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MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising FAQs

General Overview  |  Unique Targeted Offerings  |  Campaign Management
Reporting  |  Creative  |  Getting Started

General Overview

Q. What is MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising?

A.  MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising is an education-specific online marketing solution that allows education marketers to advertise online to their specific educator audience.

Q. What are the benefits of Web Advertising?

A.  Web (or Display) Advertising has been around for some time now and can be a very effective way to reach a large number of targeted people as they surf the web. Because of its very visual nature, it shares the benefits typically associated with advertising, including brand awareness, product favorability, and product/message recall. Display advertising also generates direct response in the form of interaction, engagement, drive-to-site, time-on-site, lead generation, and sales. Since educators use the web throughout the day both for their job and for their own use, Web advertising increases your advertising reach and frequency potential.

Q. What is a banner impression?

A.  A banner impression measures the number of times a banner ad is displayed, either on a webpage or in a separate browser window as a pop-up or pop-under advertisement. Thus, 1,000 impressions mean that the banner has been displayed 1,000 times.

Q. What is CPM?

A.  Utilizing a Cost Per thousand iMpressions is an effective method of pricing web banner ads. CPM is the cost for displaying a banner one thousand (1,000) times. For example, if a banner ad space has a CPM of $10, it means that the cost of displaying a banner space one thousand times on that space is $10. Please consult with your product development team regarding actual pricing.

Unique Targeted Offerings

Q. How is MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising different than other online advertising (like Facebook or Google Display Ads)?

A.  MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising is unique in its capability to target educators with many of the same selects marketers use for targeted email and direct mail campaigns using MDR’s best-in-class data, such as building level, individual leve,l and demographic data elements.

MDR’s display ad targeting is achieved via implicit data that we’ve established within our targeting audience rather than implied by some previous action the individual might have taken on the web. This means that your ad is served to a known educator, meeting your targeting requirements, guaranteed.

Apart from the ability to only serve ads to specific educators, MDR’s ad solution is very similar to well-known ad solutions—such as Google Display Ads—and in fact uses the same ad network as many other ad products. The critical difference is in the targeting: when MDR serves to sites that are within the ad exchanges where these other web ad products also serve to, we use our implicit targeting to ensure that only the educators you specifically want to see your online ad get served your ad. That’s what makes MDR’s solution unique.

Here’s a head-to-head comparison of MDR’s Targeted Banner Advertising vs. Facebook Ads and Google Display Network:


MDR Targeted
Web Ads
Facebook Google Display Network


Explicit Tagged Educator Audience targeting—100% of impressions served to your stated target group

Targeting based upon User Profile (Education, Work Experience, Hobbies, Likes, etc.)

Targeting based upon Topic and Interest/Keyword search/ Remarketing


All Standard, Mobile, and Rich Media (coming soon)

Facebook Specific (limited) format

All formats including Rich Media


0.15% or better average CTR – above the .07% BTB national average

Facebook doesn’t publish their data, but most independent reports peg Facebook’s average CTR at .041% and falling

0.11% Interest Category average CTR Google’s strength is in its keyword contextual targeting, which helps its overall performance but is limited and expensive for the education vertical. Google’s numbers are overwhelming, based on consumer ad campaigns vs. B2B.

Q. How does MDR target teachers exclusively with their online display advertising?

A.  MDR has millions of digital touches with educators annually, from our initial pre-qualification email notification sent to newly added educators in our database to our many market research touches—including our online educator research panel recruitment and the monthly WeAreTeachers drive-to-site campaigns.

Over the past ten months, we’ve used these digital connections with educators to build an inventory of qualified, “tagged” educator audience groups. We’ve cross-referenced our existing deep database to put these tagged educators into audience pools so you can target precisely using institution, personal, and geographical demographics.

Each qualified audience is a unique anonymous group, and we target them via our partner DSP (Demand Side Platform), an ad serving platform. Using the RTB (Real Time Bidding) ad networks and exchanges, we purchase and serve banner ads on tens of thousands of high traffic/premier content sites on your behalf. These are the same networks you would use if you were to go to Yahoo or Google to purchase banner advertising; the only difference is that we can guarantee that it’s served ONLY to the educators you want to see the ad.

