How Buy-Side Platforms Leverage Data, and How Your Campaigns Benefit

Data is the greatest asset that a marketer can have over competitors. Your advantage is your ability to learn and to process what you learn for your gain. When you purchase traffic from a buy-side platform, the data you have powers much of your ability to reach the proper market segments and convert them to your offer.

Big Data

Ad exchanges purchase traffic from many sell-side platforms, and they work hard to match marketers up to demographic segments as appropriate. As a result, you benefit directly from the ability to target beyond interest. Begin with an analysis of your campaign and goals before working to find segments of traffic that will help you meet them. Find the qualities that describe your ideal user, down to education level and a host of other personal qualities. A self-service solution leverages that same data at a budget you set, with options you alter.

Audience Matters

The greater effort you put into understanding your buyer, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to reach them. The traffic available on a standard DSP is too much to approach without targeting. You’ll spend your entire budget without learning anything actionable.

Begin by developing a profile of your audience based on what you know about the market. Read news stories about your product and market segment, review comments posted on these stories, study trends from search engines, and follow keywords to see which are the most competitive terms.

Narrowing Focus to Expand Performance

The concept seems counter-intuitive at first glance. Think of this process like trimming the fat away from your campaigns to get to the meat inside. By narrowing your focus to a specific age group, income level, or marital status, you can gain data to assist you in future testing. For example, you may notice that your conversions tend to happen Monday afternoons, which would help you focus your budget towards reaching your market on that day while you test for opportunities elsewhere.

The amount of traffic to purchase is nearly limitless, but narrowing your focus will help your budget go toward something actionable.


Arming yourself with competitive knowledge about the market segments you want to reach is your best weapon. A lack of knowledge is the equivalent to money on the table, and with so much of it available freely there is no reason to leave that money alone.

Bio: Ted Dhanik started his display advertising career in the early 2000s, building brands like and through targeted banner advertising. Ted Dhanik is currently the CEO and co-founder of engage:BDR. Ted Dhanik offers tips for mobile advertising through Ad Age and Venture Beat.