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The Most Engaged YouTube Fans For NCAA Basketball Teams

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The Most Engaged YouTube Fans For NCAA Basketball Teams

Imagine that you head up digital marketing at Turner Sports or CBS Sports, which have the exclusive rights to license NCAA marks, tickets, and taglines in commercial promotions.

Or suppose that your social video agency was just invited to pitch AT&T, Capital One, or Coca-Cola, which are official NCAA corporate champions.

And you have an assignment to identify the most engaged YouTube fans for the NCAA Division 1 Men’s and Women’s basketball teams.

I realize that you probably don’t work at one of those sports media and entertainment companies and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be asked to pitch one of those brands in the foreseeable future.

So, why should you care about what makes engaged NCAA fans on YouTube?

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Keep reading, there is method in the madness.

Cognitive, Emotional, And Behavioral Metrics

As mentioned previously, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has identified 30 metrics – 7 cognitive, 4 emotional, and 19 behavioral – that brands or agencies can use to measure the “engagement continuum.”

Image from IAB, March 2024

But fan engagement can fluctuate depending on whether a college basketball team is on the bubble, makes it to the Big Dance, or goes deep into the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, and Final Four.

Fan engagement can also vary depending on the number of logo 3s, buzzer beaters, or overtime wins.

That’s why this hypothetical assignment is so hard.

Nevertheless, exploring various video engagement metrics from several video intelligence sources can help you better understand the most engaged YouTube fans for NCAA basketball teams and how to apply what you’ve learned to your brands or clients.

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Here are three cognitive metrics that you should explore when measuring engagement:

  • Change in Brand Awareness/Familiarity: You can use surveys to measure the extent your brand is recognized by potential customers before and after this year’s NCAA tournaments.
  • Change in Brand Consideration: You can also use pre- and post-March Madness surveys to measure your brand’s inclusion in a set customers would select from.
  • Change in Purchase Intent: You can also use Brand Lift surveys to measure the delta in customers’ plans or willingness to purchase your brand in the future.

Here are three emotional metrics that you should look at using to measure engagement:

  • Change in Baseline Brand Perception: Surveys enable you to measure the pre-post delta in what potential customers think and feel about your brand.
  • Change in Baseline Brand Favorability: Surveys also enable you to measure what potential customers like and value about your brand before and after the Big Dance.
  • Change in Baseline Brand Loyalty: Surveys enable you to measure customer loyalty in terms of weight and frequency of usage – as well as likelihood to switch – from Selection Sunday, March 17, to the women’s NCAA championship game on Sunday, April 7, and the men’s NCAA championship game on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Here are six behavioral metrics worth exploring to measure engagement:

  • Watch Time: The total amount of time viewers spend watching a video, including any replays or rewatches, should be a key metric. Since it’s only available if you have access to your brand or client’s YouTube Analytics, digital marketers and social video agencies use “views” as a metric to compare videos across other YouTube channels.
  • Applause Rate: The number of likes a YouTube video gets.
  • Amplification Rate: The number of shares a YouTube video gets.
  • Conversation Rate: The number of comments a YouTube video gets.
  • Engaged-View Conversions (EVCs): In Google Analytics 4 (GA4), an engaged-view conversion (EVC) indicates that someone watched a YouTube video for at least 10 seconds and then converted on your website or app within 3 days of viewing the video.
  • Economic Value: This is the monetary value of visitors from YouTube to your site who go on to complete micro conversions like subscribing to a newsletter or initiating a chat with your business, as well as macro conversions like purchasing a product or registering for a service.

In addition, here are some of the video intelligence sources you should evaluate:

  • Official Team and Conference Channels: Many NCAA Division 1 teams and major conferences, like the ACC, Big 10, and SEC, have their own YouTube channels. These channels feature highlights, interviews, and behind-the-scenes content. Comparing their metrics can provide you with insights.
  • Media and NCAA Basketball Channels: YouTube channels like CBS Sports and March Madness upload video content about various college basketball teams, allowing you to compare fan engagement based on comments and viewership.
  • Third-Party Tools: Tubular Labs, a social video intelligence company that provides data on social video audiences, and Pixability, a company that helps brands monitor their YouTube and CTV campaigns, can provide deeper insights into engagement, but they require paid subscriptions.

