Forecaster

Overview

The Forecaster is designed to answer the question: Can I comfortably deliver my media on Zeta DSP/DMP?

Before creating any campaigns, it is strongly recommended the planned targeting settings be inputted into the Forecaster to ensure there is enough inventory (Projected Avails) to effectively deliver against.

To view forecasts for a selected set of targeting settings, reference the values listed in the Scorecard labeled, Total Daily Avails. These are the average daily projected values for your set of selected targeting settings.

To view forecasts for both a selected set of targeting settings and an objective goal and duration, reference the values in the Goals Chart. You will need to enter a Goal Type and Value Type to activate the Goals Chart. Duration is set by default to 30 days. Use the date picker to select your desired flight dates and update the duration. Unlike some values in the Scorecard, the values in the Goals Chart are all based on wins. Meaning impressions are projected impressions won, cost is cost on projected wins, uniques are uniques on wins. The outputs for the Scorecard and Goals Chart cannot be compared directly. They are not the same data sets.

Use the Forecaster to analyze estimates of available inventory. The DSP offers several filters, including geography, sites, and channels. Study your inventory by answering questions like the following:

  1. What is your goal? Is it based on delivery, price per impression, or a total budget you wish to spend over a given time?

  2. How many biddable requests do we receive per Channel, how much of it are we currently buying, and how much does it cost?

  3. How many biddable requests do we see in Nebraska and how many unique users underlie those requests?

  4. How many biddable video requests do we receive from each exchange and how much does the traffic cost for each?

No forecasting tool is perfect. The Forecaster attempts to predict availability and cost; actual campaigns will vary. A sensible approach is to start small, test and learn what works for your campaigns first. We welcome any and all feedback.

How the Forecaster Works

The Forecaster is fed by a 7-day rolling sample of data. We sample 0.015% of bids a 1.5% of wins on total available inventory. The Forecaster pipeline takes 2-3 days to run. Therefore, a user looking at the Forecaster today can expect the forecast to include days starting from current day -10 (7 days of sample data +3 days for the process to run = 10 total days) and moving forward 7 days.

Navigate to the Forecaster

  1. Login to the Zeta DSP/DMP.

  2. Navigate to the menu for Account and Advertiser, located on the left-hand side of the page.

  3. Select an Account and Advertiser.

  4. Click on Forecaster

Adjust the Forecaster 

There are three areas to adjust within the Forecaster:

  1. The Scorecard

  2. The Goals Chart

  3. Campaign Parameters

The Scorecard 

You can customize the display of the Forecaster to show up to four metrics that display throughout your forecasts.

  1. Click the Settings icon ()

  2. The Customize Scorecard modal will open.

  3. Select up to two metrics to display and rearrange them in the order you prefer.

  4. Click Restore Defaults, Save As Default Scorecard, or Save.

Custom Default Scorecard

Click Save As Default Scorecard to ensure the Zeta DSP remembers your selections for every forecast you create.


Metrics

Description

Qualified Bid Reqs

Number of available bid requests given selected settings.

Projected Avails

Projected number of available impressions for delivery given selected settings.

The Goals Chart 

The Goals Chart provides additional data on metrics relative to your selected goal and duration.

Use this data to forecast how a campaign could be fulfilled. Compared to metrics in the Scorecard which provides a total daily average forecast, the Goals Chart calculates an average forecast for each point along the curve. The flexibility of averages by CPM bucket (a CPM bucket consists of all the CPM values between two points on the curve) instead of a total daily average allows users to answer questions around diminishing returns.

After you enter a Goal Type and Value, the Goals Chart will load and a tooltip will appear. Hover your cursor along the forecast curve to study different possibilities. Notice if the curve has a point where the slope plateaus. This is the point of diminishing returns. This point indicates where increasing CPM no longer significantly increases delivery.

Goals Chart Error Messages

If there is not enough data from each CPM bucket to draw a reasonable curve, an error message appears. The Scorecard is often still available in this case. If no data appears in either the Goals Chart or Scorecard see the FAQ section to determine the possible reasons for this result.

