How 'engage:BDR' is making a great First Impression

A breakdown of real-time bidding and what it means for online advertising. Photo: PRWeek

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2013 — Nothing is more important than a first impression. No one knows this more than engage:BDR. Founded in 2008, the online media company is bringing a fresh approach to real-time bidding. 

Real-time bidding (RTB) is a new method of selling and buying online display advertising in real time, one ad impression at a time. It runs counter to the previous one-size-fits-all model of media buying. Benefits include better targeted placement, potential cost savings and maximized ROI. Some think of it as the future of online advertising. Others regard it as an alternative that works better in certain cases. 

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First Impression, engage:BDR’s RTB platform, builds on their strengths of nurturing direct relationships with publishers and serving performance advertisers. Vice President of Business, Ed Lee, says “engage:BDR is bringing a different approach to the problem. First Impression is the first real-time bidding platform that allows advertisers to buy inventory directly from publishers in the engage:BDR network, rather than just from ad exchanges. “Most of the RTB companies out there, they come from technology,” he says. “They weren’t networks before they saw a need and built the technology. We’ve been an ad network for four years.” 

Last week’s column explained Google’s recent changes in plain, easy-to-understand language. Too often tech blogs get into complexities before establishing context. RTB is not as complicated but still requires some explanation, or at least context. In online media there are two distinct options, RTB and direct buys. 

Think of direct buys as buying impressions in bulk. It’s the Costco aproach. Options are limited but cost savings can be achieved with specific items, or in this case specific sites. If a company wants to do a page takeover or other custom brand integration it is obviously best to work directly with the brand. In general, the amount of impressions are guaranteed. 

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Though the impressions become a hands-off approach, a lot of hands-on work is required ahead of time to set up and negotiate this kind of campaign. Pricing models have not changed since the banner ad was introduced. A bulk buy delivers various levels of quality from impression to impression. Like any traditional medium, there are much higher barriers to getting started with direct buys. There are sizable minimums and commitments of at least $5-10k in some cases.

RTB levels the playing field. It automates the process and reduces barriers to entry. It empowers advertisers to find their audience and delivers better targeted results. It also allows for adjustments at any time in the process. If a campaign is not working, or could be improved, it can be. It is a speedboat, while direct buys are yachts - with the former allowing for faster results and the ability to change course immediately. This is why many in the industry are excited about the potential of RTB. 

The advantage engage:BDR has, what makes them poised to breakthrough in this space, is their experience as an ad network. Technology is only as good as the brains behind it and how it is targeted. Knowing how to apply RTB technology, how to reach consumers, is simply invaluable. 

President Ted Dhanik says First Impression customers will have access to engage:BDR ad exchange traffic and to inventory outside the company’s ad network: “We buy more like an agency. We buy appropriately for what the campaign demands.” The company goes on to say, “First Impression focuses on the methodology of a performance advertiser, and created a platform that empowers them to easily measure success and grow campaigns quickly and efficiently. By leveraging real time buying, First Impression gives media buyers the full control to maximize the value of an impression.”

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There are still applications for direct buys, companies that will use it. Just like in advertising, their isn’t one platform. Print, television, digital all have their place. RTB is like digital advertising. It’s exciting, growing and has great application and potential. Still, it will take the right minds to open up its potential. Those minds may be engage:BDR. 

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and business leader. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has contributed to Mashable and The Detroit Free Press.

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Jeff Barrett

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and business leader. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has previously written for Mashable and The Detroit Free Press. 



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