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Magnetic Focus Unleashed

By Mark Weiss, Senior Director of Engineering at Magnetic

At Magnetic, we’re focused on making search more useful to our customers. In our ideal world, search retargeting would put every online ad served in front of the customer most ready to respond to it. That’s why we are so excited to launch Magnetic Focus, our latest addition to our suite of search retargeting technologies. Focus is a self-service platform that challenges the boundaries of search, enabling agencies and search engine marketers to use display or text ads to reach consumers at any point in their online experience, even beyond the traditional search engine network.

For the Product and Engineering team, reaching new customers with new features means new innovation is required, so, building Focus has also been an opportunity for us to make our systems more capable, flexible and scalable. In particular, we have dramatically improved our database architecture and data processing, centering our system on MongoDB.

MongoDB lets us respond to retargeting requests extremely quickly, but with a powerful and flexible database that gives our system room to continuously evolve the logic behind targeting each search with the best matching ads.  In short, we have tremendous flexibility to extend the data model.

With a high degree of flexibility, we can also leverage the same database for the Focus application as we do for the Frame systems that respond to billions of requests a month to target searches and serve ads. This in turn enables a new capability in our system — the changes customers make to their campaigns are immediately available to the targeting and ad servers. We can also turn off campaigns immediately once they hit their quotas, making for a more efficient platform.

Another new capability in Focus (and a cutting-edge feature for the industry) is near real-time reporting of campaign metrics (currently refreshed every 5 minutes). To do this we are leveraging other features in MongoDB, including real-time counters to track ad impressions and clicks and map-reduce data processing features to generate reports at campaign, ad group and ad levels.

Finally, MongoDB also lets us scale to support more and more traffic by transparently adding inexpensive servers, typically described as “horizontal scaling” using “commodity hardware.” Inexpensive horizontal scaling is simply a necessity in today’s market, because every data-driven business such as ours seeks to reach as many customers as possible.

Focus is already a great value proposition for both display and SEM marketers seeking to reach customers beyond search results pages. Additionally, Focus will benefit many small businesses, helping them make their ad budgets go farther by reaching only the most motivated and interested customers with their ad spend.

The flexibility, self-service capabilities and scalability that we’ve built into the Focus platform enables advertisers of all sizes to successfully execute and maintain high-performing campaigns using Magnetic’s search retargeting.

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