On the Lookout for a New Kind of Ad Network

Posted by Chas Edwards on March 29th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I'm headed to ad:tech hoping to get a better sense of the value ad networks might bring to publishers and brands.  After listening to pitches from around 50 of them over the past 5 years, I have to admit I've become a bit cynical.

Publishers are disappointed with ad-network CPMs.  Especially when they focus on how much the ad nets, exchanges and servers are skimming off every transaction -- $4 of every $5 [http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/26064.asp], according to Jordan Edmiston analyst Tolman Geff.  And they are often deeply disappointed by the quality of the advertising they deliver, leading large publishers such as CBS/CNET [http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20091214/cbs-tells-ad-networks-its-going-cold-turkey/] and ESPN [http://paidcontent.org/article/419-espn-pulls-the-plug-on-ad-network-and-encourages-others-to-do-the-same/] to abandon networks altogether.

Meanwhile brands are recognizing the need to buy something other than clicks, especially when they get under the hood [http://chasnote.com/2009/11/18/natural-born-clickers-and-the-rest-of-us/] to see who’s mostly clicking on banners: Internet users who skew heavily toward low household incomes and spend more than their fair share at gambling and career-advice sites.

I'm looking forward to an education on next-generation approaches – especially firms that are doing more than serving CPC campaigns to browsers with cookies they haven’t seen in a while.  If you represent one of those firms, please track me down!

7 Responses to “On the Lookout for a New Kind of Ad Network”

  1. Evan says:

    Hi Chas,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with typical CPC delivery not being the answer for publishers. I'm confident that you'll find some innovative networks who are using a hybrid model of behavioral targeting, re-targeting, and geo-targeting to achieve a more relevant experience for site visitor. And - it is vital that this is delivered to both publishers and advertisers on a transparent platform.

  2. Chas Edwards says:

    Evan--Who are some of the most interesting companies in this space? I'm hoping to find some of them at ad:tech. Thanks!

  3. Hello Chas, Thank you for writing about the ad networks of the past. Enter the new Ad Network who are partners with their publishers and clients. The problems with the old ad networks is not offering transparency and lack of access to site level data, and more things too numerous to mention. I would rather focus on the present and the future. The new Ad Network looks like Navigate Boomer Media.

    Navigate Boomer Media launched last Fall and is the largest boomer digital ad network representing 116 boomer websites with 112 million monthly uniques delivering 1.8 billion monthly page impressions.

    Yes on geo targeting and full campaign transparency at site level. If you want a boomer who fly fishes in California, we got em. If you want a boomer who knits in Iowa, we got em. If you want a vibrant, educated, upscale female boomer, we reach them. We offer access to the premium boomer audience spending $2 Trillion annually, buying 80% of luxury travel and 7 cars over the age 50. They have the expendable income and they are the fastest growing segment on line.

    We have experienced immediate success because we offer the innovative technology, have professional former Fortune 500 executives as Sales Directors, as well as full campaign transparency. I welcome the chance to visit with you on the phone or have coffee. Nancy, CEO 310-437-3813.

  4. Chas Edwards says:

    Nancy--Thanks for the comment! I'll reach out to you offline to find time to meet at ad:tech.

  5. Jay says:

    I'm not a big fan of ad networks, however in your opening you mention that Publishers are "disappointment with CPM's".

    Consider this, how many publishers who use ad networks to either augment their ad revenue or depend solely on ad networks for ad revenue have more then one ad networks ad tags on their site.

    The thinking behind that strategy (I'll run the ad network campaign that brings me the highest net effective CPM) although seemingly sound has caused CPM's to plummet.

    Why? It is in large part due to the sales side of the equation.

    If you were to go shopping, and looking for a particular brand and model number of a product and 3 stores on the block or at the mall carried the same model number and brand, wouldn't it make sense for you to negotiate the best price you can playing on store's price of another.

    The same is true, for the AdNetwork ad sales side. If one site (think of how many use multiple ad tags) has 3 network ad tags, then a media buyer either at an agency or on the client side will play on ad network pricing of another, driving CPM's down to the floor. Winning the business is less a function of targeting (every viable ad network, can run Behavioral, Contextual, Retargeted Geotargeted, Transparent campaigns) and more a function of price.

    The primary reason media buyers buy ad networks is for "inexpensive reach". Hence all major adnetworks so proudly talk of their #'s Uniques, Page Views, Impression levels and their relative ComScore rankings. The less expensive the reach the better.

    If publishers really want to generate higher CPM's with Ad Networks they should consider one ad network only, or do without ad networks period, as CBS and ESPN did.

    If you find an ad network that has exclusive representation contracts with their publisher partners, who don't have to go out an buy ad inventory to fill orders, then you have truly found an ad network that can bring both publishers and advertisers value.

  6. [...] my latest post on the ad:tech blog: “I’m headed to ad:tech hoping to get a better sense of the value ad networks might [...]

  7. Clo says:

    I am selling a Full Conference ticket for Ad Tech San Francisco, CA. (Moscone Center North)

    Expo: April 20-21, 2010 | Conference: April 19-21, 2010

    Individual Passes Early Bird

    Through 3/19 Price $1,195

    Advance 3/20 - 4/18 $1,395

    Onsite 4/19 - 4/21 $ 1,595

    ad:tech Conference Pass

    (includes all ad:tech sessions, keynotes, lunch, exhibit hall and special events*)

    info closf@ymail.com