If I had a dollar for every time…

Posted by Sarah Melrose On August 27, 2017

For all the technological advancements that have occurred in media over the past 5 years, there is still a question I often get asked by clients when talking about digital media & programmatic trading:

“I’m the target audience. Why don’t I see my ad?”

The rationale behind the question is sound & understandable, as programmatic advocates we continue to push our ability to be:
• Targeted & accurate
• Scalable
• Efficient & Effective
So I want to use this opportunity to personally address this.
Dear Client,
My name is Sarah Melrose & I am a Programmatic Director, I understand that you have some concerns in regards to the effectiveness of programmatic as you are yet to see your ad in-situ. In order to address your concerns, I want to provide specific information into why this might be:
Size & Scale
Let’s look at some true big data by using search as an example. 
We know there are millions of searches per day right, and most people can appreciate how large search is, it’s something we all do multiple times a day after all. Google won’t officially confirm how many queries it processes exactly, but last year it did confirm that it processes ‘trillions’ per year across the world – so we know it’s plural, therefore more than 1 trillion searches are made every year.

The numbers are staggering:

  • ​At least 1.9 million searches per minute (1 trillion queries / 525,600 minutes)
  • Business Insider has it at 2.3 million per minute, which equates to 38,333 per second. 
  • YouTube has people watching 1 billion hours of content per day, that’s 11,574 per second.

Pretty big huh? Not really if you consider the global population is 7.5 billion.

Applying that rational to programmatic trading. Industry experts inform me that on average a DSP in Australia & New Zealand sees 4 billion bid opportunities on one day alone.

( N.B. Bid opportunities are not everything coming in from exchanges, just the impressions that a DSP determines as worth considering for auction e.g. viewable, and is the right user / variable.)
That works out to processing just under 50k of impressions per second. Not as impressive as the numbers above when you look at it in silo.
So we’ve looked at the sheer scale, now let’s discuss how it actually effects the way we bid on it on your behalf:
But what about all those other bid opportunities filtered out then you ask? Amobee (formerly TURN) announced that they saw QPS (Queries Per Second) hit the 3 million mark. And that was 2016, imagine what that number will look like in 2018.
Why should I care about that Sarah?
Because it directly correlates to why you may not be ‘seeing your ad’.
QPS is important for DSPs to be able to determine which inventory to send through to its buyers (me) – for example, if 10 exchanges are sending 1,000 impressions each at any given second and the DSP can only handle 5,000 QPS – that means the other 5,000 impressions lose out automatically.
Consider this.
3 million QPS means programmatic is handling a huge amount of data – 7,726% more per second than Google search to be precise.
That’s just the available inventory. 

Layer on top of that the process of:

  • ​Deciding on the right audience for your business – should we bid?
  • Evaluating the quality of the impression I am spending your marketing dollars on.
  • How much should we bid?
  • How do we beat our competitors to the post?
Imagine going to an open house on a Saturday morning and bidding against everyone else eyeing the same house.
Now times that experience by 3 million, and do it under 1 second.

You can now understand what the scale and depth of programmatic means, and why you might not be the chosen one to see your ad.
Value over Volume
The enormity of real-time bidding, not even counting other forms of digital media, means we have huge scale and opportunity. Scale alone isn’t enough though, and programmatic is key to driving performance over opportunity to be seen.

Sarah Melrose