Online display ads are often portrayed a panacea for today’s businesses, particularly in comparison to traditional advertising methods. But getting a solid return on digital ads is by no means easy. Consider that the average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month but only half of them are ever viewed. Meanwhile over 70 percent of marketers fail to target these consumers with behavioral data, leading to lower click rates and conversions.
At the same time, the number of viable advertising platforms is growing. While it’s true that Facebook and Google account for more than half of U.S. spending on online ads, that share is declining, and other ad networks like Amazon and Snapchat are growing quickly. Meanwhile, dozens of smaller ad networks account for a combined 39 percent of the market.
Between accessing tools and insights for targeting consumers, and deploying those insights on various ad networks, today’s mortgage lenders certainly have their work cut out for them. But there’s a class of solutions that can help address both of these challenges: the demand-side platform.
Recently, NestReady surveyed the top 500 mortgage lenders in the U.S. about their use of technology, including demand-side platforms for managing digital advertising efforts. Read on to learn how the most successful financial institutions and mortgage brokers are using demand-side platforms to optimize their online ad campaigns across multiple channels.
What is a Demand-Side Platform (DSP)?
A demand side platform (DSP) allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad and data exchange accounts. Using DSPs, marketers can configure their audiences and purchase online display ads on numerous platforms and sites. Plus, like search advertising platforms, DSPs allow users to optimize their campaigns based on key performance indicators such as effective cost per click (eCPC) and effective cost per action (eCPA). All of this is accomplished through a single interface, enabling marketers to fine tune their targeting at scale.
Today’s DSPs incorporate many of the features and data insights previously offered only by individual advertising networks, including the ability to serve, track, optimize, and bid on ads in real time. With many DSPs, marketers don’t have to worry about picking the right websites to advertise on. Instead, the platform will also offer programmatic ad buying and publishing based on a user’s audience characteristics. This way, marketers don’t have to worry about picking the right sites to advertise. Instead, the DSP automatically selects platforms and publishes ads based on a user’s targeting characteristics.
How Top Mortgage Lenders Are Using DSPs
DSPs are new solution category that barely existed 10 years ago, but they’re growing quickly in response to a major need in the market. Interest in DSP solutions has increased steadily over the last decade or so, including among mortgage lenders.
According to our survey, 55 percent of top lenders are leveraging 29 different DSPs to manage cross-channel display advertising. The most popular platforms among lenders are The Trade Desk and Google Marketing Platform (also known as DoubleClick Bid Manager)—in fact, 1 in 4 lenders with DSPs are using one or both of these tools. Meanwhile, Simpli.fi and Sizmek take distant third and fourth place spots, respectively.
In some ways, DSP adoption among lenders is similar to the overall market of DSP users. For instance, a report by Datanyze identifies 36 DSP solutions, and lists DoubleClick Bid Manager, The Trade Desk, and Simpli.fi among the top ten most popular tools.
Still, there are some key differences that suggest lenders have a long way to go in taking full advantage of these tools. For instance, a full 45 percent of top lenders are not using any DSP solutions, and that percentage is even higher among smaller lenders. In addition, the vast majority of lenders on our list are only using one DSP solution. By contrast, companies in the retail and hospitality industries tend to use 2 or 3 DSPs at once. A major reason for this is that DSP features are not standard, and many solutions offer specialized functionality that others do not. The Trade Desk, for example, offers IP targeting capability, while Google’s DoubleClick platform does not. This indicates that lenders are in the initial stages of adopting this technology.
In the coming years, a robust stack of programmatic advertising tools will become even more important. The reason: mobile. In 2016, half of large financial organizations received over 41 percent of their overall web traffic from mobile devices. In a world where “always-on” consumers switch between multiple devices and take a non-linear path to purchasing, mortgage lenders must rethink the customer journey. That means having the ability to tell a story about your brand and products that moves seamlessly across different formats and channels. Lenders who fail to adopt DSP solutions will struggle to tell these stories, and risk losing ground to early adopters.
Get the Full “Top 500” Report
To learn more about how top mortgage lenders are using DSPs and other technologies, be sure to download NestReady’s complete report. It offers valuable insights on hundreds of solutions across 11 different technology categories, including web analytics, A/B testing, video marketing, and more. Click here to get your copy of the report.