If you find a data point along the chart that looks appealing, click on it to freeze it on the chart. In the example below, the user has saved one tooltip, and is hovering over the chart to view another data point.

Data Points on the Goals Chart

You can only save one data point along the Goals Chart at a time.


Goals Chart Goal Types

Description

Delivery

Enter the total number of desired impressions in the Value field, and then click the Duration field to set the date range.

Pricing

Select the goal type CPM, enter the desired price in the Value field, and then click the Duration field to set the date range.

Budget

Enter the total flight budget, and then click the Duration field to set the date range.


Goals Chart Metrics

Description

Impressions

Number of available impressions for delivery.

CPM

DSP cost of impressions.

Flight Budget

DSP budget for selected duration.

Campaign Parameters

In order to determine if there is adequate inventory, users can apply specific channels, targeting, and goal type restrictions for the duration of their campaign. Additionally, there is an option to implement Cross-Device.

The Campaign Parameters section within Forecaster aims to mirror Zeta DSP's Campaign Targeting, but only supports a subset of all available options. Navigate to the Channel(s) tab and select the channels your campaign will deliver on. Channels are grouped via Display, Mobile and Video. 

Use the Channels feature to study how restricting your campaign to particular channels affects the audience and the campaign's ability to show them ads. When you first encounter the Channels feature, nothing is checked. This means that the graph and numbers are based on delivery to all channels. Once you click a single channel this notion changes and as long as even one is checked, the DSP indicates delivery to only those channels. Sometimes you may find that the graph disappears. This means that the DSP simply has too little data available for the choices you made. In this case, re-think your plan and remove some of the channel and/or restrictions.

Channel Descriptions

Channel

Description

Display - Standard

Typical static impression opportunities in a web browser running on a desktop computer. Pixel sizes: 300x250, 728x90, 160x600.

Display - Special

Static impression opportunities in a web browser running on a desktop computer at the 300x600 pixel size.

Display - Expandable

Static impression opportunities in a web browser running on a desktop computer for ads whose size may expand as required.

Mobile Display: In-App

Static impression opportunities inside a mobile device application.

  • Smartphone sizes: 300x250, 320x50

  • Tablet sizes: 300x250, 160x600, 728x90

Mobile Display: Web

Static impression opportunities in a web browser running on a mobile device.

Mobile Display: Interstitial

Interstitial impression opportunities on a mobile device whether in an app or browser. Pixel sizes: 320x480, 768x1024
(An interstitial is a full-screen ad that covers the interface of its host application.)

Desktop Video

Video served on desktop sites. Make sure to consider Video targeting when using this channel. Select the Include only VPAID requests to filter only IAB-verified VPAID inventory.

Mobile Video

Video served on mobile sites. Make sure to consider Video targeting when using this channel.

Targeting

Navigate to the Targeting tab and click + Add Targeting to apply restrictions relevant to your campaign.

Restriction

Description

Ads.txt

Use Ads.txt targeting to ensure you are bidding on inventory authorized by a publisher.

App

Enable App targeting for a placement in particular applications, in both the iOS and Android environments.

Audience

Identify and show ads to audiences based on data collected from internal and third-party sources.

Browser

Target or exclude web browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc., including mobile device browsers.

Content Categories

Identify and show ads to audiences based on data collected from Peer39's proprietary content categories.

Devices

Devices enable targeting or exclusion of particular devices, including by operating system of mobile devices.

Fold

Target based on the position of the Ad on the screen when the viewer first encounters it.

Inventory

Target by Inventory to permit the inclusion or exclusion of particular Ad exchange marketplaces.

Language

Target web and mobile users who have their browsers set to one or more particular languages.

Location

Target by Location (also known as geofencing or geo-targeting) to restrict where your Ads are shown.

New User

Enable New User targeting to target only those that Zeta has not yet delivered pixels to or recorded attributes for previously.

Sites

Include or exclude particular sites that may display your ads. 