Q. What selects can you use to target educators?

A.  Below are the different selects available for banner ad targeting.

Selects Available


  • Grade Ranges
  • School/College/Library/
    Day Care Type
  • School/District Size
  • Title I


  • Job Title
  • Job Group
  • Subject/College
    Discipline Taught
  • Highest Degree Level

Household Demographics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geography
  • Household Income
  • Presence of Children
Audience pools can be targeted individually (e.g., Principals) or in combination (e.g., Principals in Ohio). We can estimate the total number of impressions that are available on a monthly basis for any one of these audience pools, but we aren’t able to give precise impression estimates for combined audience pools. Estimated impression volume for your specific target audience will be included in the proposal from your MDR Representative.

Q. Can I target some educators with web ads and an email campaign at the same time?

A.  Yes, you can. While you may not be able to exactly duplicate your target audience 1-for-1 from the email list, you can absolutely create an Online Ad campaign that’s targeting the same audience as the Email Campaign. It’s absolutely a best practice to do this as it not only extends your campaign’s reach, but also the online ads banning effect can increase the email response rate. The overall use of multiple digital channels at the same time can increase the overall effectiveness of the campaign.

For example, assume you’re planning an email campaign to 100K school principals nationwide. At the same time, you could launch a Targeted Web Advertising campaign with a 30-day budget of 100K impressions to principals. While it cannot be guaranteed that the same 100K principals will both receive your email and see your web ads, there will naturally be overlap between the two campaigns, increasing your overall conversion.

Q. What type of geography targeting is available for web advertising?

A. You can use the following criteria to target by geography:

    • State Code
    • Zip Code (full five digit)
    • DMA Code

A. The appropriate information should be provided to the Web Advertising team within an excel document listing all desired criteria to ensure geography targeting parameters are setup appropriately prior to your campaigns launch. 

Campaign Management

Q. What’s a good size for a campaign?

A.  We can help you determine the best campaign size to meet your goals. Here are some important questions to ask:

    • Who do you want to target with your campaign?
    • How long do you want the campaign to run?
    • What’s your campaign budget?

Depending on how selective your targeting group is, you might be limited by the total number of available impressions we can serve.

For instance, if you want to target the same small group of educators that you’re targeting with MDR’s email services (such as Athletic Directors in the state of Rhode Island), we’d have to determine the total universe for your audience. In this example, there are only 800, and we might not be able to reach the minimum campaign requirement of 40K impressions in a 30-day time frame. We’d have to broaden your targeting group—preserving your specific audience targets as part of a larger selection—to ensure we can achieve the minimum impression amount.  

Your Account Representative is available to help you size your potential impressions based on your target audience.

Q. How long should my campaign last? Can it be paced?

A.  In terms of the campaign length, we recommend planning a campaign budget that allows at least a couple of weeks in length (and up to a month) so you can benefit from the system’s unique optimization process. In real time, our DPS actually increases your campaign’s effectiveness by gauging your target audience’s response to your ad at the different sites they visit and when they visit them.

When looking at web ad campaigns where you want the campaign in the field for a length of time (say back to school, August to October), then it’s definitely a good idea to create an I/O for the full budget amount/time frame. We’ll pace the campaign over the entire time frame and will invoice you every 30 days for the amount that we’ve delivered against the campaign to date. This way you don’t have to go through the overhead of a new I/O every month, and you still have the option to tweak the campaign (new creative, etc.) at any point during the entire campaign.

By default we will attempt to evenly pace your campaign budget over the entire campaign time, but we can adjust the pacing upon request. Simply state your desired campaign length/pacing parameters on the campaign Insertion Order form.

Q. Can you limit or cap the number of ad impressions an individual educator is served?

A.  Yes. As the advertiser, you have full control over how many ads we serve to educators and how often or fast we serve them. You can specify frequency caps (hourly, daily, lifetime) and frequency spacing if you wish.

Otherwise, MDR will optimize the frequency and pacing of the campaign so that it achieves the highest possible yield of Clicks and Conversions based on our experience and the learning heuristic of our DSP.

Q. What is a recommended frequency cap for ads served to an individual educator?

A.  We typically recommend a max frequency cap of between 15 to 20 impressions over the life of the campaign (30 days). This can be modified depending on the goals of the campaign (reach vs. CTR vs. Conversion), but even with a max frequency cap of 15 to 20, we usually see an average impression count around 3.25.