For this article, I contacted Matt Duffy, the company’s CMO, and Sean Alie, the head of its insights team, to see if they had any critical data or strategic insights worth sharing.

They did – and it appears below.

There are four sections: men’s team views, women’s team views, year-over-year (YoY) data for men’s and women’s teams + men’s vs. women’s teams, and lastly, views by popular players (such as Caitlin Clark, the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference).

Here’s what the men’s NCAA basketball views look like.

They are filtered to sports videos only, and each video includes the keywords “*team name*,” “basketball,” and “men” somewhere in the metadata.

The timeline is February only.

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Men’s Basketball

Houston, the #1 ranked team, earned 7.5% more views than the next leading team, Kansas (21M vs 19.6M). Kansas did rank first in engagements, though, earning 13% more engagements than Houston (442K vs 391K).

Duke ranked 3rd in views (16M) and engagements (389K). One thing to note is Houston is the #1 ranked team and the most viewed team on YouTube.

However, Kansas was ranked 14th and Duke 9th, yet they were able to rank 2nd and 3rd in views. This is a testament to the brand awareness these programs hold.

Men's basketball engagement dataImage from Pixability, March 2024

Women’s Basketball

This data uses the same methodology as the men’s data except with “women” as a keyword instead of “men.”

Iowa, home of star Caitlin Clark, earned 51% more views than the next leading program, LSU (12.4M vs 8.2M). This makes sense as Angel Reece plays for LSU and is widely considered the second most popular player in women’s college basketball, after Caitlin.

The individual stars may influence views for women’s programs more than the team’s fan base. Iowa earned 9.5% more engagements than LSU (178.5K vs 162.9K). Indiana ranked 3rd in views, followed by UConn.

Women's basketball engagement dataImage from Pixability, March 2024

Men’s Vs. Women’s Teams And YoY Stats

  • The top 16 men’s teams earned a combined 130.8M views in February 2024, which is 157% more than the top 16 women’s teams have earned (50.8M). Men’s teams earned 247% more engagements (2.4M) than women’s teams (690K).
  • YoY, the top 16 ranked men’s teams earned 61% more views this year compared to the top 16 ranked teams last year in February (130.8M vs 81.2M).
  • YoY, the top 16 ranked women’s teams earned 147% more views this year compared to the top 16 ranked teams last year in February (50.8M vs 20.5M). This means that views for women’s college basketball are growing faster than the men’s. A large part of this was due to the rise of Caitlin Clark.

Views By Popular Basketball Players

The stats below are based on players participating in the tournament: Caitlin Clark earned 17.5M player mention views in February, which is more than any other player in the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Caitlin earned 10.6x more views in February than the highest male player (Kyle Filipowski) views polled in February (17.5M vs 1.6M).

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The second most viewed player was also a woman, Angel Reese, who plays for the LSU Tigers in the Southeastern Conference. Angel earned 3.9x more views than Kyle Filipowski, who plays for the Duke Blue Devils in the Atlantic Coast Conference (6.4M vs 1.6M).

The rivalry between these two women stars has fueled incredible engagement on YouTube.

Again, men’s teams are more popular than women’s teams, but at the individual level, women players are outperforming men by a large margin.

Although the USC Trojans of the Pac-12 Conference won’t make the tournament this year, LeBron Raymone “Bronny” James earned 32M views, which is 87% higher than Caitlin Clark’s views.

This is still incredibly impressive for Caitlin as she is putting up numbers that compete with someone as well-known as Bronny James.

Engagement Data for PlayersImage from Pixability, March 2024

Of course, you could figure out who are the most engaged YouTube fans for NCAA basketball teams without using third-party tools.

But that might take so much time that you’d miss some of the games that make March Madness worth watching and create highlights worth sharing on YouTube.

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Hey, you make the call.

How Marketers Can Use Insights Into The Most Engaged Fans

So, how can digital marketers use these insights about NCAA basketball’s most engaged fans?

Well, I can think of three key ways to apply what we’ve just learned.

First, as I mentioned in “39 Emotions Digital Marketers Can Use In Advertising,” people share videos that elicit “high-arousal” or intense emotions twice as much as ones that elicit “low-arousal” or moderate emotions. And March Madness elicits several intense emotions.

For example, the Big Dance triggers nostalgia, a sentimental longing or wistful affection for some past period or irrecoverable condition. How do you make use of this insight?

