The butterfly that flapped: the Amazon crash

The butterfly that flapped: the Amazon crash

254 minutes: that’s how long the internet was thrown into chaos. Crashed websites and apps, broken links and images were all strewn across the globe because of one server. In this interconnected world we find ourselves in today, that’s all it takes…a delicate world indeed. 

One butterfly, one server: the Amazon crash

A butterfly flaps its wings and a hurricane slams into a coast on the other side of the world…if a butterfly can do this, surely one of the largest servers in the Amazon Web Services roster can…and boy did the S3 server flap its wings. It sent multiple hurricanes to every corner of the world wide web. 

While we weren’t directly affected, the S3 server hosts 1 percent of the world’s top 1 million sites and the world in which it inhabits is a web after all. Consequently, our publishers and advertisers whose websites and assets were hosted on S3 were. Below is a brief overview of how the Amazon crash affected Adcash.

  • Publisher websites went down, resulting in supply disruption
  • Advertiser landing pages went down, resulting in campaign disruption
  • 3rd-party tracking services went down, resulting in reporting disruption

In short, a lot of things went down. But today’s a new day: the S3 section of the web is repaired and everything in the world wide web is right again. Thank you for hanging tough and keeping a cool head, now let’s get back to what we’re here for: making money. Until the next crash…


Sound off; let the community know how the Amazon cloud meltdown impacted you and add to the discussion!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Adcash Self-Service – One Year of Awesomeness

Adcash Self-Service – One Year of Awesomeness

This time last year we were adding the finishing touches to our Self-Service Advertiser platform prior to release. Now, 12-months later, we’re celebrating this all important milestone by looking back at some of the features that we’ve added.

When we released our Self-Service Advertiser platform, we had some idea of the direction it would head as a product and the kind of user we expected would be interacting with it. But sometimes things can surpass your expectations. And that’s pretty much what happened with Self-Service.

Adcash Self-Service: A brief history.

So, what have we been up to over the last 365 days? What new features have we added to Self-Service? What upgrades have we done? Well, let’s dive right in.

User Interest Targeting

At the beginning, we allowed our advertisers to reach users based on the verticals of the websites where their ads would appear. We called this “Site Category Targeting”. It was good, but we wanted to offer more. User Interest Targeting allows advertisers to harness the power of true behavioural targeting, ushering in a whole new level of capability for our advertisers.

City Targeting

Our location targeting features were added to further enhance the already extensive list of targeting options added to the Adcash Self-Service platform. Although the feature itself is called “City Targeting” it actually allows you to go even further than that, by reaching audiences in specific parts of cities (and towns).

This is all part of giving our customers the capability to build their campaigns around their desired audience. To reach and engage them, wherever they are. Location targeting can be very useful for “bricks and mortar” businesses, looking to promote offers to potential customers near to their store. Similarly, for online business, by using location targeting you can create messages that use location to add relevance (for example, “People in Tallinn are using this now!”).

Cost Per Click Campaigns

Cost per click (or pay per click) ad campaigns were on our wishlist fairly early on in the development cycle for the Adcash Self-Service platform. But, as with the verticals overhaul, there were a few technical challenges that needed to be overcome before we could deliver.

CPC was one of the most consistently requested features to be added to self-service. Different advertisers have different needs and while CPM campaigns can be highly effective for things like brand building campaigns, CPC is usually better when you have a clearly defined sales funnel and a product you want to sell.

Verticals Overhaul

When we first released the Adcash Self-Service platform, the campaign creation process was designed to be as simple and intuitive as possible. However there was one area where we recognized there could be some significant improvements: verticals (or categories to some).

The initial offering didn’t have that many options and they were all displayed on a single level. The challenge for our product team was that updating this list involved some considerable reworking of our ad serving database. But, after many hours and very many coffees, they succeeded.

What this means for our advertisers is that, now, they are able to more accurately select the traffic vertical they want to buy.

