Efficient Frontier Ties Search to Display with DSP Launch

As the display advertising space continues to innovate with the advent of ad exchanges, real-time bidding, and third-party data providers, companies in the space are now looking to integrate search data to help inform display ad activity.

Today, search marketing firm Efficient Frontier officially launched a display ad platform fusing real-time bidding functionality with search campaign management, data and reporting. The company hopes the integration of the two channels into a single platform will help inform smarter ad buys, as well as address issues of attribution overlap.

Meanwhile, existing demand-side platforms (DSPs) are also integrating search data from third parties. Firms including Invite Media, MediaMath and DataXu recently struck partnerships with search retargeting firm Magnetic to grant advertisers access to search data directly through the platforms.

At launch, display inventory will be available from ad exchanges including Google’s AdEx and Yahoo’s Right Media Exchange, and will provide the ability to integrate data from third parties for targeting purposes.

“[The product] provides access to display campaign performance data in the same dashboard as search, but it also offers cross-channel conversion attribution insights that can be used to influence optimization of both search and display. It’s becoming increasingly important for marketers to understand where to attribute value,” said Justin Merickel, Efficient Frontier’s VP of marketing and new product development.

The platform has been in beta since November, with clients including The Motley Fool, and agency Downstream Marketing involved in testing. Justin Hind, COO of Downstream suggested the Efficient Frontier brand could help drive adoption of the platform, given its existing client-base in the search arena.

Although the platform can integrate data from a range of sources, real-time inventory supply is currently limited to that from Google’s AdEx exchange. According to Merickel, Yahoo is not yet offering real-time bidding, but is expected to roll it out in the next few months. He said the company is also in discussions with Microsoft regarding access to real-time inventory across its network, and would look to integrate other exchanges further down the line.

Merickel said that the emergence of real-time technology in the display space would likely continue to have a negative effect on display networks. “There’s pressure on ad networks because of the margins and arbitrage, and the lack of transparency. Clients want transparency, and now the technology can provide that,” he said.

He added the company had been looking at entering the display space for a while, but stated, “It was critical to have a way to interact with the systems in an automated fashion. We’re not an agency; we don’t want to do things manually. With the emergence of exchanges, we’ve been presented with an opportunity.”

Existing clients in the search space currently include major brands such as Capital One, Ask, Match.com, and a number of European retailers including Marks & Spencer and The Carphone Warehouse.

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