Watch Continental Tire’s “Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, and the Smart Choice!” Basketball legends Grant Hill and Christian Laettner of Duke not only tell us about the importance of making smart choices but also remind us of “The Shot” during the 1992 NCAA tournament.

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During a game between East Region #1 seed Duke and #2 seed Kentucky in the East Regional Final to determine a spot in the Final Four, defending national champion Duke trailed 103–102 with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime.

That’s when Hill threw a pass three-quarters of the length of the court to Laettner, who faked right, dribbled once, turned, and hit a jumper as time expired for the 104–103 win. In 2004, Sports Illustrated called it the greatest college basketball game of all time.

Second, college athletes can now make money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). So, brands like State Farm Insurance can now feature players like Caitlin Clark in YouTube videos like “Shoot! (feat. Caitlin Clark, Jimmy Butler, Reggie Miller) :30 | State Farm Commercial.”

It’s worth noting that State Farm uploaded this video on Nov. 21, 2023, almost three months before Clark broke “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s NCAA Division I scoring record on Feb. 15, 2024. Kudos to the brand and their agency for being ahead of the curve.

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Third, the line between creators and their audiences is blurring.

At last year’s Brandcast, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan told advertisers, “The universe of ‘creators’ is growing every day as more people make videos on their phones.

This limitless access means the world of creation is changing. Fans used to engage with a like or subscribe. But now, you can see a trend and easily jump in with your own video.”

For an example, check out “Meet the New Face of March Madness – Robbie Avila #collegebasketball #indianastate #sports #funny.” BenchwarmerBran, the online alias of Brandon Carney, a sports content creator who makes jokes about teams, players, and fantasy leagues, uploaded this video on March 7, 2024. And it currently has 405,000 views and 63,500 engagements.

If you use Tubular Intelligence, then you will see that 1,536 accounts in the U.S. uploaded 3,208 videos about “March Madness” to YouTube in the last 90 days.

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And influencers uploaded 2,359 of these videos (73.5%), while media and entertainment companies uploaded 602 (18.8%), and brands uploaded only 224 (7.0%).

Now, these 3,208 YouTube videos about March Madness got a total of 11.6 million views and 455,000 engagements.

So, targeting affinity segments, people who already have a strong interest in relevant topics, may be a much smarter option than targeting placements, specific YouTube channels or websites and apps on the Google Display Network.

How SEO Pros Can Use This Information, Too

So, how could an SEO specialist use this information to make actionable decisions?

Well, I’m sad to say that some won’t.

Why? As Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) said in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn”,

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“He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.”

In other words, some intelligent SEO specialists think their job is to work with text, not videos. And they also think that the content that their optimizing is to help people make rational decisions, not emotional ones.

But YouTube videos have been appearing in Google’s search results since May 2007. And as I mentioned in “Customer Personas Can Transform SEO, PPC and Content Marketing,” Google has talked about emotions driving search intent since May 2019.

As Justin De Graaf, Head of Ads Research and Insights at Google, observed back then,

“The truth is, decision-making is not a rational process, but one driven mainly by how people feel. The rational brain layers on reasons for our choices only after they’re made.”

So, if SEO specialists continue to focus on optimizing text to help people make rational decisions, then their pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.

Now, they may continue to be somewhat successful, especially if they can answer “yes” when asked: “After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?”

But, as Google has said,

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“The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.”

So, SEO specialists who can’t create (and optimize) video content that tells a good story and makes a visitor feel something emotionally may struggle to provide a satisfying experience.

In conclusion, this is why it’s worth dreaming about getting a starring role in a Cinderella story.

I realize that you probably won’t get a job at one of those media and entertainment companies and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be asked to pitch one of those brands in the foreseeable future.

But, if and when your opportunity presents itself, then you will be ready to take your best shot at the buzzer.

More resources:


Featured Image: adriaticfoto/Shutterstock

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What Is Programmatic Advertising? How Does It Work?

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What Is Programmatic Advertising? How Does It Work?

Programmatic advertising has been a buzzword in the marketing industry for quite some time. But what does programmatic actually do? And how does it differ from traditional display marketing?

Programmatic advertising is a perfect realm where precision meets automation, and where your ads reach their perfect audience – almost as if by magic.