Video Advertising

Since 2014 we’ve been looking at the incredibly exciting, engaging possibilities that video advertising and we’ve been building a product and team to make strides in that area. We added video advertising to the Self-Service platform towards the end of the year and have been working closely with our partners, on both the demand and supply side, to make improvements and optimize it more and more.

OS Targeting

Let’s say you’re a marketer for a Windows-only time management application. You want to promote your new application to people you know are going to be able to use it. So, in this case, you would want to specify Windows. Our OS targeting feature actually allows you to go even further than that, by segmenting the different operating systems by version.

So, to continue with the example above, you may have initially released your application with support for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. So, initially you can specify these options. Then, later on you want to promote a Windows 10 version, with creatives saying “Now Available For Windows 10!”. Then select Windows 10 and you’re reaching the right people for your ads.

Zone Blacklisting and Whitelisting

One of the first big features we added to the Self-Service platform was zone blacklisting and whitelisting. This gave Adcash Advertisers the capability to optimize their ad campaigns, by specifying the ad zones they appear in. If they can see that a specific ad zone is not delivering the kind of traffic they want, they can blacklist it. Similarly, if they identify an ad zone that is performing really well, they can whitelist is, meaning their ad will only be displayed in that zone.

The Adcash Self-Service platform is built on cutting-edge digital advertising technology and relies heavily on machine learning to automatically optimize ad campaigns. At the same time, we recognize the importance of giving our advertisers control over where their display or pop-under ads appear. This is why we added zone blacklisting and whitelisting functionality.

Connection Type Targeting

Reaching audiences based on their connection type is one of the many ways Advertisers can get the most from their digital ad spend. Connection type targeting allows you to select from a range of the most common connection types, like Wi-Fi, cellular or even dial-up.

This is particularly useful if you have a landing page that contains lot’s of images or video: an advertiser is unlikely to want their ad shown to people with slower connections if the landing page, say, contains a lot of images or video.

Mobile Carrier Targeting

Mobile advertising is really booming at the moment, surpassing desktop even. So giving advertisers the tools to make the most of this exciting new area is very important to us. By allowing advertisers to target their campaigns based on mobile carriers, they can reach audiences with the most relevant offers.

For example, a media agency working for a mobile network to promote a “new customers” offer may want to exclude people already connected to that network. This way they’re reaching the people who can make use of the offer. By reaching the most relevant audience, they are ensuring that every cent they spend on buying impressions, is spent on the right impressions.

Web Browser Targeting

As the name implies, this feature allows advertisers to reach users of specific web browsers. Sometimes an advertiser may find that their ad campaign (landing pages, pop-unders etc) perform better on one or more browsers, but worse on others. Ensuring that they only target the browser types that they know will play nice with their ad campaign means that their audience will have the desired experience when reaching the page.

Once again, this is about ensuring that the right people see the right ads. If an ad is being shown to people where you know something isn’t going to work or is going to perform unusually, then you should be excluding them from your campaign. This feature allows Advertisers to do exactly that.

Here’s to another 12 months, and beyond!

This last year has absolutely flown by and, while we’re incredibly happy with what we delivered a year ago, where we are now has surprised even us! Thanks to the continuous feedback and cooperation of our partners, on both the supply and demand sides, we’ve been able to build and grow a fantastic product.

So, for everyone who’s been a part of the self-service story: thank you. 

As always, if you have any questions, ideas, thoughts or feedback, let us know in the comments below!

Introducing the new Adcash Background ad format

Introducing the new Adcash Background ad format

Next week, we’re shining the spotlight on our premium background ad format. So what is the Adcash background ad format? What can the background ad format do for advertisers? So, let’s take a look.

What is the Adcash Background ad format?

The background ad format name could be a little misleading: rather than the ad appearing behind the main page content, it is made up of two, separate banners. These banners appear in the “first-fold” of a web page, on either side of the main content.

