simpli.fi logo with grey background for ethic advertising agency website

So, you found out about Simpli.fi’s amazing programmatic digital advertising Demand-Side Platform (DSP) and you want to use it for your own advertising efforts.  There are two ways to get your hands on all of the upper level targeting for display, video pre-roll, and OTT/CTV ads: get on the platform directly or gain access to Simpli.fi through a third-party vendor.

Before we dive into how you can start using Simpli.fi for targeted digital advertising, let’s do a quick overview on what Simpli.fi does.

Simpli.fi offers an array of targeting capabilities for display, video pre-roll, and OTT/CTV ads.

   Display (AKA banner) ads are static or animated (gif or HTML5) advertisements that appear at the top, bottom, or along the side of a website or app.  They are clickable to a specific landing page and have a much lower cost per thousand (CPM) than its video-based siblings.  For more info on display ads Click Here.

   Video pre-roll ads are video commercials that are distributed via online based videos.  Some great examples of video pre-roll advertising are commercials that run when you watch a news story on your local station’s website, a how-to video, or the video ad before your video plays on YouTube.  At the point in writing this blog, Simpli.fi’s video pre-roll inventory does not include YouTube.  At Ethic Advertising Agency, we buy YouTube direct, which means that we don’t have all of Simpli.fi’s sweet targeting capabilities for YouTube, but Simpli.fi is working on adding YouTube to their platform within a year. [date subject to change] In short, video pre-roll = videos made for the internet on pretty much all video platforms, except for YouTube. For more info on video pre-roll Click Here.

   OTT/CTV stands for Over the Top and Connected TV.  In a nutshell, these are video commercials that appear in long format programming, like your favorite show or movie through streaming.  Some popular OTT/CTV mediums include, but are absolutely not limited to: Pluto, Hulu, Roku, Xbox, Apple TV, Sling Television, TubiTV, Amazon fireTV, Game Pass, and a ton more.  If you are watching a show, live sports, or a movie through the internet instead of cable, satellite, or a TV antenna and see an advertisement…that’s OTT/CTV.  For more info on OTT/CTV Click Here.

 

Let’s Talk Targeting: Right Audience, Right Place.

So, that’s where we can serve ads through Simpli.fi, but what about the targeting…the sexy side of programmatic digital advertising for us digital media nerds.  Let’s find those right people!  Do keep in mind that any of the following targeting options can work with any of the mediums previously mentioned (display, video pre-roll, and OTT/CTV).

Let’s jump right to the crown jewel of Simpli.fi targeting…Geofence Advertising.  This is what Simpli.fi is often best known for and arguably one of the best, if not the best, geo-fencing advertising technology available.  There are two types of geofencing capabilities.  At Ethic Advertising Agency, we refer to them as Traditional Geofencing and Addressable Geofencing.

Traditional Geofencing:

Traditional geofence advertising is what most people are familiar with when they think about geofencing.  This is where we use Simpli.fi’s platform to draw polygonal geo-fences around very specific locations, like an advertiser’s competitors’ store, an expo/event, stadium, airport, etc…  Simpli.fi then uses GPS tracking to identify devices (mainly phones, but also tables and computers) that enter one of these geofences.  The system will then start serving programmatic ads to these devices for a selected period of time, as users navigate into websites and apps that serve ad content.  The system also uses cross device matching to start serving ads to other devices attached to the original device that triggered the targeting.  This way the smart phone might have started the targeting, but their TV, computer, tablet, or other smart device can also start receiving ads.  The GPS targeting is traditionally accurate within 4.9 meters and is even more accurate if there is WIFI data available to cross reference.

My go-to example for traditional geofencing is if I’m McDonalds, and I want to get people into my restaurants that have gone to a nearby Burger King, I can use geo-fence advertising to put our Big Mac messages in front of those Burger King customers for up to 30 days (or shorter) after they’ve been to my competitor.  And the really cool thing is that Simpli.fi can also provide data on how many of those devices not only saw the ad, but actually came into my McDonalds.  Trackable Physical Conversions!

 

Addressable Geo-fencing:

If you are still reading, then you probably think this stuff is as neat as we do, so you’re going to really enjoy Addressable Geofencing.  Addressable Geofencing automates the geofencing process by downloading a list of addresses and automatically applying geofences to every address on the list based on its property lines.  Say you are an auto dealer and you have a mailing list of 50,000 addresses that haven’t bought a new car in over 6 years you are planning to use for a direct mail campaign.  (If you don’t use mailing lists…read the entire section…trust me…there is some neat stuff addressable geofencing can do for you without a list 😊 )  That list can be uploaded into Simpli.fi, and the system will automatically generate geofences around each address’s property line.  This is gold for anyone using an address list for direct mail as a way to complement and improve your direct mail efforts, or act as a more cost friendly alternative to direct mail and print advertising.

If you don’t have a mailing list, addressable geofencing can create a target list using quality third party demographic data…for free.  (I told you it was worth it to continue reading.)  Simpli.fi’s third party data currently has over 1,500 demographic criteria you can use to build a custom list to target people via their homes.  Let’s use that auto dealer example again.  Let’s imagine that our auto dealership wants to sell more mini vans in the Pittsburgh area.  We can create an addressable geofencing list of homes in Pittsburgh that have children between the ages of 0 and 12, adults between the ages of 25 and 54, have a female present, have near prime to super prime credit scores, and are most likely in the market for a vehicle.  (This is just the tip of the data iceberg.)  As of today, 5/1/2020, there are 45,449 properties and an estimated 162,000 devices that match these criteria.