Gone are the days of casting wide audience nets and hoping for the best returns. In a digitally dynamic world, programmatic stands out as a blend of efficiency and effectiveness.

Ready to learn more? Read on to learn everything you need to know to be successful and harness the power of programmatic advertising.

What Is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising uses automated technology and algorithmic tools for media buying. The term programmatic relates to the process of how ads are bought and sold in the advertising space.

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Programmatic advertising differs from more traditional media buying methods in its use of automation.

It analyzes many user signals to ensure that ads serve the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Essentially, it automates the decision-making process of ad placement – without having to manually negotiate prices or placements like other platforms.

This means your ads aren’t just thrown out into the digital void of the internet, hoping your audience will notice.

Instead, they’re strategically positioned when and where they’ll make the most impact.

Think of programmatic as the umbrella in this category, where different types of programmatic buying are categorized beneath it.

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Read more: 7 Power Benefits Of Using PPC Advertising

What’s The Difference Between Programmatic And Display Ads?

It’s easy to confuse display and programmatic ads, especially with the strides that Google has made in its automated and real-time bidding capabilities.

The largest difference between programmatic and display is:

  • Programmatic refers to how ads are bought.
  • Display refers to the format in which ads appear.

Display ads are typically colorful banners, videos, or other interactive media that catch your attention on websites and apps.

Programmatic advertising, on the other hand, is considered the “behind-the-scenes” expert. It’s the technology-driven process behind the ads that decides which display ads you see, based on a whole host of factors such as:

  • Interests.
  • Behaviors.
  • Demographics.
  • Time of day.
  • And more.

The second biggest difference between display and programmatic is the ability to buy ads across platforms.

Display ads are more commonly referred to when placing ads within one specific ad network, such as the Google Display Network. Programmatic advertising, on the other hand, takes display media to the next level.

Multiple platforms exist for programmatic, such as sell-side platforms (SSPs) and demand-side platforms (DSPs), allowing advertisers to buy ad inventory across an open network of platforms.

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With both programmatic and display, advertisers typically have control over the following:

  • Audience.
  • Bidding strategy.
  • Budget.
  • Creative and assets.
  • Placements.

Read more: How To Develop Your PPC Strategy

Programmatic Advertising Platforms

Automated technology has made significant strides throughout the years.

In the early days, programmatic platforms offered basic automation and targeting capabilities using simple data points.

As the digital landscape grew, so did the complexity and capabilities of these platforms.

These days, programmatic platforms are mostly powered by advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

To go even further, there are many types of programmatic platforms available today.

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The three main types of platforms are:

  • Sell-side platform. Also known as a “supply-side platform,” this platform allows publishers to sell their ad impressions to advertisers in real-time. This platform encompasses both DSPs and ad exchanges. They’re equipped with technology that allows publishers to set minimum prices for their inventory, choose which ads appear on their site, and block ads from certain advertisers – if needed.
  • Demand-side platform. This platform allows advertisers to purchase ad inventory across multiple platforms at once. This is where most advertisers fit into this landscape. DSPs enable advertisers to manage their ad inventory bidding and target specific audiences using sophisticated data sources.
  • Ad exchanges. This is how SSPs flow their ad inventory to DSPs. DSPs connect to an ad exchanger, where ad prices fluctuate based on the competitiveness of that inventory. Think of the ad exchange as the neutral ground where transactions between SSPs and DSPs occur.

Understanding the key differences between SSPs, DSPs, and ad exchanges is crucial for navigating the programmatic landscape.

To familiarize yourself with the different platform types, let’s take a look at some of the major players in each category.

Sell-Side Platforms

A comprehensive list of SSPs for publishers includes:

  • Google Ad Manager.
  • Amazon Publisher Services.
  • OpenX.
  • SpotX.
  • Sovrn.
  • TripleLift.
  • PubMatic.
  • Adform.
  • Xandr (Microsoft).
  • Index Exchange.
  • Magnite.
  • Media.net.
  • Sharethrough.
  • StackAdapt.

If you’re looking for a video SSP, some of the leading companies include:

  • SpotX.
  • Teads.
  • SpringServe.
  • Verizon Media.

While there are many more available to publishers, these are companies you may have heard of but might not have associated with programmatic technology.

Demand-Side Platforms

If you’re a media buyer, this list is for you.

