Posts Tagged ‘ad networks’

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.


Some Credit to, but media waste too

April 1, 2009 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 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.

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 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.

ESPN cuts ties with Ad Networks

March 25, 2008 has made a bold move and cut ties with ad networks. They are taking the stand that arbitrage and algorithms that are the current basis of online advertising is not for them. It will be interesting to see if ESPN’s cry for other large sites to follow suit is heard and accepted or if they continue the mixed sales channel of direct sales and filling remnant inventory with ad networks.

Clearly, there are two groups that are forming within the online marketing world. The math driven data side and the premium brand inventory side and ad networks are being caught in the middle. I see arguments for both parties as to why they are right, but unfortunately I can only see both for large sites such as ESPN. There are thousands of smaller sites that rely on ad networks to pump ads through the system to support their sites as they don’t have a full time sales force to sell premium sponsorships or placements.

This will be an interesting intersection in the online display advertising future to watch and see how other large premium content sites react and if they take the stance of ESPN, or still allow ad networks to sell their remnant inventory. This might be the first domino in a long line of moves that shake up the display advertising model, and I am sure the big boys of Yahoo and Google are taking note, not to mention the likes of, Specific Media, Valueclick and the likes.

Ad networks paving the way for the future of TV advertising?

January 24, 2008

Are ad networks doing all the grunt work and learning for the future of TV advertising? As online advertising through ad networks has its trials and tribulations of targeting, aggregating and measuring TV networks need to pay close attention. If the model becomes standardized and accepted, media buyers will demand that they get the same kind of targeting and capabilities that they can get through online advertising.

Offline media paved the way for the origins of online advertising as all the original metrics from offline buying carried over to the online world such as reach. But it seems that we are getting close to the catch phrase of “crossing the chasm” where online will propel itslef further into unchartered territories of tracking things like engagement. As more and more “brand” advertisers shift dollars to online and interactive marketing, they will demand better trackability, results, and just plain cool stuff that can be tracked. Think UGC here.

TV executives better keep a close eye on behavioral targeting and engagement measuring as the questions will begin to rise and answers will be demanded. Video on demand is there, pre-roll video is there, it’s just a matter of time before cable TV offers behavioral targeting. I hope, as it means ads that might actually offer something I might be interested in.

Ad “not’works or Ad networks??

December 13, 2007

There seems to be more and more reports about ad networks and the struggles that marketers are facing using them. This could be because they are becoming mainstream and there is just more use and now more reported struggles, or the networks are struggling to stay ahead of the interactive marketing world and advertiser demands. If you look at web analytics, there have been huge gains made from the original “hits” metric to the reporting that Omniture and Web Trends can offer.

I believe that the Ad networks need to make some changes in the way that they operate if they want to grow and develop. I see a few fundamental issues with current state of the ad networks.

  1. A lack of disclosure
  2. Placement difficulties
  3. Unreliable network data
  4. Struggling with the “O” word: Optimization
  5. Poor service

I would like a network to show me a list of sites my ads would appear on, with strong confidence an ad about Honey Baked Ham wouldn’t appear next to content about vegetarian dishes, to the appropriate amount of people who fit the criteria, and then be able to further optimize to only those who have been to my site, and on top of all that; be able to work with me on making a better campaign.

If a network can improve in those five areas, I think they will be a successful network and survive the sudden influx of ad networks.

Ad networks provide branding too..

December 11, 2007

A recent article discusses how Goodby, Silverstein and Partners used Tribal Fusion for a branding campaign for HD DVD. The display advertising was used to promote the difference between HDTV and Blu-Ray technology. Most believe ad networks are only good for direct response campaigns because it allows the advertiser to get a wider reach of people and can be purchased on a CPA or CPC, but not traditionally as targeted as a vertical niche site such as Goodby reported CTR’s 4x better than any other network and double the average campaign total.

This is not a surprising statistic as networks now have the technology for targeting through demographic, psychographic, and behavioral targeting. Direct response campaigns have been taking advantage of this technology for awhile and now branding campaigns are utilizing the same technology. Networks will not replace the vertical sites completely in the branding buy, but can definitely expand the reach and value of the buy.

David Jacobs (SVP – US Publisher Services) of had a similar message that networks and site specific buys complement each other. As branding dollars shift online, ad networks offer a competitive way to get a broader reach at a usually lower CPM than a site specific buy. As data is becoming more granular, it is easier to track which site/placement/ad is working and a network buy allows more testing to try and find more of those optimized places reside on the web.

Overall, this is good news for interactive marketing. Two different ways of buying media forming a synergistic media plan.