Q. Can you do A/B split testing? If so, can you A/B test different audiences and/or offers?

A.  Yes. With MDR Targeted Web Ads, you can automatically test various banner ad creative.

To utilize this feature, provide us with different versions of your banner artwork; these could contain differing messaging or offers, or point to different landing pages. We will automatically serve A/B to the different creative (within the same banner size) and then optimize to the creative that is winning, unless you tell us to serve to each creative equally.

Typically A/B testing with web advertising is focused on the banner creative—this element is one of the most accurate controls and typically has a significant impact on the performance of the campaign. However, if you also wish to A/B test other aspects of the campaign, such as the audience targeting, then let us know on the Insertion Order during campaign setup, and we’ll advise the best way to create your test cells.

Q. Can you tell me what websites my online ads will be served on?

A.  Not specifically. MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising is designed to find and serve banner ads to the exact educators you want to reach, wherever they are online.

Our web advertising uses open ad networks and ad exchanges, which include tens of thousands of sites. These are the same sites that you might serve online ads to if you used other networked ad products like Google, Double Click, or Bing.

All of the sites included in these networks are deemed appropriate content (no adult content, malicious sites, or illegal content), and we only serve to sites that are transparent in their reporting. Additionally, we’re continuously monitoring the sites that we serve ads on to make sure they are the highest-performing properties for educational display ad marketing, and we remove those that are underperforming. 

To get a clearer picture of the types of sites that ads might be served to with our Targeted Web Advertising, you can review our example site list.

Q. Can I provide a list of sites to include or exclude my banner ads from being served?

A.  Absolutely.

While we can potentially serve your ads across thousands of websites available through the open ad networks and ad exchanges, you can also provide us a list of sites you would like to include or even exclude (such as competitors’ sites) from serving your banners.

When submitting your Insertion Order, simply provide us a list of all of the domains at the top level (e.g., in .csv format and identify each one as either an inclusion or exclusion.
When creating inclusion site lists, please keep in mind MDR doesn’t restrict to serving to only those sites as it may impact the ability to meet your desired impressions.

Q. I already use banner advertising through an ad server. Can I use my own ad server in conjunction with MDR’s audience targeting?

A.  Yes, you can.

If you already use a third-party ad server, such as DFA (DoubleClick’s Dart for Advertisers), we absolutely can utilize Third-Party Ad Server tags (3PAS ad tags). Simply indicate this on the campaign Insertion Order form.

Of course if you use 3PAS tags, you will not be receiving campaign reporting from us. You’ill have access to all your metrics via your ad server reporting.

Q. Can I prevent my ad from running on competitors’ sites?

A.  Yes, you can supply us with a site exclusion list, and we’ll ensure your ad does not get served to any site on the list.

Q. Can I control where my ad is placed on the webpage?

A.  Yes, you can specify to only serve the ad above the fold on your Insertion Order.

Q. Can I serve different banner creative to a selection of my target audience?

A.  Yes. Within our campaign structure, you can serve up to two (2) target audience groups unique creative banner ads. If the requested audience group is larger than two (2), we charge an additional fee of $100/per audience group.


Q. What campaign metrics do you report on?

A.  Every MDR Targeted Web Ad campaign gets automated weekly campaign statistics emailed to all the contacts specified on the Insertion Order. We can also send reports daily according to your preference.

The standard weekly report details the number of impressions by every banner ad in the campaign, the number of clicks, and the Click-Through Rate (CTR).

If you have elected to track conversions (by placing conversion tracking JavaScript on your website confirmation pages), then we’ll also report conversion rate, post-click conversion (i.e., those that convert at some point after clicking through but not right away), and post-view conversion (also known as view-thru conversion—those who don’t click an ad but convert at some point after seeing the ad).  

A sample of our standard web ad campaign reporting can be found here.

Q. I don’t understand all the acronyms on the reporting. Do you provide a glossary of terms?

A.  A glossary of the data elements that are on our web ad campaign reporting can be found here.

Q. Can you track/report conversions from a Targeted Web Ad campaign? How does this tracking work?

A.  Yes, we can definitely track conversion from a web ad campaign, and we have options for tracking to best serve your needs. We can utilize a single conversion tag, or if you wish to track each step of the conversion process separately, we can use multiple conversion tags.