The Adcash Background ad format: Awesome for Advertisers

The Adcash Background at format offers Advertisers great exposure for a great price. Starting from 0.03 euro per click, Advertisers can make the most of this eye-catching, creative format.

Think about it: rather than having just one banner, appearing on a page, you have two, appearing in the first-fold. This part of the page is traditionally the best placement for your ad to appear, as your audience is guaranteed to see it, as the page is loaded.

On top of that, creative-types can harness the extra area provided by having two banners to make some really eye-catching, engaging ads.

A bit of background…

Here’s a few examples of how you can use the background ad format to take advantage of all the screen real-estate it allows you to use, for maximum impact with your audience.

In this example, both images have a clear call-to-action (read more about the importance of using CTAs in your display ads, here) and the main imagery in the ad is split down the middle. So, when it appears on the page, it gives a creative and visually striking

Here’s another example, again both featuring CTA buttons. This time, rather than splitting the image down the middle, they use two separate images that have a textured fading effect to draw the user’s eye towards the center of the banner.

Creating a Background Ad Format Campaign

In summary it’s just a case of logging in to the Adcash platform, clicking Create campaign, then setting up all the options for your Background ad campaign.

You should also keep in mind that, as this format is made up of two images, you’ll ideally need to upload two images, then setup their position (left or right). You can run a background ad campaign with only one image, it will just appear on both sides of the page.

Creating a Background Ad Format Campaign

In summary it’s just a case of logging in to the Adcash platform, clicking Create campaign, then setting up all the options for your Background ad campaign. The images you upload should be 340 x 770 and no more than 200KB.

You should also keep in mind that, as this format is made up of two images, you’ll ideally need to upload two images, then setup their position (left or right). You can run a background ad campaign with only one image, it will just appear on both sides of the page. Here’s an example of how that would appear:

If you’re ready to create your background ad format campaign, login to your Adcash Advertiser account and click create campaign. If you need any assistance at any time, my team and I are ready to help! You can email us directly, here.

User Interest Targeting: What it is and why it’s awesome

User Interest Targeting: What it is and why it’s awesome

User interest targeting has arrived on the Adcash platform! But what is user interest targeting? How does it differ from contextual targeting? How can user interest targeting benefit advertisers and website publishers?

Well, if you’ve ever asked yourself (or anyone else, for that matter) any of these questions, you’re in the right place. In this article we’ll cover all of these questions, and more. So let’s dive right in!

What Is User Interest Targeting?

Let’s say you’ve created an incredible new kind of cake. You have this cake and now you want to promote and, ultimately sell your cake. But in order to do that, you want to reach the right audience, wherever they are on the web. User interest targeting allows you to do that.

You can use the user interest targeting feature available on the Adcash advertiser platform to select users who have exhibited and interest in food, for example. Then, whenever they visit a site, regardless of the site’s theme, your delicious cake ad will be served to them (pun intended).

Conversely, contextual targeting works by targeting the site’s category itself. So, to continue with our cake analogy (because cake is brilliant) with contextual targeting, your ad will be displayed on cake-related websites, regardless of the users interests.

Now for some techy stuff

So how exactly does it work?…..

The Adcash engine, that sits at the heart of all of our targeting functionality, tracks and aggregates all of the user’s preferences as he browses the web, building up a user interest profile based on the content of the pages they visit..

This data is then combined and analyzed on a per user level and once a pre-defined threshold has been passed, the user will then be classed by the system as being “interested” in that topic.

Because of the vast numbers of users that makes up our total audience, the datasets involved are mind-bogglingly huge, posing some serious challenges for our product, IT and infrastructure teams. But, thanks to some clever big data tools, developed in-house we’ve been able to tap into that massive stream of data and harness its potential like never before.

Contextual Targeting vs User Interest Targeting

OK, so you’ve got the gist of what user interest targeting is, but is it better than contextual targeting? Well, like so many other things in digital marketing; it depends. The effectiveness of one or the other will vary, depending on your audience and what you’re promoting.

