Green graphic with three hands coming out of different devices, each holding a sign with a letter: "M", "E", and "B"

Drive relevance with multi-element bidding

For marketers, data-driven advertising is one of the most important tools to reach not only more customers but also the right ones. The key to successful data-driven advertising rests in the ability to use relevant data to connect with the most valuable impressions. And the new multi-element bidding (MEB) feature on The Trade Desk helps you do just that. Read the article to find out more.

For today’s marketers, data-driven advertising has become one of the most important tools for targeting customers. It allows you to reach your intended audiences with precision, which can lead to greater engagement and ROI. The key to successful data-driven campaigns lies in the ability to use relevant data to connect with the most valuable impression for your goals. That’s why we’re excited to announce a major upgrade to our decisioning logic called multi-element bidding (MEB).

Originally released in Audience Predictor, MEB works to increase precision and performance by prioritizing bidding on impressions that match the most relevant data segments to your campaign goals. This feature allows marketers to reach their target audiences more effectively and achieve their desired results.


To really understand the value of MEB, we considered all the challenges you face today in using data to build audiences. One big hurdle is grouping together multiple data segments to reach your ideal audience.

For example, a consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand selling baby products may want to reach people who are new parents, shop at Target, and are between the ages of 25 and 40. To reach that audience, the brand would have to layer together a segment for each characteristic listed — “A25-40,” “new parents,” and Target shopper. Since there’s a data cost to every segment used, this task can be cost-prohibitive for you. It can also limit your scale, as every data element must be present to bid on an impression.

MEB helps to solve these challenges by introducing a revolutionary approach to applying and buying data. Instead of being stuck making a trade-off — where you must choose between cost and value to establish ROI — you can use MEB to layer in more relevant data, thereby making smarter bidding decisions.


When a user selects audience segments in the platform, they can select multiple segments using either “and” or “or” statements. For example, imagine you are a user and your target audience is: adults 18 to 45, females, runs three times a week.

  • When using an "and" statement across the three segments, we will only bid when we see all three segments: A18-45 and female and runs three times a week. The more segments added to the “and” statement, the more scale will tighten.
  • When using an “or” statement across the three segments, we will bid when we see any one of those segments. Using an “or” statement with multiple segments will typically help scale.


MEB lets you use the data you need to reach your desired audience while also optimizing cost and scale. Here's an example:

  • A fitness brand is promoting a new high-end running shoe.
  • The target audience is individuals who are between the ages of 18 and 45, have a household income (HHI) of over $150,000, and run three times a week.
  • Our platform will use MEB to evaluate the available data present for each impression and prioritize spending on impressions with the most relevant data.

Before MEB, using "or" logic would tell the platform to look for a single data segment to be present to bid. If the platform saw an impression that reached an “A18-45,” it would bid on it, and it would not differentiate that impression from a more relevant impression that matched multiple segments — such as a person who has an “HHI of $150,000” and “runs three times a week.”

This upgraded approach balances targeting precision with scale by using more data in decisioning while also allowing the flexibility to bid on impressions with any combination of relevant data elements present. What’s more, we worked with our data providers to introduce a new pricing mechanism that enables you to use more data while maintaining lower costs. Instead of layering the full data cost for every data segment used, we will now fractionally compensate applied data segments based on their relevance and value to the campaign.


  1. It allows you to use more relevant data to make smarter bidding decisions, while keeping data costs low.
  2. It increases precision and performance by serving your ad to the most relevant audience while also ensuring scale.
  3. It improves data segment accuracy and quality across our data marketplace, as data providers are now rewarded for the relevance and value of their segments.


To take full advantage of MEB, here are a few suggestions for building audiences.

  1. Expand your targeting logic: If you are building your audiences with "and" logic but are struggling with scale, try building out an audience with "or" logic and let MEB find the most relevant impressions while also balancing scale.
  2. Add a blend of regular and specialized segments: Since MEB compensates segments fractionally based on relevance, you can now experiment with adding retail and specialty segments that may have previously been cost-prohibitive.
  3. Add more data when building audiences: Where previously you may have tried to cherry-pick the most relevant data to add to your audience, now you can add more relevant segment categories and let MEB take the guesswork out of finding the most valuable data for your campaign.

If you want to drive relevance and improve performance, MEB is a major upgrade. By using MEB, you can use more relevant data to accurately target ads to users who are more likely to be interested in them, which can yield overall better results for your campaign.

Reach out to your account manager at The Trade Desk to find out more.