To elect conversion tracking, simply mark this on the Insertion Order form. While we are onboarding your banner assets, we’ill email you a small snippet of HTML/Java code. Add this bit of code to your website confirmation page (the page that’s loaded after prospects take action—such as filling in a form or purchasing an item), and we’ll be able to report conversion rate, post-click conversion, and post-view conversion. 

Advanced users can also specify parameters for post-click and post-view conversion tracking (like number of days and attribution percentage) on the campaign Insertion Order form.


Q. Who creates the banner ad artwork?

A.  At this time, MDR does not provide banner ad creative services. However, we can absolutely provide a referral to one of our trusted and experienced creative partners.

As the marketer and the owner of your brand, you’re the best source of what creative treatments resonate and have relevance with your prospects and customers.

Refer to our Web Advertising Best Practices guide for digital advertising tips and strategies.

Q. What ad formats can I use? Can the ads contain animation? What are the ad specs?

A.  MDR’s Targeted Web Advertising currently supports all standard ad formats as defined by the IAB’s Universal Ad Package definition. These are the four standard banners (animated or non-animated) that you typically see on webpages (see chart below for details). 

NOTE: When submitting animated banners in Flash/Shockwave or HTML5 formats, we require that you also provide a static default image (in .GIF or .JPG format) so that if a browser isn’t capable of rendering the animated version, we can serve the default static image rather than having the ad be served as blank.

Creative Unit Name Initial Dimensions (WxH in pixels) Max Initial File Load Size File Type Max Video & Animation Frame rate Maximum Animation Length
(i.e., Flash™)

Medium Rectangle


40 KB

JPEG, Flash, GIF, or Animated GIF (limited to 3 loops)

24 fps




40 KB

JPEG, Flash, GIF, or Animated GIF (limited to 3 loops)

24 fps


Wide Skyscraper


40 KB

JPEG, Flash, GIF, or Animated GIF (limited to 3 loops)

24 fps




40 KB

JPEG, Flash, GIF, or Animated GIF (limited to 3 loops)

24 fps


Q. MDR’s Banner specs say that my banners can only be 40 KB in file size, but I’ve used banners that are greater in size in other campaigns. Why can’t I use these same banners in my MDR campaign?

A.  You can. The 40 KB recommendation is based on best practices to ensure your ad gets maximum exposure, as all sites are required to accept 40 KB as a minimum. While our ad server will allow banner ad creative to be up to 110 KB in file size, using these heavier files does create some risks since not all sites will accept this size.

If your banner is an animated creative and a site restricts the file size to the smaller 40 KB, then your default static image will be served instead of your animated version. If your creative is a static image and it’s larger than 50 KB, then we may be prohibited from serving your banners on sites that accept the minimum only. This might limit your overall reach. 

Understanding these risk factors, you are welcome to use banner creative larger than 40 KB. You can always supply us with two versions of the creative: one at the 40 KB limit and one that is larger, and we’ll serve them side by side and optimize to the better-performing creative.

Q. Can I use more than one version of a banner creative?

A.  Yes. We encourage testing multiple creative ad units. There is no additional charge for multiple creative versions of banners within a reasonable number.

Unless otherwise specified, we’ll initially weight and serve each banner creative equally (within each format specification). As clicks and conversions start to come in, your campaign will automatically optimize and begin to serve a greater percentage to the better-performing creative.

Q. I’m new to using Flash to create banners. Is there anything I need to know regarding Flash and online advertising?

A.  Yes. In order for Flash ads to work correctly across all of the ad serving networks and end websites, all Flash ads should be created with a button/movieclip, which will be above all elements. This movieclip/button should have the click event and then the click-through method in the event:

// button/movieclip click event
button_instancename.onRelease =function () {
getURL(_root.clickTAG,"_blank");//clickthrough method

This will ensure that the Flash banner ad is clickable during the animation and is clickable on all parts of the ad. This ensures the greatest compatibility and ensures your ad will always be clickable.

During our QC process when we’re uploading your banner ad creative, we’ll check to see if your Flash ad is behaving properly. Iif it needs to have this Click macro added, we’ll inform you before we go live with the campaign.