 

 

Search and Contextual Targeting:

Simpli.fi is not a one trick pony, though, by any means.  They have a significantly effective keyword-based targeting feature for both search and contextual targeting.  Once a keyword list is created, the system can target people who are searching for the keywords/phrases online (Search Targeting) and/or people who are visiting a website or app that is using one of your keywords/phrases (Contextual Targeting).  It’s targeting people based on what they are looking for and consuming via the internet.

Site Retargeting:

Site Retargeting is a common capability found on many platforms including Simpli.fi.  The system can provide a bit of pixel code that the advertiser places on their website’s backend.  This code allows Simpli.fi’s system to serve digital ads to people who have visited the advertiser’s website.

 

Third Party Data Targeting:

The final form of targeting Simpli.fi uses is third party data.  This is demographic data that research companies collect from multiple sources about someone and resells the information to a company like Simpli.fi.  The Simpli.fi platform doesn’t integrate with one or two third party data providers, but six!  These current providers are Exelate, Acxiom, Datonics, Oracle/BlueKai General Segments, Liveramp-Stirista Segments, and Liveramp- General Datastore Segments.  In comparison to addressable geofencing data, third party data has thousands of more data segments and targets individuals where the addressable geofencing data targets the homes instead of the individuals.  Because Simpli.fi has to pay all of their third-party data providers, you can expect to pay an additional data fee of a few cents up to a few dollars more on your CPM to use this targeting. You can also layer third party data into site retargeting, search targeting, or contextual targeting campaigns.

 

Getting on the Simpli.fi platform:

So, how do you gain access to use the Simpli.fi programmatic advertising platform?  The answer depends on your consistent monthly spend and your level of comfort learning and using the system to its fullest.

Get on Simpli.fi Directly:

In order to get on Simpli.fi directly, you will need to maintain a minimum of $20,000 every month ($240,000 per year).  Minimums for working on a DSP directly are common practices, and all of the top DSPs have them; some with higher or lower minimums than Simpli.fi.  If you don’t meet the monthly minimums or if you want to test the platform for less, you can partner with a current Simpli.fi user, like Ethic Advertising Agency.  If you do meet the monthly minimums, you can contact Simpli.fi Here, or you can choose to still partner with a Simpli.fi expert.  Like most digital advertising tools, there is a lot to learn, and it takes time and effort to become proficient at this system.  If you are ready to take the system on yourself, we highly recommend Simpli.fi. But if you want to capitalize on Simpli.fi without the investment of money and time, you still have options.

 

Partner with a Simpli.fi user:

There are a number of companies from larger media organizations to small programmatic platform expert shops that you can buy Simpli.fi advertising through.  When looking for a programmatic expert to partner with, it’s important to look for and ask about a few key items.

  • What DSP(s) do they use and why?
  • What are their estimated CPMs for each advertising medium and targeting capability?
  • How much experience do they have in the programmatic world?
  • Are they the ones “pulling the levers?” There are a ton of shops (big and small) that say they do programmatic, but they are outsourcing the work to someone else.  We have seen advertisers using three middlemen without even knowing it and having over 75% of their budget go to fees instead of actual advertising.

If you are interested in connecting with a partner to try the Simpli.fi platform you can contact us (a Simpli.fi preferred partner), contact Simpli.fi and ask for some partner recommendations, or call up a few digital agency/ad vendors and ask the above questions.  Most programmatic shops aren’t as upfront with the DSPs they are using, so you may need to contact a few and ask some specific questions.

 

Why We Think Ethic Advertising Agency is the Best Partner for You to Contact:

Time for our shameless plug!  Although Simpli.fi is not the only platform that we work with, it is our current preferred platform.  We have a tremendous relationship with Simpli.fi and have developed a clean, hands on process to help other agencies and advertisers maximize the use of the system.  We partner with ad agencies and direct advertisers across the country in multiple industries to run their Simpli.fi campaigns.  In order to do so at a high level, we have full time staff dedicated to the Simpli.fi platform who have invested years in learning and keeping up with the ever-evolving system.

We are also a smaller shop with big capabilities and very little overhead.  Our skill level mixed with our low overhead results in cost savings for our clients.  Our CPMs tend to be 15%-55% less than other Simpli.fi providers, but our results and quality of service tends to be higher than larger companies.  We work as a team of skilled individuals at Ethic Advertising Agency that believes it’s important to learn and care about our clients.  Ethic Advertising Agency is also a creative shop, so we understand the importance of having the right message along with the right targeting. Therefore, we can offer a full-service experience with strategy, creative, and digital, or fill the gaps of just your digital targeting needs.

 

Abbreviation Cheat Sheet:

(DSP) – Demand-Side Platform

(OTT/CTV) – Over the Top/ Connected TV Advertising

(CPM) – Cost Per Thousand

 

Author: Jeff Swartz, President & Founder

6/29/2020