Archive for the ‘ad networks’ Category

Ad networks creating network building tools for publishers

April 21, 2009

It’s the first day of ad:tech 09 in San Francisco, and so far it looks like the reports coming out are dealing with a common theme. How can publishers get in on the ad network game themselves, not just relying on using them for remnant inventory. Publishers are realizing that the times have changed and media consumption has shifted to the long tail of niche sites and visits to “destination” sites are starting to decline. That is a big blow to the only revenue model most sites have, advertising.

Publishers are looking at ways to get those visits back under their umbrella of monetization. How else, but networks. As a business person, it makes a lot of sense. Aggregate content and make it easier to access the mass of niches that said publishers can access. As a media person, the last thing I want to see is more networks. There are so many networks out there already and very few can actually differentiate themselves. 

That being said, vertical/niche networks have their space in the media buying world and it will be fascinating to see if the “mass of niches” can compete with the large networks like Value Click and Platform A. Advertisers are looking to access the niches in a cost effective manner, and networks are a great way to do just that. Overall, this should help online marketing reach individuals in a more targeted manner.

Why online has the advantage with the mass of niches

April 14, 2009

Chris Anderson made a strong impression on me with his great book “The Long Tail”. As pretty much everyone knows, it’s about how the long tail to formed and we are no longer tied to the mega-hit. The sum of the tail can be just as big as a hit. That same concept applies to using media to target specific audiences. Traditional media used to be the way to get reach and frequency and online was never in the same sentence. 

That has all changed with the concept of mass individualism. Individuals who used to be seen as “outcasts” no longer have to rely on geographic location to find like-minded friends. The internet enables them to find people near and far with similar interests. We can thank MySpace really, for making that the norm. I may be be thousands of miles apart, a different race, 30 years younger and have a much lower income than “Phil” who also likes The Black Crowes. According to the premise of MySpace, we should be friends since we have a common interest. This concept quickly grew and Facebook went one step further and said you should be friends with people you actually know, but another post.

Now there are thousands or groups and interests that equate to a big audience.  These niches are based upon common interests expressed through the internet. From a marketing standpoint, the question is quickly becoming, how do you reach them. How do you reach the mass of niches? The answer is not traditional media. The media landscape has already fragmented and traditional media outlets mostly missed the chance to innovate. Digital media on the other hand is in a much better place to be able to aggregate the niches to hit the masses. Ad networks aggregate sites and forums aggregate individuals with similar interests to name a few ways digital can create a “mass of the niches”. 

Traditional media will not go away, it will change and still be effective for certain brands/products/campaigns. It just won’t be seen as the only way to reach the masses as we have seen, there is a new mass and a better way to speak with them.

Some Credit to BigSoccer.com, but media waste too

April 1, 2009

BigSoccer.com must be doing a behavioral targeting campaign since I am constantly seeing ads promoting ManU kits and the latest boots. I recently went to a soccer site to see when the Chelsea vs. Liverpool Champions League matches were, so I am guessing that is what started the “targeting”. It’s better to see ads that are relevant to my interests than dancing people and “go back to school” ads constantly.

Now, there comes a point when it’s too much. I can’t tell you how many soccer ads I have seen today. To me, there is a diminishing return on this campaign and it has reached that point. If they are using multiple networks, which I assume they are, that’s great to get some more sites, but BANNER burnout occurs much faster. I am guessing they did not net down the sites so that each network have exclusive inventory, even though all say they do, it’s such a small portion. So here I am seeing the same ad over and over.

Ad networks are a great way to target individuals online, after all, they allow marketers to target the user, not the site. That being said, marketers must be careful about over using them and actually doing more harm  than good to their name. Marketers must look at using multiple networks simultaneously carefully, so they don’t waste media spend and annoy their potential customer. Or flight the networks on a trial to see which ones work the best then move forward with a select few or one. Or use a third-party ad server which helps eliminate the issue completely.

I give Bigsoccer.com credit for targeting me as a consumer, but have a sneaky suspicion they are wasting a fare share of their media budget by utilizing multiple networks and not being able to cap overall impressions to an individual user.

MSNBC offers self-serve with AdReady

October 2, 2008

MSNBC offers small local and regional advertisers the opportunity to get around there traditionally large minimums. MSNBC has partnered with AdReady to allow smaller budget marketers access to their inventory. The advertiser can build an ad through Adready and then select the targeting and run a campaign for as little as $50 per day.

This a big step in the local online space that search currently dominates with its targeting abilities. I admit the creative for the ad units is not the greatest, but it’s free which is nice compared to paying someone to design the ad unit. If more and more large publishers join this model, it’s likely that the creative will improve as well. This is a big win for online advertising in general. Give the power to the SMB that large companies have.