Like SSPs, these company names may ring a bell and offer DSPs.

Some of the top DSPs include:

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  • Display & Video 360 (Google).
  • The Trade Desk.
  • Amazon Advertising.
  • MediaMath.
  • Xandr.
  • LiveRamp.
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud.
  • StackAdapt.
  • PubMatic.
  • Quantcast.
  • AdRoll.
  • Simpli.fi.
  • RhythmOne.
  • Criteo.
  • DemandBase.

Some of the larger DSPs for Connected TV and video include:

  • Display & Video 360 (Google)
  • OneView (Roku).
  • MediaMath.

Again, there are many more DSPs available to advertisers. It’s important to choose a DSP with the features and inventory you are looking for.

Some DSPs offer self-serve advertising, while others offer both self-serve and full-managed service (likely to larger advertisers or agencies).

Ad Exchanges

Some of the more well-known ad exchanges available to publishers include:

  • Xandr (Microsoft).
  • Verizon Media.
  • OpenX.
  • PubMatic.
  • Google Ad Exchange.
  • Index Exchange.
  • Magnite.
  • Smaato.
  • AdRoll.
  • InMobi.
  • Amazon.

Remember: not all ad exchanges are equal.

It’s important for publishers to research options carefully and choose platforms that align with their goals.

Read more: The 8 Best PPC Ad Networks

How Much Does Programmatic Advertising Cost?

Simply put, programmatic advertising can cost as little or as much as your budget allows.

It’s a common misconception that small businesses can’t benefit from programmatic technologies – but we’re here to correct that.

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Programmatic ads are typically bought on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis. This means advertisers pay a set amount for every 1,000 impressions their ad receives.

CPMs typically range between $0.50 and $2.00; however, premium inventory can be upwards of $50 and more.

These prices are based on factors such as:

  • Which DSP you chose.
  • Your target audience and specificity.
  • Ad inventory quality.
  • Ad format.
  • Bidding strategy.
  • The level of competitiveness and demand.

A good rule of thumb for programmatic ad cost: the more niche your audience, the higher CPM you will pay.

So, whether you’re a multi-million dollar advertiser or a small business just getting started, you can likely fit programmatic into your advertising budget.

What Are The Benefits Of Programmatic Advertising?

There are many benefits to incorporating programmatic advertising into your marketing strategy.

Some of the top benefits include:

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  • Large-scale audience reach.
  • Efficient and low-cost awareness.
  • Real-time data and analysis.
  • Ability to utilize first-party data.
  • Opportunities for cross-device campaign strategies.

Large-Scale Audience Reach

Arguably the biggest benefit of programmatic advertising is the ability to grow and scale.

Programmatic is the best way to buy ad inventory to reach the masses due to the abundance of cross-platform inventory.

Advertisers can also quickly adjust their audience strategies to capitalize on what is or isn’t working, ensuring their ads are always optimized.

Not only is it easier to scale your audience, but you can do so much more efficiently thanks to more precise factors like weather or time of day, coupled with real-time bidding.

Efficient And Low-Cost Awareness

Related to the above benefit of scaling reach, programmatic is one of the most cost-effective types of advertising that exists today.

Earlier, we discussed average CPMs for programmatic averaging between $0.50-$2.00.

Even with a small budget, your marketing dollars can go a long way toward reaching your target audience and increasing awareness of your product or service.

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You can then take that audience further by setting up retargeting campaigns to guide users down their purchase journey, increasing incremental purchases and leads.

Real-Time Data And Analysis

Because programmatic platforms rely on real-time bidding, advertisers reap the benefit of receiving near real-time data.

Why does this matter?

Real-time data allows for faster decisions and pivots. It also puts you in a proactive rather than reactive mode.

Bids and strategies can be adjusted in real time based on immediate performance or even market conditions, which maximizes the chances of their ads being seen at the right time.

Utilizing First-Party Data

Another benefit of programmatic advertising is the type of data segments available to advertisers.

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For example, advertisers can upload owned first-party data in a secure way and target those people directly using real-time bidding signals.

This avenue opens the door to finding new customers similar to current ones.

Cross-Device Campaign Strategy

It’s important to note that programmatic advertising is typically seen as an awareness tactic.

Because of this, companies that look solely at last-click success often overlook the true potential of programmatic advertising.

