Interview: PlusROI’s Rob Cooper Offers RTB Advertising Insights

Rob Cooper PlusROI marketingRob Cooper is the founder of PlusROI Online Marketing Inc, a performance-driven web marketing agency. The company was founded in 2007. Prior to that Cooper had worked since 2001 in downloadable software and tech marketing.

“A point of pride is that in the first software company I worked at I was the first and only marketer to ever be included in the sales team’s bonus program due to the measurable results I helped achieve (although this sometimes made me less than popular on the marketing team),” says Cooper.

PlusROI was recently selected to take part in an “elite” Adwords partner program launched in Canada with Google.

What are the advantages of investing in RTB and programmatic advertising?

Fundamentally, it’s all about lower cost per desired action, if you can leverage it effectively.

It will sound funny, but I sometimes get confused by the hype around RTB and programmatic when used as buzzwords.

I sometimes get confused by the hype around RTB and programmatic when used as buzzwords.

I had a funny meeting with a traditional agency account manager last year who proudly trumpeted they had started running “programmatic” campaigns for clients.

I’m embarrassed to say that I had to go look up the term “programmatic.” I discovered that when people talk about “programmatic,” they’re more or less talking about the tactics and tools that performance marketers have been using for years and years.

I discovered that when people talk about “programmatic,” they’re more or less talking about the tactics and tools that performance marketers have been using for years and years.

Technology has certainly improved from what the Google Display Network originally offered.

That said, before 2010 we were already using demographic and RTB methods to gain CPMs on national sites that were typically only 10-15% of the cost of direct buys.

Even at that time, this translated into 500% or better ROI measured on a CPA basis (enough TLAs for you?).

What are some challenges with RTB? For example, fraud and attribution are two issues being talked about right now.

Fraud and attribution are both challenges, but from my perspective they are actually less of an issue than ever.

I know fraud is a huge topic right now, but it’s always been there and from what I can see, the reputable networks are doing a better job than ever of suppressing it.

As well, as a marketer who measures “success” through CPA, fraud is almost irrelevant. I’m not going to lose sleep worrying whether a certain network has a 30% fraud rate. For us, if a network delivers great CPAs we’ll use them. If not, we’ll drop them!

I’m not going to lose sleep worrying whether a certain network has a 30% fraud rate. For us, if a network delivers great CPAs we’ll use them. If not, we’ll drop them!

For attribution, we’ve gotten good at working with clients to help them understand the challenges and our most progressive clients also factor in the “missing” data when they calculate their ROI.

Also, while it’s far from perfect, the fact that Google Analytics now shows Assisted Conversions and Attribution reporting has made it easier to substantiate the value of our ad spend when it’s not the “last click” in the process.

While it’s far from perfect, the fact that Google Analytics now shows Assisted Conversions and Attribution reporting has made it easier to substantiate the value of our ad spend when it’s not the “last click” in the process.

Of course, attribution is easier with fairly straightforward conversions. If you’re marketing something with longer sales cycles or a sophisticated sales process, you’re basically screwed in terms of showing attribution.

Also, regardless of the challenges of fraud and attribution, the biggest challenge is that many, many advertisers don’t take enough time to understand their customers and customer triggers.

Many, many advertisers don’t take enough time to understand their customers and customer triggers. This is the single biggest reason why campaigns do not generate ROI.

This is the single biggest reason why campaigns do not generate ROI. Closely related, conversion experiences that have big holes in them are typically a bigger challenge for companies than fraud and attribution.

What advice do you have for publishers and agencies wanting to get a better understanding of RTB and mobile advertising?

Just do it! No amount of research and reflection can beat simply running some modest campaigns and learning how to optimize them.

I see folks getting caught up in all the buzzwords and concepts, when simply learning how to use the targeting tools and then applying common sense to launch some tests will quickly get you some real world experience and knowledge.

What are some trends for mobile advertising over the next 12 months? What excites you the most?

I’m at a point where I think I take the technology for granted. I don’t see any earth shattering advertising technology shifts coming in the next year that will affect our clients.

We are now at a tipping point for ecommerce on mobile.

That said, we are now at a tipping point for ecommerce on mobile. A year or so ago, folks were doing a bit of comparison shopping on the mobile but not making purchases. This changed in a remarkably short period of time and is only accelerating.

I see a big opportunity for our clients and our company in being quick to get really good at ecommerce advertising and conversion on the mobile.

The speed with which mobile ecommerce has become “real” means that the level of competition is not quite as high as on the desktop.

The speed with which mobile ecommerce has become “real” means that the level of competition is not quite as high as on the desktop.

This creates a great opportunity to get out front in mobile ecommerce advertising and stay there.

Rob Cooper frequently blogs about online advertising and performance marketing at PlusROI.com.

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