A lot fewer dancing mortgage ads

September 29, 2008

As the “Bailout” has been turned down, it made me think of the last time I saw a “dancing mortgage ad”, you know the ones that no one likes but work well for companies like Experian. It seems that the economy is taking its toll officially, as the dancing banners used to be everywhere. So you can have your personal thoughts on the bailout plan and whether it should have been passed or not, but at least we don’t have more misleading, crappy mortgage ads. Maybe I can blame them for the economy. People constantly saw lower than realistic rates, and got on the phone with a sales rep and talked into a house they could not afford. There, the reason we are in a rough patch, if not worse, is the dancing banners no one liked anyways. Now they are hated.

Good thing Google has ad network to compete

August 22, 2008

Although, about 70% of people use Google, it is still only 9th in terms of reaching the masses on the internet. Google’s ad network however reaches 81% which allows Google to get more ads in front of more people. As Google continues to enhance their targeting and reporting capabilities in the AdSense program, it will only increase the likeliness of improved results for advertisers. Advertisers will begin to use Google’s content network similar to other ad networks like Tribal Fusion, Specific Media and ValueClick. They have already made large strides recently with capping and viewthrough conversion tracking.

Ad networks and properties reach

Ad networks and properties reach

The chart from eMarketer shows the top properties and networks by reach.

Google offering view-through in AdSense

August 8, 2008

Google announced that they are going to set cookies on sites that offer AdSense ads so that advertisers can now see if the visitor goes to the site without clicking. This is Google’s first move in the “ad server” space and hopefully many more will come. The tool also allows advertisers to cap how many times the ad is viewed by a vistor.

I would like to see them offer this service for PPC ads as well to provide some more data about search as a branding tool. It would also be nice for them to open an ad server that is free, which isn’t too far out of the realm since it seems like Google is willing to give free tools away in return for data. What better way to get costs, CTR’s, dayparting, and geotargeting data from advertisers and publishers than offer a free ad server.

That may be the next step, knowing Google they are most likely way ahead of that.

Google opens Ad network to third party tags

May 20, 2008

Google announced Monday that it is opening its ad network to certified third parties. This will allow advertisers to run their campaigns more effectively through the AdWords channel and use third party tracking and technology. Google has done a good job of monetizing its network thus far, but by opening it up to approved third parties, there is more money to be grabbed. By allowing specialists such as rich media companies Eyewonder and Point Roll and Ad serving companies Mediaplex and Doubleclick, there will be more revenue generated for these parties to share.

The approved partners thus far are:

  • Pointroll
  • Eyewonder
  • Eyeblaster
  • Interpolls
  • Doubleclick Rich Media
  • Mediaplex
  • Doubleclick

Note the omission of Atlas, Microsoft left out.

 

Smart buying or Gaming the system?

April 29, 2008

There has been a lot of talk recently about Google and CPG marketers around the value of search as it relates to branding. However, as brands and retailers bid on the same keywords, it drives up the cost and ultimately hurts both parties. So, some companies have looked more closely at co-op search marketing where certain terms are off limits to various parties involved, thus reducing the competition and costs.

Other companies have tried to create search copy that does not elicit a click, searching for the ‘free impression’ but Google’s algorithm will reduce rank or remove completely if there is not enough click volume. After all, Google knows how they make money and will only serve ads that are likely to get clicks.

This question is also raised is in the ad network space. If I can buy inventory on a CPC basis and remove any call to action, it is likely that the CTR will decrease dramatically, thus extending the reach of the buy for branding purposes. I see this as smart buying. The current situation in the market allows people to complete this kind of buy, of course, with client approval. If the client is expecting clicks, you better have a prominent call to action, brand logo in every frame and other ways to increase the CTR. Overall, the industry is young and it seems like Google wrote the rules first, but that doesn’t mean that they will be around forever and that they are the golden rule for all online media. Until I see that this is truly gaming the system and unfairly punishing someone, I think it is a smart strategy for certain campaigns.

Is economic downturn good for the safety of ad networks?

April 22, 2008

With the recent or not-so recent in some eyes downturn in the economy, marketers are beginning to look at every dollar spent and what the return is. They are no longer just forking over dollars for sponsorships and “new cool things” to try and be associated with the next up-and-comer. Enter ad networks. As ad networks have grown and become more sophisticated regarding targeting, reporting and accountability, marketers are seeing the value in using them to reach their target audience online much more cost effectively than traditional mass media and portal or site specific display advertising.

This downturn in the economy could not have come at a better time for ad networks that are just starting or for those that have been around for awhile. They have a strong platform to build from, and marketers are shifting budgets to more accountable and less expensive media, which ad networks are. So as many people said ignore the click rate a few moths ago, it now appears that the economy has driven the click rate back to the drivers seat.