So, how does programmatic fit into a cross-device campaign?

The key is to capture that initial awareness to users through programmatic ads.

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That initial awareness touchpoint can be run across multiple channels and formats like:

  • Display.
  • Video.
  • Mobile.
  • Social media.
  • Out-of-home.

Likely, a user won’t purchase a product or service after the first interaction with a brand.

Once a user’s interest is peaked, you have the ability to remarket to them on other platforms based on their interaction or engagement with that initial ad.

Marrying that data together from the first interaction to the eventual purchase is key to determining the success of your programmatic strategy.

Types Of Programmatic Advertising

There are different types of programmatic advertising.

These should not be confused with the programmatic platforms themselves.

The types of programmatic advertising are simply how an advertiser purchases ad inventory.

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The four most common types are:

  • Real-time bidding. This type of bidding is open to all advertisers and most common form, where ad auctions happen in real time. This is also known as the “open marketplace.” Because it’s an open marketplace, it is naturally a highly competitive and dynamic space.
  • Private marketplace. Also known as PMPs, this bidding happens when publishers have invite-only agreements with a limited number of advertisers. These websites typically offer premium pricing because of the coveted ad space. There’s usually limited scale compared to RTB since inventory is restricted to that particular marketplace.
  • Preferred deals. Also known as “Spot Buying” or “Non-Guaranteed Premium,” this is a lesser-known type of programmatic advertising. Advertisers choose ad spots before they go on the private or open market. If the advertiser chooses not to buy the inventory, it can then be offered in a PMP or via RTB.
  • Programmatic guaranteed. Similar to a preferred deal, but there is no auction bidding. The publisher and advertiser have a direct agreement on a fixed price for ad inventory. It guarantees the advertiser a certain amount of inventory and guarantees the publisher revenue for that inventory.

Read more: What’s The Best PPC Bidding Strategy?

Programmatic Advertising Examples

Programmatic ads come in all shapes and sizes.

The beauty of using programmatic ads is tailoring the content to your chosen target audience.

A few well-executed programmatic campaigns include:

Amanda Foundation

The Amanda Foundation is a non-profit animal hospital and shelter rescue in the Los Angeles area.

It created a campaign to help at-risk shelter animals find a home during their final days.

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Specifically, it leveraged programmatic signals like location, demographics, and browsing behavior to tailor specific animal images to its audience.

If users were interested in large dogs, they would be served a banner ad with large dogs instead of smaller dogs.

As you can see, messages and images were tailored to the individual’s behavior and interests.

Image from Amanda Foundation, August 2022

Geico Insurance

You’ve most likely seen or heard some version of a Geico ad.

Have you ever thought about the different ads Geico targets for you, though?

Geico uses such ad formats as TV commercials, website banner ads, social media ads, and more to create a true cross-platform awareness campaign.

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The brand carefully chooses its content based on the platform it serves on, the target audience and demographics, and more.

Its commercials are so popular, in fact, that Geico has dedicated a resource page on its website where users can view their favorite commercials.

Progressive Insurance

While we’re on the topic of insurance, it would be remiss not to talk about Progressive’s use of programmatic ad targeting.

If you’re considered a Millennial or Gen Xer, you probably know what I mean.

Progressive created a series of commercials around the portrayal of young homeowners becoming like their parents.

As a homeowner myself, I’ve caught these commercials in the wild on my smart TV and within streaming services like Hulu.

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Even further, their advanced targeting capabilities have caught my attention as I’m watching home shows like HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.”

Like Geico, Progressive hosts a dedicated page on its website of the famous character, Dr. Rick, and his videos on how to “un-become your parents.”

Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth is a leader in the fine jewelry space, with both physical locations and a strong online presence.

They’ve done a great job targeting different messages based on who was viewing items on their site.

In the example below, I visited their website and browsed different products.

A while later, I was served a subtle ad with an accompanying subtle message of “Drop a Hint.”

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The brand had identified that I had been browsing rings but understands, based on user signals, that I may not be the one purchasing this item.

Its messaging based on these advanced signals is a great example of sending the right message to the right user at the right time.

Brilliant Earth programmatic ad example.Screenshot taken by author, March 2024

Programmatic Can Ensure That Advertising Budget Is Spent Wisely

The basics and benefits of programmatic advertising can help guide your existing programmatic strategy, or if you’re just getting started, create a new strategy that incorporates programmatic.