The Forecaster can support a site list of 300 sites. Submitting a site list beyond this value can cause the Forecaster to stop working and the query will return no results.

Traffic Quality

Apply Traffic Quality when using Peer39, Integral Ad Science (IAS) or Double Verify data to avoid displaying ads alongside certain undesirable categories of content and more.

Video

Enable targeting based on the video Ad placement opportunities and characteristics.

Ad Sizes

View inventory for a particular Ad Size.

Frequency Cap

Set a Frequency Cap to limit the impressions delivered within a given number of hours. 

Zeta suggests avoiding Frequency caps as it makes it much more difficult for the Zeta AI to find the optimal device for conversion.

Goals

Navigate to the Goals tab to apply Viewability and/or Video Completion goals to your forecast. These goals only apply for Zeta's post-bid products. If you'd like to apply Pre-Bid targeting, select Traffic Quality under Targeting.

Goal 

Description

Viewability

Viewability refers to whether or not an Ad is given the chance to be seen (“chance” is currently defined by the MRC as 50% of pixels in-view for one second for display, or for two seconds for video).

Enter the percentage of Ads that should be viewable.The maximum Viewability Rate the DSP allows is 80%. Careful analysis of past Zeta campaigns has revealed that rates above this number are impractical in terms of cost.

Video Completion

Percentage of visitors who watched a video ad to completion. 

Pin Your Forecast

1. Once a forecast is created, click Pin Forecast below the chart.

2. Provide a name for the forecast and hit Save. 

3. The forecast is now saved for your use and will appear below the chart. 

4. To view a pinned forecast again, hover over it and click Load.

5. To update a pinned forecast, click Update. Make any adjustments to the Campaign Parameters and/or Goal Chart, and click Apply. Updated avails will be reflected in the Scorecard.

Updates will not save!

Updates made to a pinned forecast will not override it's original configuration. To save an updated view, you will need to create a new pin. 

6. To delete a pinned forecast, click Remove. When asked "Are You Sure?" click Remove Pin.

7. To edit the name of a pinned forecast, click the pencil icon. Provide a new name in the pop-up window that appears and hit save

Share Your Forecast

1. To share a Forecast, click the Share icon located in the toolbar in the upper right-hand corner. 

2. Select Copy to share the Forecast Link with any DSP user via any means of communication. 

Slice Your Forecast

DSP users can slice their forecast in a multitude of ways by replacing the graph with a chart of your data.

1. To slice your forecast (current view), click the Toggle Slice By icon located in the toolbar in the upper right-hand corner.

2. By default, the Scorecard will be visible in the chart. This data includes values for:

  • Qualified Bid Reqs

  • Projected Avails

3. To filter the columns shown for the Scorecard, click on the grid icon. 

4. Select the Scorecard metrics you want to view. To exit this screen and revert back to the chart, simply click the grid icon again.  

5. Additionally, there is an option to slice by the targeting and restriction types applied to the forecast. To achieve this, navigate to the Slice By filter above the chart.

Options that are currently un-availible:

Users are unable to slice by device at this time. 

6. Select a single parameter you would like to slice by. The metrics and values present in the chart will be updated based on the selection you have chosen. 

Users are limited to slicing by one parameter at a time. 

Export Your Forecast

To export your forecast, click Export to download a CSV or PDF version of your forecast. The PDF option is only available for the main Forecaster page and not in the Toggle Slice By view.

  • The PDF export option includes Projected Avails, Channel, Targeting, and Goals data (if entered, otherwise these fields will be blank).

  • The CSV export option does not include Channel, Targeting, and Goals data.

Download the full picture!

Export both PDF and CSV files to get a complete picture of your forecast.

Best Practices

Include Ad Sizes in Targeting:

  • Make sure to input all of the planned targeting settings for your campaign into the Forecaster. If using HTML or Image ads, utilize the "Ad Size" restriction. The amount of available inventory will change depending on which ad sizes are being used for the campaign.

