Bidding strategies for Real Time Bidding (RTB) campaigns
A CUSTOMER JOURNEY ORIENTED APPROACH
BY LAURENT MÜLLENDER, 2015
If you run programmatic campaigns or classical retargeting on your first party data, you
can adopt several approaches to define your bid strategy.
One approach is to focus on the customer journey, i.e. the distance from the
The distance can be measured by:
The last entry channel (some channels such a generic SEO are rather at the
beginning of a journey. Some rather at the end e.g. SEA function campaigns)
Time (Day X of Y days typical conversion life cycle)
Frequency (X visit out of Y visits needed to convert)
Which model suits your business will depend on the structure of your customer
journey and the selected attribution model.
You do not need to know the exact customer journey(s) to start. A partial picture is
sometimes enough to start and see improvements. It‘s better than no picture at all.
In this model, „the willingness to pay“,
decreases the closer you are to the
conversion point in the customer journey.
It means that you think that the closer you are
to the conversion point, the higher the
probability is that the lead will convert
(through other channels) and thus you
decrease your RTB bids.
RTB/Retargeting is not considered as a
closing channel here but as a strong assist
It‘s an acquisition view.
It can also reflect an intention not to
overspend by reducing the amount of money
you spend for total ad contacts per lead.
This model suits well with first click
attribution models which put a higher value on
the assisting touch points.
Here, „the willingness to pay“, increases the
closer you are to the conversion point in the
You assume that the closer you get to the
conversion point, the „hotter“ the lead is and
thus you are willing to pay more.
This is the classical Retargeting approach
where it‘s used as a closing channel.
This model suits well with last click attribution
models where value is put on the closing
With this strategy, „the willingness to pay“
It is not unusual to see that in this case,
there‘s just little discrimination within leads
and segments. E.g. all leads are tagged, no
matter what actions they did.
The intention here is often gaining reach
rather than conversions: Be present
throughout the web and present your products
to a large targeted audience.
Equal bid is not necessarily combined with
poor targeting or poor results though. It is just
not taking the customer journey into account.