Bid Caching: Breaking Down the Facts

Is bid caching beneficial or deceiving as a programmatic auction technique? Over the last few weeks, the digital advertising industry – from ad trades to exchanges and supply-side platforms (SSPs) – has been deliberating this previously unknown practice. The catalyst? An article published by AdExchanger calling out the SSP Index Exchange (IX) for bid caching.

What is Bid Caching?
Bid caching is the practice of utilizing a lost bid from one programmatic auction to fill a subsequent auction for the same user. This process transfers bids from one auction to another with the goal of boosting publisher yield. For example, an advertiser’s bid for a homepage ad impression might be used to fill an impression on an article page later in that user’s session.

How is it Done?
Best practice dictates that SSPs share the entire bid request URL, which discloses the type of content the ad serves alongside it. IX was not sharing the entire URL, just the top-level domain name. Bid caching was not enabled for video, though – it was limited to display. IX defended the practice by claiming it reduced latency, particularly in ad environments that are highly sensitive to this, such as slideshows, mobile articles spread across multiple pages, and responsive web design.

IX confirmed that they had been practicing bid caching for over a year. Research by Jounce Media indicates this may have accounted for up to 50% of the impressions filled for some publishers. And while IX initially defended the practice, on August 17, 2018, they discontinued bid caching due to industry backlash and expressed regret about their lack of transparency.

How Common is Bid Caching?
In early August of 2018, Jounce Media conducted a series of bidding tests through a major demand-side platform (DSP) with the goal of identifying incidents of bid caching. Their test campaign delivered over 1.7 million impressions across nine ad exchanges, illustrating that only IX was utilizing bid caching.

What are the Implications?
Supply-side platforms have been under increasing pressure to decrease latency and increase publisher yield. With ad tech advancements such as header bidding, it’s harder than ever for exchanges to have access to exclusive publisher inventory. Bid caching gave IX a competitive advantage by allowing them to conduct auctions with DSPs faster and return bids to the header bidding auction with increased speed. Unsanctioned processes like these are common in the industry, though, and it is no surprise that the competition would be quick to point out IX’s use of bid caching to distract from their own nontransparent practices.

360i’s Take
While IX should have been transparent about their use of bid caching, most of the press coverage has taken an alarmist view. Initial findings suggest that this did not significantly affect CPMs or mislead buyers, since they were only bidding on top level domains in the first place. Concerns that buyers lost control over brand safety, frequency caps, or targeting appear to be false because the same targeting from the initial bid was applied to the cached bid on the same publisher for the same user session.

In the age of transparency, these types of practices must be communicated to both buyers and sellers, and IX has taken full responsibility for their lack of transparency. In our review of the data, we determined that the impact on impressions of IX’s bid caching is minimal to insignificant and does not warrant panic. We don’t recommend that marketers pull their spend from IX.

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No Sugarcoating: Keeping It Real with Absolut Grapefruit

To celebrate the launch of Absolut Grapefruit, we worked with actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (a.k.a. Mitchell from the Emmy-award winning “Modern Family” series) to prove how refreshing transparency can be with a series of humorous spots that remove the sugarcoated filters from relatable social scenarios.

From letting a colleague know that he was only invited to happy hour to cover expenses, to unapologetically breaking etiquette at a dinner party, Jesse Tyler Ferguson delivers truth bombs in a perfect pitch as he highlights how Absolut Grapefruit keeps it real in a world of hidden ingredients.

The biggest flavor innovation to come out of the brand’s Åhus, Sweden headquarters since the launch of Absolut Lime in 2016, Absolut Grapefruit’s fresh and well-balanced sweetness provides the perfect base for a variety of cocktails, like our favorite, the Swedish Paloma.

You can read more about the campaign here, and check out all of the spots here.

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MINI USA Challenges Artists to Produce Videos that are Literally “Created in a Countryman”

Turns out, the MINI Countryman isn’t so mini. To artfully illustrate that the 2019 Countryman has enough space for even the biggest adventures, we teamed up with MINI USA and challenged stop-motion animator Kirsten Lepore (who you may recognize from her quirky “hi stranger” video that lit up the internet and late night shows last year) and Brooklyn-based diorama-duo Nix + Gerber to create short films in their signature styles.

But there’s a catch – the intricate works of art were entirely created and filmed inside the trunk of the Countryman. Using handmade models and paper cutouts coupled with their own unique animation techniques, each artist created their own beautiful adventure-scape: for “Underwater,” Kirsten Lepore embarked on an exploration of an entire underwater world; and for “Camping” Nix + Gerber crafted a perspective-bending intergalactic camping trip.

The “Created in a Countryman” campaign demonstrates not only the amount of cargo space in the Countryman, but the automaker’s appreciation of artistry, craftsmanship, and tactile, real-world experiences. Tapping the talents of young, urban creatives renowned in artistic circles is a nod to MINI’s playful roots and individualism, appealing to the elevated artistic sensibility of MINI drivers.

In a landscape increasingly dominated by CGI, AR, VR and other forms of digital media manipulation, MINI is going off the beaten path with films that are truly handcrafted. The level of artistry and refinement is so detailed and polished, they could easily be mistaken as computer-generated.

The films are being released today, and later this month MINI will be hosting an event with Nix + Gerber at BAM in Brooklyn to display the work live. You can read more about the campaign in Adweek and check out behind-the-scenes photos, videos and stills from the final spots on our work page.