The reason we added user interest targeting to our product lineup is simple: choice. It gives advertisers an added element of flexibility, so they can create the type of ad campaign that they know works better.

Good for publishers

User interest targeting isn’t just about delivering better results for our advertisers. It also has a knock-on effect on our publishers, too. Because, when coupled with our hyper-granular targeting capabilities, it means site visitors will see ultra-relevant ads, which means better click-rates, which, ultimately, translates to better earnings.

Not only that, but displaying ads that are relevant to your site’s visitors means they’re more likely to have a positive emotional response to it. And one of the golden rules of online publishing is keep your visitors happy and keep them coming back. User interest targeted ads help you do exactly that.

Using User Interest Targeting

Creating a User Interest campaign using the Adcash platform is breathtakingly simple. You just need to sign into your Adcash advertiser account, click Create Campaign then select User Interest Campaign. From there, you’ll be able to specify the user interests you want to reach from a list, along with all the other advanced targeting features available through the Adcash platform.

If you need a hand creating your campaign, we’ve created a couple of helpful articles to get you up and running:

User Interest Targeting | Adcash Support CenterCreating an ad campaign | Adcash Support Center

If you’re not already an Adcash advertiser, click here to sign up (go on, it only takes a moment!).

CPC or CPM: Which One’s For Me?

CPC or CPM: Which One’s For Me?

When buying online ads, the price you pay for those ads is, usually, based on one of two things: CPC or CPM. But what are they? What’s the difference between them? Which one will be better for you?

CPC – Cost Per Click

The Cost Per Click payment model is, as the name implies, where you pay per click on your ad. It’s generally regarding as a “performance” payment model, because you only pay for direct audience interaction.

What’s it good for? Lead Generation

If you have a clearly defined lead or user acquisition strategy, CPC is likely a better way to go. This is because with CPC some of the “risk” is transferred to the ad network – if users don’t click on your ad, you don’t pay!

CPM – Cost Per Mille

With CPM ads, rather than paying for user interaction, you pay per 1000 ad impressions. Meaning, every time your ad is viewed 1000 times, you pay a set amount.

What’s it good for? Brand Building / Awareness

Keeping your product or brand top of mind with your target audience is another important marketing strategy and to this end, CPM is probably for you. While you can still get people to click on your ads, the emphasis is on reaching more people.

Track Everything

As with anything in digital marketing, tracking the performance of your campaigns is absolutely critical. It doesn’t matter what payment model your campaign is running, whether it’s CPC or CPM. Without this data you’ll be unable to assess your return on investment and therefore whether your campaign is working or not.

This is called “attribution”, and it’s an often overlooked area in digital marketing. But without it, you’re potentially throwing money away. Chances are you already have access to the tools you need to start building a pool of attribution data. Google Analytics is full of useful things for exactly this.

Experiments Are Good!

A little tip: if you’re about to launch a fresh ad campaign, with new creatives, copy and everything, start with CPM. This is a good way of quickly getting data on your ad’s performance, with minimal investment. Once you’ve optimized it and your click through rate has gone up, you can switch over to CPC.

Make That Landing Page Shine

Although this applies to both CPC or CPM, it’s especially key with the former. If you’re running a CPC campaign, making sure your landing pages are on point is key. You’ve paid for your audience to reach this page, don’t burn your budget by driving them away now! Your landing page should echo the ad they’ve clicked on and should contain everything they need to convert, there and then, ideally. There’s even tools and services out there to help you build better landing pages, make use of them!

Which one worked better for you? CPC or CPM? Let us know in the comments!

If you want to know more about CPC or CPM on the Adcash Advertiser platform, we’ve put together these handy Support Center articles for you:

CPC Campaigns by Adcash – Support Center
CPM Campaigns by Adcash – Support Center

6 ways to do more with Adcash self-service

6 ways to do more with Adcash self-service

Top Tips for Adcash Self-Service Advertisers.

