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How Sell-Side Frequency Capping Tools Help Curb Repeat Ads

Talia Comorau

July 27, 2022 | 4 min read

By: Talia Comorau, Senior Director, Product Management at Magnite

Ad delivery abides by the Goldilocks principle. Overexposure degrades the user experience and wastes ad budgets. But underexposure fails to achieve brand objectives. Marketers need to find a sweet spot that’s “just right.” 

Ad serving tools such as frequency capping are vital in driving campaign outcomes. Imagine a diaper brand has done the market research to find that their target audience should see an ad two to five times a week to keep their label top of mind. Beyond that, impressions are wasted or might even have a negative impact. In a perfect world, frequency capping tools would allow the brand never to show an ad to any new parent more than five times a week across all sellers. This would help prevent repeat ads, optimize budgets and improve the viewer experience.

The rub is that identity fragmentation across Display, Online Video (OLV) and CTV makes it difficult for brands to effectively communicate parameters (such as ad frequency) across the supply chain. 

Here’s how the sell-side is uniquely positioned to help brands curb ad quality issues such as repeat ads and improve ad delivery.

1. Sell-side frequency capping supports user privacy while enabling lower ad frequency. 

The critical ingredient for managing overly repetitive messaging is user identification. The system deciding whether a user has seen this ad enough times must understand who the user is and how many other times they’ve seen the ad — ideally across publishers, channels and platforms.

In today’s identity space (with fewer and fewer third-party cookies and device identifiers), the publisher is increasingly the owner of the relationship with the content viewer and the only one who can understand who a given user is. This is especially true in CTV and OTT, where many CTV publishers request tools that protect consumer data and obscure or even hide identifiers going out to DSPs, leaving DSPs with little information about a given user. 

By leveraging frequency capping in the SSP, buyers can lower ad frequency even across publishers wishing to protect their user data from being used outside their chosen sell-side partners.

2. The sell-side’s relationships with sellers produce increased visibility into identity. 

Even when buyers find sellers willing to share user identification information more freely, they are hard-pressed to see the whole picture via their buy-side tech. The SSP’s tight relationship with their publishers results in the most accurate user identifiers in every request.

More specifically, SSPs achieve better audience resolution because they are only one or two “hops” away from the publisher (vs buy-side tech that is an extra hop away). Sell-side tech also sees all requests (including those excluded by DSPs because of QPS limits and other restrictions), netting out greater insight into user IDs and campaign reach.

3. The sell-side must control frequency for Programmatic Guaranteed deals.

Repetitive messaging is especially difficult to manage on the buy-side when working with programmatic guaranteed (PG) deals. PG deals are deals where the buyer and seller have agreed to a certain amount of spend and inventory, respectively, and the buyer sets their DSP up to bid for every request the SSP sends them.  

Since the DSP is expected to bid on every PG request, the SSP must determine whether a given request qualifies for the frequency-capped deal. The SSP has a native understanding of the viewer (based on user identification data passed from the seller), and the SSP determines whether a given person has already seen this ad enough times (or not) before sending the request for an ad on to the DSP.

In this way, the buyer can hold to their part of the PG agreement (bidding on every bid request) and ensure that their ads are seen the right number of times by each person viewing them.

With more users ingesting media across platforms, addressing fragmentation to improve ad experiences has never been more critical. To optimize campaigns, buyers can be proactive by talking to their SSP about frequency capping and other identity-related ad delivery criteria. By reaching audiences across touchpoints in a controlled, planned way, brands can drive efficient impact and ROI.

Tags: Seller

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