Now that fall is here, interest segments such as back-to-school, traveling, and fantasy football are on the top of people's minds—and many are on the radar of programmatic buyers, according to data from ChoiceStream.
The company, which provides programmatic media buying, looked at the average price of RTB inventory for August 2013, and compared the prices of certain interest segments to the overall average. It has been tracking this Audience Cost Calendar since May 2012, gathering information about segments over time for advertisers in the RTB space.
One popular category in August 2013 was fantasy sports, which saw an index of 173, up from 122 in July 2013. Comparing this to the overall average of 100, the RTB inventory targeting the fantasy sports segment cost 73% more than the overall average price of a piece of RTB inventory in August. Travel was also popular, with three of the top ten segments during August: travel to Canada, Italy, and Australia/New Zealand were all in the top ten in terms of ranking.
Several other segments related to luxury automotive also saw relatively higher prices for RTB inventory during August, as the segment for Maybach had an index of 179 and the segment for Hummer was 147 in August.
The "In A Relationship" segment was also popular during August, which Bill Guild, VP of marketing for ChoiceStream, said was a bit surprising given that relationships are often more important around the holidays or Valentine's Day. This segment's index was 143, compared to 104 in July.
Looking at the range of prices, the spread—or distance between the highest price index and lowest price index—tightened during August, when it was between 33 and about 250, compared to July, when the index ranged from 45 to nearly 300.
With ChoiceStream tracking this index for the past 18 months, the company has seen how the range widens during important advertising months, like the holidays, and tightens a bit, as August showed, when advertisers are open to working with more interest segments.
"In programmatic buying, the buyers can tell the difference between the segments they want and the segments they don't want," Guild explained. "As prices go up, that range or spread widens because they still ignore the segments they don't want." For example, in December 2012, the highest price had an index of more than 350, compared to the lowest index, about 75. Last year, in August 2012, the range was also tighter compared to other months, with a spread of less than 50.
Guild added that advertisers can use this data to inform their programmatic campaigns, by targeting less popular interest segments during certain months or reaching out to popular segments when prices aren't as high.
"Don't abandon everything you know about your campaign," he said. But this data is interesting "if you're selling something that goes well with a certain segment."