The evolution of programmatic platforms, with their sophisticated algorithms and data-driven strategies, has empowered advertisers to deliver their messages to the right people, in the right context, and with precision that was once only dreamed of.

The precision of programmatic advertising, married with efficiency and scalability, ensures that advertising dollars are being spent wisely, maximizing return on investment and driving meaningful engagement.

Understanding the functionality and features of each platform will be a critical component of your programmatic success.

More resources: 

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YouTube’s ‘Affiliate Hub’ Offers A New Way For Channels To Make Money

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YouTube's 'Affiliate Hub' Offers A New Way For Channels To Make Money

As YouTube continues its push into ecommerce, it’s launching an ‘Affiliate Hub’ to make it easier for channels to earn affiliate marketing income.

The Affiliate Hub, integrated into the YouTube app, is a central place to browse top affiliate partners, commission rates, promotional offers, and even request product samples.

It’s one of several new shopping features YouTube has launched, targeting the lucrative creator economy.

Other updates include:

  • Shopping Collections that allow creators to curate their own product galleries.
  • The ability for all creators (not just affiliates) to bulk tag products across their video libraries.
  • Integration with e-commerce platform Fourthwall to manage storefronts within YouTube Studio.

The updates come amid a growth period for YouTube Shopping.

In 2023, viewers reportedly watched over 30 billion hours of shopping-related videos, representing a 25% increase in watch time year over year.

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Here’s more about YouTube’s new shopping updates.

YouTube Affiliate Hub

For affiliate marketers considering YouTube, today’s update makes it more appealing and creator-friendly.

“Who doesn’t love a good deal?” said Aditya Dhanrajani, YouTube’s Director of Product Management for Shopping. “The Affiliate Hub is making it easier for Shopping creators to find the information to start planning their next shoppable video.”

For YouTube creators building an affiliate marketing business, the Hub streamlines a fragmented process of dealing with different brands across separate platforms and sources.

Now, creators can view all the latest affiliate brand opportunities, exclusive promo codes to share with their audience, and commission payouts in one place.

“Our creators understand the incredible opportunity for affiliate earnings on YouTube,” said Dhanrajani. “With an integrated Affiliate Hub providing partnership opportunities, promo deals, and seamless product tagging, there’s never been a better time to build an affiliate business on our platform.”

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Other New Shopping Features

Shopping Collections

YouTube highlights another key feature in this update: Shopping Collections, which allows channels to curate products from their favorite brands or their own merchandise lines.

Creators can now group products into themed collections, making it easier for viewers to discover and purchase related items.

Collections will appear in a channel’s product list, Store tab, and video descriptions. The feature is initially launching on the Studio app for mobile, with plans to expand to desktop soon.

Expanded Product Tagging

Last year, YouTube introduced the ability for affiliate shopping creators to tag products across multiple videos simultaneously based on items listed in the video descriptions.

This feature is now being expanded to all Shopping creators, allowing them to tag their products and merchandise across their entire video library. This update could help creators earn more revenue from older, high-traffic content.

Integration With Fourthwall

YouTube is integrating Fourthwall, an e-commerce platform, into its list of supported shopping platforms.

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This integration will enable creators to create and manage their storefronts directly within YouTube Studio, streamlining the process of setting up and maintaining an online store.

“We know that people come to YouTube every day to connect with the things and creators they love,” Dhanrajani stated. “We hope these new YouTube Shopping features make that journey even easier for creators and viewers.”

In Summary

As the spring shopping season kicks off, these updates enhance YouTube’s ecommerce capabilities and provide creators with more opportunities to monetize their content.

View YouTube’s announcement below:

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Google Gemini Availability In Android Search

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Google Gemini AI in Android Search

A student and researcher who leaks hidden Android features discovered a setting deep within the Android root files that enables Google Gemini directly from Google search in a way that resembles Apple iOS, raising questions about why that’s in there and if it could be connected to a general rollout of AI in search rumored to be happening in May 2024.

Gemini: What SEO Could Be Up Against

There are only rumors that some form of AI search will be rolled out. But if Google rolls out Gemini access as a standard feature then the following gives an idea of what the search community would have to look forward to.

