5 Tips for a Small Budget RTB Campaign

Main content

5 Tips for a Small Budget RTB Campaign

One of the fundamental principles of real time buying is the ability to buy audiences, rather than media placements where your audience is likely to be. This allows for greater targeting precision and as a consequence, enables campaigns with smaller budgets become as effective as their bigger counterparts in many ways. In this blog post we will discuss a couple of features and techniques, which make low budget campaigns effective brand communication vessels.

There are two elements to consider in the case of an individual campaign, which we will discuss separately: features and techniques.


Some features available in DSPs globally are very effective in targeting audiences; however they might introduce certain obstacles for large budget campaigns, as they can limit reach. It is a frequent case we face: we are asked to investigate why a campaign is under-delivering and a quick investigation points to the use of features which limit inventory down to a fraction of the initial audience size. Let’s discuss the usual suspects:

Content Category Targeting

CategorizationThis is a good way of placing your ads in websites, which have content related to your brand. However, it is very important to evaluate the availability of such content beforehand. Roughly 75% of advertising placements sold programmatically in Europe are assigned to at least one of the standard IAB categories. That is, when you use category targeting in your activities, you are missing out on a minimum of 25% of inventory; and the stricter your category targeting is, the bigger this percent gets. Choose one category and you might find yourself bidding on a fraction of available inventory only.

While this might be a major bottleneck for large campaigns due to traffic limitation, it is very useful for those smaller campaigns, where targeting the ads to the right audience is crucial. To make decisions easier, here at Adform, we provide our clients with monthly content categorisation insights, which they can easily use to assess the amounts of inventory in each content category market by market.

Targeting In-screen (aka above the fold) Impressions

It is very simple: in order for a click to happen, the ad has to be visible. Average visibility of online campaigns can be as low as 40% depending on the setup. Or in other words – only 4 out of 10 impressions served can be seen by your audience. It is no surprise – low visibility almost always means poor performance. 

Position _breakdown
There are several ways of solving this issue: manual optimisation by visibility, using Adform proprietary CPC algorithm where possible, or simply buying in-screen impressions only. This feature does not guarantee 100% visibility, as it is based on publisher settings, but it does increase visibility significantly. However, just like with content categorisation – only a part of inventory in the programmatic market is classified as above or below the fold. Furthermore – roughly a half of those classified placements are said to be in-screen (above the fold).

This can become an issue if you are looking to build reach and have a big budget to spend, hence it might be better to resort to other means of increasing visibility. On the other hand, if your budget is limited, this feature might prove to be a priceless option for your campaign.

Demographic Targeting

Targeting by gender, age or income is an effective way of increasing advertising relevancy. If your audience is a certain demographic group – you can use RTB with great precision and target your ads to this group only. You need to be careful, though, just like with the two cases discussed earlier – this feature can limit your reach. When you operate a large budget – it is a good idea to combine demographic targeting with other, broader strategies to reach your audience effectively. If you have a small budget assigned to your campaign – demographic targeting can become a very effective performance optimisation tool.


Programmatic media buying gives maximum control over the campaign setup to the advertiser. You can employ various techniques to make your campaign as effective as possible and only reach the audience you are interested in, when they are interested in your products or services. Let’s discuss a couple of techniques, which you can use to make a small campaigns bring big results:

Maximising Retargeting Efficiency

It has been proven in multiple studies, that visitors of your website have a limited “lifespan” in terms of their interest in a product. In most cases, visitors that have been to your website during last 48 hours are much more likely to convert due to their high interest, compared to the earlier visitors. Adform DSP allows you to retarget audiences based on their visit recency. Most probably the audience pool of 2 days will not be large and you might have to bid really high in order to win an auction and display an ad to such a visitor. However, due to high probability of purchase (or general conversion), this strategy proves to be the best in returning highest return on investment.

Time Management

Our quarterly trend analysis (available here) reveals that weekends are best days to be advertising online when you are looking for performance rather than pure reach. Media costs on weekends tend to be lower and click-through rates are higher – a perfect combination. So if you have a small budget to spend on your campaign – why not try to limit your bidding to weekends only? Furthermore, if your product has a certain interest uptime during the day (e.g. a TV show that airs at 7pm Saturday and Sunday or a lunch time offer at a local cafe), Adform allows you to schedule your bidding activities down to a minute. Go ahead and show your brand to the audiences when they need you the most and have the most time to dive deep into your offer.


Having a small budget for an online advertising campaign is not an issue if you know how to use it. Of course, it is very hard to reach vast generic audiences and build frequency without investing accordingly. Nevertheless, even with a small budget – you can easily create an effective online advertising campaign using RTB.

So whether you’re a small business and cannot afford a large marketing budget, but still want effective online presence, or a Forbes 500 company looking to try new technologies in the online advertisement world – programmatic online advertisement is for you. Once you get to know the possibilities and the benefits it brings, you’ll wish you have tried it earlier.

If you have any more questions about RTB campaigns post them in comments section below or just drop a line on Twitter to @AdformInsider.


comments powered by Disqus