Getting Started

Q. How do I get started? What are the steps to order/begin a campaign?

A.  Getting started is easy!

Talk to your Account Executive about how you want to target and your budget allocation for your first month’s campaign. S/he can help size the total number of impressions available based on your target audience.

The next steps are filling in the Insertion Order, signing it, and forwarding to your Account Executive, along with your banner image assets.

We’ll set up the campaign, return conversion tracking code (if requested), and be ready to go in about one business day.

Q. I have questions about the Insertion Order. What do I need to fill in?

A.  The Insertion Order form captures all the unique details of your campaign. Below are all the key elements and their explanations.

Insertion Order (I/O)

This form needs to be completed and signed by the customer in order to start a campaign. Here are the items we need:

  1. Advertiser Contact Information – Name, address, email, phone, and website
  2. Flight Dates – This would be the beginning and end dates for the campaign. Campaigns typically run for 30 days.
  3. Names for Each of the Ads (Banners) – Provide names for each of the ads you’re going to use in your campaign. These will help you identify your results by the different creative on the campaign reporting. In addition to using some description of the creative itself, we also recommend including the image dimensions (i.e., 160x600) as part of the image name so you can tell them apart from other banners of the same creative but different size.

    Example of two different creative treatments banner names:
  4. Creative Size – The dimensions (width x height) of the banner ad.
  5. MDR Targeting – This is your desired target audience. You should pre-align your targeting audience selection with your Account Executive, who can help you fill in this section. You can make additional notes in the comment section at the bottom.
  6. Impressions – The impressions are the total budgeted amount of impressions (based on the campaign dollar amount) for the entire campaign. We’ll by default split the impressions across the different banners and pace the impressions over the life of the campaign unless you specify otherwise.
  7. Landing Page URL or 3PAS Ad Tags – This is the web page viewers will be directed to once the ad is clicked. If you wish to use your own ad server, then provide the third party ad server tags here instead of the landing page URL.
  8. Tracking Pixel (Optional) – If you want to track conversions, and we strongly recommend that you do, indicate on the I/O form that you want a tracking pixel. During the onboarding process, MDR will send you an email with an HTML/Java tracking code that you’ll need to place on the conversion confirmation page. For example, if you were driving people to register for a webinar and wanted to track conversions, you would place this code on the “Thank You” page directly after the person registers.

Q. How do I send you my online ad creative?

A.  Simply email them to the Web Trafficker contact on the I/O form, using the guidelines below:

    • The banners should be designed to IAB Universal Ad Package design specifications. This provides the guidelines for the four commonly used banner ad sizes. We recommend providing multiple banners of different sizes (no additional cost) as it gives the most flexibility in placing your ad on the inventory available. Typically, people provide the standard IAB banner ads:
      • 300x250 – Medium Rectangle
      • 180x150 –  Rectangle
      • 160x600 – Wide Skyscraper
      • 728x90 – Leaderboard
    • All images should be 40 KB or less in size in order to adhere to IAB Ad standard and be universally accepted on all sites. You can, however, use larger size banners—up to 110 KB—at your own risk.
    • Banner ads must be in .GIF, .JPG, or Flash (.SWF or .FLA) format. If the banner is a Flash, we’ll also need a static backup .GIF or .JPG image.

Q. How quickly can I launch a campaign?

A.  Very quickly. Once we have a signed Insertion Order and your targeting is defined, our typical turnaround time is 48 hours (2 business days).

If you’re tracking conversion, you’ll have to verify that you have placed the conversion tracking code on your site prior to the campaign starting.

Q.  Can I stop or pause a campaign once it’s started? How much time do I need to give you?

A.  Yes. Pausing a campaign is quick and easy.

Just email us using the contact information included on your Insertion Order form, and give us 48 hours notice (Monday through Friday). We’ll pause the campaign and work with you to determine how you want to move forward.

Q. Can I stop or pause/change out a banner ad creative once it’s started? How much time do I need to give you?

A.  Yes. Pausing/swapping out a banner creative a campaign is quick and easy.

Just email us using the contact information included on your Insertion Order form, and give us 48 hours notice (Monday through Friday). We’ll pause the campaign and work with you to determine how you want to move forward.

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