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!