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From the One Club to the ANA, Here’s Where to Find 360i this Fall

The summer may be winding down, but our fall lineup of speaking engagements is just gearing up. From learning how to incorporate Voice into your marketing strategy to gaining valuable insight on career growth, here are some opportunities to hear from the fine folks at 360i this Fall:

SONIC – The CDX NYC Voice + Audio Summit
Wednesday, September 5th
BCG Digital Ventures
10 Hudson Yards, New York, NY

Join Chief Media Officer Doug Rozen as he discusses “The State of Voice + Audio” with iHeartMedia EVP and CMO Gayle Troberman, and New York Public Radio President and CMO Peter Weingard, in a panel conversation moderated by Adweek Tech Editor Josh Sternberg.

Young Guns Talks: Armando Veve + YG16 Finalist Unveiling
Thursday, September 6th
The One Club for Creativity
450 W 31st St., New York, NY

Chief Creative Officer Menno Kluin takes the stage with acclaimed illustrator and Young Guns award recipient Armando Veve at The One Club for Creativity as he discusses his incredible creative journey and reveals some of his upcoming projects. As a recipient of the Young Guns future-shaping portfolio competition himself, Menno knows exactly what it takes to be part of this exclusive group.

MediaPost Marketing CPG
Wednesday, September 26th
Radisson Martinique on Broadway
49 W 32nd St. New York, NY

Amazon – the data powerhouse, retail channel, and increasingly, advertising platform – is a force to be reckoned with. “Facing Amazonification,” a panel moderated by our VP of E-Commerce Will Margaritis, will bring together e-commerce and marketing leaders from consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and agencies alike to discuss how they leverage data and digital channels to capitalize on their business with Amazon.

ANA Media Innovation @ Pandora
Wednesday, September 26th
130 E. Randolph St., Chicago, Il

Understanding how to connect with consumers and drive the bottom line in new and innovative ways is more important to marketers now than ever before. 360i’s SVP, Head of Programmatic Kolin Kleveno will join DSW’s Digital Media Manager Allison Holbrook at this ANA members event to discuss how our we combined programmatic and influencer marketing to result in quadrupled click-through rates.

Advertising Week
Monday, October 1st
AMC Loews Lincoln Square
1998 Broadway, New York, NY

Entering its 15th year, Advertising Week’s flagship event is comprised of seminars and workshops led by some of the greatest minds in the industry. Our Chief Media Officer Doug Rozen will discuss the future of Voice and AI with Suzanne Grimes, EVP of Cumulus Media, and Pat Higbie, CEO of XAPPmedia, in a panel moderated by editor Bret Kinsella.

London International Awards
October 3rd – 7th
3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV

The London International Awards recognize creative excellence in all forms of media, from Design to Digital, Social, Print, and TV. 360i Executive Creative Director Frank Cartagena will sit on a panel of approximately 100 of the most internationally-recognized creatives from agencies, production companies and design houses to judge entries for the “New” and “Social Influencers” categories. Check back at the end of October when the winners will be revealed.

Here are All the Black People
Friday, October 5th
Penn Plaza Pavilion
401 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001

Feeling stuck in your career? Accompany Piper Hickman, 360i Group Creative Director, at Here Are All the Black People (HAATBP), a multicultural career fair for marketers at all levels, for a panel on how staying nimble and pivoting quickly contributes to career longevity. “Don’t Get Stuck: Plan Your Career for How the World Really Works” will bring together a diverse group of advertising executives to provide their insights on how to get ahead in an increasingly competitive landscape.

4A’s StratFest
Wednesday, October 10th
32 Old Slip, New York, NY

Incorporating Voice into your strategy should be at the top of every brand marketer’s to-do list. The Strategy Festival is hosted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) and brings together industry leaders to reflect upon the influence strategy has on advertising to explore the evolving connection between brands and consumers. Our Chief Strategy Officer Raig Adolfo and Account Director Dani Calogera will host a workshop on the importance of getting into the Voice space on the ground floor by building it into your marketing strategy.

Digiday Media Buying Summit
October 17th
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Cedar Creek, TX

E-commerce has long had a place within agencies, but it has often sat differently than Google and Facebook campaigns. In “Beyond the Duopoly: Retail’s Rise,” VP of E-Commerce Will Margaritis will speak with Digiday’s Director of Editorial Projects Shareen Pathak about how 360i works directly with Amazon and other retailers to build brands and accelerate sales.

Webinar: Six Ways Entertainment Brands are Leading the Voice AI Revolution
Thursday, October 18th
1:00-2:00pm ET

Interactive Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana are creating new ways for consumers to access content, while offering a unique medium for entertainment brands to engage fans. In this webinar hosted by Adweek, Chief Media Officer Doug Rozen will speak with PullString CEO Oren Jacob and Xandra CEO Zach Johnson about how leading brands like HBO, Macy’s, and Activision are distributing content and interacting with fans using Voice technology.

Fast Company Innovation Festival
Wednesday, October 24th
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY

Fast Company’s Innovation Festival brings together some of the most creative people in a variety of fields to share leadership lessons with audiences from around the globe. In this panel discussion at 360i’s New York headquarters, “Maximizing Your Impression with Augmented Reality,” our Chief Media Officer Doug Rozen will speak with Tony Parisi of Unity Technologies and Charlotte Roach of Fossil about the compelling opportunity AR offers brand marketers and how experiential marketing is bringing back the value of impressions. They will also showcase an interactive try-on demo from Fossil’s fall campaign.

If you can’t snag tickets to these events, make sure you’re following us on Twitter as we live-tweet the latest and greatest from this smart crew of 360iers.

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