Just getting started with Adcash Self-Service platform? Want to know about how to get the most from the tools and options on offer? Read on to find out how…

With targeting, less can mean more

The single most common reason for advertisers, on any platform, seeing lower than expected impressions, is being overly specific in the targeting options they select. By narrowing down your audience too much, you risk not reaching users who could potentially become your customers. If you broaden your criteria a bit, you will almost certainly see that your impression count will grow.

We suggest that, when you first launch your campaign, you keep the targeting options set as broad as possible and then, by analyzing the data you can narrow down your audience to the point where you’re completely satisfied. You may be tempted at first to dive into all the really detailed advanced targeting options right away, but we recommend that you avoid doing this.

Bid more, get more

Like almost anything in this world, you will get what you pay for and CPM bids are no different. When you launch your campaign our system will provide you with a Suggested Bid. By bidding at or above this recommended level, you will greatly improve the potential of your ad campaign.

The figure generated by the system is dynamic and takes into account the targeting options and ad formats you have selected for your campaign. If your bid comes in below the suggested value, you are more likely to see a lower number of impressions.

 

Adcash Self-Service - Suggested Bid Screenshot

 

Right on time

Another thing that you can do to optimize and improve your campaign is by using the scheduling tools that self-service offers. We suggest that you first launch your campaign and set it to run every day of the week. Then, after getting a baseline of data, you can use the self-service reports to see what days your campaign is performing better. For example, if you are advertising a game, you audience may be more active on a weekend.  These things can vary greatly, by region, category and more, so we suggest that you always get a good baseline of data first before digging down into the optimization options. We’ll also be adding the capability to check your hourly campaign performance, allowing you to optimize them even further.

Testing, testing

A/B testing is usually used in reference to testing two different, but similar landing pages to see which one results in more conversions. It can, however, also be applied to your ad campaigns. By creating two nearly identical campaigns (you can do this very quickly by selecting Duplicate from the campaign Actions menu, see below) with a slight variation between the two, you can get clear, actionable information very quickly. If you were targeting mobile users, you could create one campaign to target Android devices and the other iOS devices. Very quickly you will start to see how each is performing and compare them to see which is performing the best.

 

Adcash Self-Service - How to duplicate a campaign

 

Follow the rules

We don’t want your campaigns to fall at the first hurdle, which is why it’s important that you take note of and stick to the campaign validation requirements. Here are a few key pointers:

Adult Content: We do not allow pornographic or adult content. If you submit a creative, landing page or are promoting adult-related content, it will be rejected. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t be happy with your parents or a child seeing it, it will not be approved.

Copyright Infringement: Using another company’s brand logo to promote your own product or campaign is forbidden by our terms and conditions.

Incomplete Landing Page: If you’re using the site under ad format for your campaign, you need to make sure that the page you submit is a complete website. You can use a landing page, with a call-to-action or even send them directly to your site.

Want to know more about our campaign validation requirements? Click here.

The format for success

Adcash is the world leader for pop under traffic (we refer to it as “site under”). It is our best-performing ad format and is a great way of driving traffic and impressions. Display or banner ads are still a good way to advertise online, but right now, our site under format delivers far more than the traditional banner ads do. We use the pop under rather than pop up format because web users tend to find it less intrusive. This means that they are less likely to associate a negative emotion with what it is the ad they are seeing. Also, because of the scale of our pop under traffic, this is where you are most likely to receive the most impressions.

Final thoughts

So, to sum up, the main points that you should keep in mind when using the Adcash self-service platform are:

  • Get a baseline of data before you start optimizing.
  • Try and start your campaigns with as broad targeting options as possible, then narrow it down over time.
  • Take note of the suggested bid value.
  • Test multiple variations of your campaigns.
  • Make sure your campaigns follow the Adcash guidelines.

If you’re still having trouble or if there’s something you think we should add to this article, click here to contact us.

Not already an Adcash advertiser? Sign up for our self-service platform today and get started from as little as $/€100.

(This article can also be found on the Adcash Support Center)

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