  • For example, as of July 6th, 2018, the Forecaster sees 458,000,000 avails for the whole United States. However, if a US-targeted campaign uses only 300x250 ads, the avails pool will only be 154,400,000 - just 34% of the total possible inventory.

Video Ads:

  • If you select any video channel, make sure to consider Video Duration targeting.

Location Targeting:

  • To input DMAs into the Forecaster, you can either use the Nielsen DMA Codes or the name of the specific city that defines the DMA (i.e: Denver). 

  • The DMA codes are available in the Resource Materials section below. 

Language Targeting:

  • Language targeting requires the use of the 2 letter ISO Language Code.

  • The Language Codes are available in the Resource Materials section below. 

Sites Targeting:

  • For checking inventory for a list of Sites using the "Domains" restriction, the easiest way to upload a site list is to upload a plain text file (.txt) with no headers and have all site URLs separated by line breaks.

Viewability:

  • If you are using a post-bid Viewability goal at any level, make sure to use the "Viewability" Goal in the Forecaster. This goal can have a significant effect on the amount of inventory available to a campaign or line item.

Continue to Check-in!

The avails pool generated by the Forecaster will fluctuate from day-to-day as the Forecaster is always processing new data. As such, it is recommended to check the Forecaster both when initially planning the campaign and the day before campaign launch to make sure the avails pool hasn't dropped considerably in the interim.

FAQ

Question

Answer

Is there a minimum audience size that the Forecaster can forecast against?

The Forecaster requires an audience size of at least 300,000 unique users in total to produce reliable forecasts. If you apply restrictions such that the number falls below this minimum – as might be the case for a very small Geofence radius over a very short period of time – The Forecaster will return no data. Restriction sets that return no data are unrecommended to run as campaigns.

Is there a minimum pixel volume that the Forecaster can forecast against?

The Forecaster requires a pixel volume of at least 100,000 unique users per month to produce reliable forecasts. If you attempt to forecast against a pixel that falls below this minimum – as might be the case with a small retargeting audience – The Forecaster will return no data. Restriction sets that return no data are unrecommended to run as campaigns.

Slice By Audiences restrictions

  • Users must select at least 2 audiences/pixels within the targeting selection screen in order for the audience option to be available in “slice by”

  • Slice by Audiences results will only display TOP 100 audiences/pixels by qualified bid requests

My forecast did not pull any data. Why?

There are a number of reasons your forecast query could return no or partial data:

  • Data size is too small: The Forecaster is fed by sampled data set. This means if the restriction set chosen is too small it may not make it into the sample. As a general rule, if the restriction set is too small to make it into the sample it is also too small to run a viable campaign against.

  • If there is an insufficient volume of campaign data certain metrics may not populate as part of the forecast Forecaster data favors engaged users, ie users who click and view ads, as well as users we bid, win, and serve against.

  • The forecast data returned is dependent on size of the sample and these heuristics.

How large does my audience segment need to be to return a forecast?

300k unique users for an audience segment.

How large does my pixel audience need to be to return a forecast?

100k unique users per month per pixel.

Does the forecaster account for seasonality?

The Forecaster does not directly account for seasonality. However, we find most users forecast near enough to campaign delivery that it is irrelevant. Furthermore, most forecast requests are broad enough not to be impacted. This accounts for >95% of the Forecaster's use.

Why is the bid explode (Forecaster Chart curve) set with steps of 20?

While a bid step of 1 provides more accurate data and a denser curve, it was too costly for the avails service.  It was found after testing steps of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 75, and 100 that performance improved significantly at a step of 20 with minimal changes in the curve at several common restriction settings.

Why are only some of my selected and applied pixels and/or audiences showing up in Slice By Audience?

Only those pixels or audiences with data will surface when sliced by Audience. It is safe to assume that if the Audience or Pixel is not present that there is no forecast data available.

Resources

DMA Codes: Download this Excel file to see all DMA Codes supported in The Forecaster.

Language Codes: Download this Excel file to see all Language Codes supported in The Forecaster.