Gemini is Google’s most powerful AI model that contains advanced training, technology and features that in many ways go far beyond existing models.

For example, Gemini is the first AI model to be natively trained to be multimodal. Multimodal means that ability to work with images, text, video and audio and pull knowledge from each of the different forms of media. All previous AI models were trained to be multimodal with separate components and then the separate parts were joined together. According to Google the old way of training for multimodality didn’t work well for complex reasoning tasks. Gemini however is pre-trained with multimodality which enables it to have complex reasoning abilities that exceed those of all previous models.

Another example of the advanced capabilities of Gemini is the unprecedented scale of the context window. A context window is the amount of data a language model can consider simultaneously in order to make a decision. The context window is one measure of how powerful the language model is. Context windows is measured in “tokens” which represent the smallest unit of information.

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Comparison Of Context Windows

  • ChatGPT has a maximum context window of 32k
  • GPT-4 Turbo has a context window of 128k
  • Gemini 1.5 pro has a context window of one million tokens.

To put that context window into perspective, Gemini’s context window allows it to process the entire text of the three Lord of the Rings books or ten hours of videos and ask it any question about it. In comparison, OpenAI’s best context window of 128k is able to consider the 198 page Robinson Crusoe book or approximately 1600 tweets.

Internal Google research has shown that their advanced technologies enables context windows as high as 10 million tokens.

Leaked Functionality Resembles iOS Implementation

What was discovered is that Android contains a way to access the Gemini AI directly from the search bar in the Google App in the same way as it’s available in Apple mobile devices.

The official directions for the Apple device mirror the functionality that the researcher discovered hidden in Android.

This is how the iOS Gemini access is described:

“On iPhones, you can chat with Gemini in the Google app. With a tap of the Gemini tab , unlock a whole new way to learn, create images and get help while you’re on the go. Interact with it through text, voice, images, and your camera to get help in new ways.”

The researcher who leaked the Gemini functionality in Google search discovered it hidden within Android. Enabling this function caused a toggle to appear in the Google search bar that makes it easy for users to swipe to directly access Gemini AI functionality exactly the same way as in iOS.

Enabling this functionlity requires rooting an Android phone, which means accessing the operating system at the most fundamental level of files.

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According to the person who leaked the information, one of the requirements for the toggle is that Gemini should already be enabled as the mobile assistant. An app called GMS Flags must also be installed in order to obtain the ability to toggle Google app features on and off.

The requirements are:

“Required things –

Rooted devices running Android 12+

Google App latest beta version from Play Store or Apkmirror

GMS Flags app installed with root permission granted. (GitHub)

Gemini should be available for you already in your Google app.”

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Screenshot Of New Search Toggle

A screenshot highlighting the ‘toggle’ button in a user interface with a red arrow pointing towards it, with a google search bar visible in the background and a snippet of a finance-related application at the bottom.

Screenshot Of Gemini Activated In Google Search

1712620568 708 Google Gemini Availability In Android Search

The person who uncovered this functionality tweeted:

“Google app for Android to soon get toggle to switch between Gemini and Search [just like on iOS]”

Google Set To Announce Official Rollout Of SGE?

There have been rumors that Google is set to announce the official rollout of Google Search Generative Experience at the May 2024 I/O conference where Google regularly announces new features coming to search (among other announcements).

Eli Schwartz recently posted on LinkedIn about the rumored SGE rollout:

“That date did not come from Google PR; however, as of last week, that is the current planned launch date internally. Of course, the timeline could still change, given that it’s still 53 days away. Throughout the last year, multiple launch dates have been missed.

…Also, it’s important to elaborate on what exactly “launch” means.

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Right now, the only way to see SGE, unless you’re in the beta experiment, is if you’re opted into the labs.

Launching means that they’ll show SGE to people who have not opted in, but the scale of that could vary widely.”

It’s unknown if this hidden toggle is a place marker for a future version of the Google search app or if it’s something that enables the rollout of SGE at a future data.

However this hidden toggle does offer a possible clue for those who are curious about how Google may roll out an AI-based front end to search and if this toggle is a connector in some way to that function.

Read how to root to enable Gemini in Android search:

How to enable the material bottom navigation search bar and Gemini toggle in Google Discover on Android [ROOT]

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OpenAI context window list

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Mojahid Mottakin



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