions based on their existing partnerships.

2. Understand premium ad buy pricing and minimums.

Getting your ad on a premium network comes at a price — and the price will start at a minimum. Most PMPs won’t allow you to run only an ad or two. Instead, they’ll require a certain investment across their network. If you feel that premium ad buys will be important to your overall strategy, you need to know all pricing upfront. That way, you can target a particular site without abruptly shifting campaign budgets around at the last minute.

3. Know your audience well.

You need to ensure you get the most bang for your premium ad buck. Media spending will be wasted if your ad isn’t placed in front of a relevant audience. Knowing your audience will help you choose the right digital advertising partner that has relationships with the PMPs you need. Take time to drill down into your target personas. You’ll be glad you did because you’ll have more effective premium ad buys.

4. Plan for seasonal fluctuations.

Most premium ad pricing increases toward the end of the year due to an increased demand for holiday-centric advertising. However, prices can fluctuate at other times depending on the niche category of each PMP. (Consider our previous PMP deal example that was within a news network. During election cycles, the PMP will charge higher prices for ad space.) You want to acknowledge this ahead of time to plan your budget accordingly.

Ready to try premium ad buys as part of your overall strategy? Get in touch with Digilant to learn more about our extensive network of PMP inventory today.

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