Archive for June, 2008

Do Websites Require Ad Networks in India

Last couple of days i have been touching base with lot of online publishers across length and breadth of our country and have been hearing lot of commentary on how ESPN decided to go off Specific Media ad network and go solo in selling their inventory. Lot of them echoed they might want to consider following the same path others questioned the whole ad network model and how its in favor of advertisers instead of publishers.

Wont like to iterate what my response to them on same was but what would like to say is one needs to strongly understand dynamics of the industry before deciding what is best for them. Indian Internet Industry or even global for that matter works on lot of different metrics where for large advertisers agencies act as middle man on planners for finding out best performing avenues for spending clients marketing budgets.

Now this performance metrics could be audience reach rather matching of demographics, traffic generated to their message site, actual performance if its a commerce campaign etc.

Now lot of publishers will say we may measure up completely on all these metrics then why arent we able to access these budgets??

i) Agencies dont like to work with lot of publishers. Its too much logistics to manage as ops is last thing they want to specialize on.

ii)Agencies need scale, single point of contact and ability to undo its wrong mid of plan by change of demographics or variety etc. Which in case can mean moving completely from one publisher to another

iii) Agency like to minimize risk on media plans by mitigating to buy directly on CPA and limiting buy on CPM on clients favorites like Yahoo!,Rediff,MSN even their they negotiate on CPC etc.

iv) Agencies dont like to buy user generated content. even with all Web 2.0 – Forums,Blogs etc are still not hit with them for their marketing spends(except performance advertisers again CPA driven buy)

How do ad networks help

In India performance is not the tag or help optimize your inventory is still not some what criteria for selection of ad network. Its pure access to kind of advertisers and their ability to consume scale of your page view inventory.

How to evaluate an Adnetwork for your Site

Whenever you talk to an adnetwork please have following metrics to see if they are the best choice for you or not.

Q1. How many impressions can they consume from you per month?

Like all 10 million page views given can be consumed or not)

Q2. How big is their sales team? How is it spread?

This question will let you understand their accessibility to advertisers and pressence in all major cities like Delhi,Mumbai, Bangalore,Chennai etc talk about their reach.

Q3. Ask what advertiser campaigns are currently in system?

If you get answers on all DOTCOM’s like MMT,Simplymarry.com,naukri.com etc then you should again be little wary as these advertisers are one of the easier access as they are completely performance driven and wont value your inventory for its demographics etc.

Q4. Do they have a self serve model for publisher management?

This is essential for you to monitor on day to day basis performance of your inventory given to them etc.

Q5. Lastly try to find out what special they do to train sales team on advantages of having you on their network?

Do they prepare any media kit for your website announce to advertisers etc.

Till the time you have money and reach with agencies where marketing budgets are low hanging fruit it still makes sense to setup own sales team and control like ESPN otherwise you should take advantage of these ad networks working more as sales representation businesses in India to keep driving revenues from Internet Properties you own.

Is Facebook worth spending Advertising Dollars

Over last couple of months i have spent lot of times in measuring performance of advertising campaigns on facebook targeted towards Indian IP audiences. But really except for one really dont have a success story which proves Facebook banner display inventory really works for advertisers.

But before we go into details of it works or doesnt work for an advertiser we need to understand the audience available. As most of the campaigns have run are from Indian audience target perspective what we really understand about the rthem on facebook till now is

i) Primarily Sec-A

ii) Average age Male – 23 Female 25

iii) Average time spent on site per user > 45+ Minutes per day

So the audience really sounds prime to be focus of any type of advertiser let it be brand or performance but then why dont we see success.  Now before i start talking about it just to make sure we are not talking about facebook apps, viral marketing etc here. We are looking at facebook from pure display banner/rich media advertising perspective.

What we have seen till now is very high level of engagement of users with facebook as a product ignoring anything outside the framework completely.  what does it translate in terms of CTR(click through rates)

If its a targeted campaign you may see CTR between 0.03-0.04% but in case you run an un targeted campaign it in terms of targeting all Indian IP users then we see CTR between 0.05-0.07%.  If you just go by these numbers then it break laws of all fundamentals one learns as a media planner where targeting is considered god.  But one needs to understand the property more in general instead of just classifying it part of social networking channel. If you compare facebook to myspace or linkedin biggest difference what you see is facebook is just a communication tool between people. Its not generating any content like myspace etc. Which creates a big difference in engaging user to think and then react in terms of suggestive advertising. If you look at properties on offer at facebook compared to Yahoo! Mail for instance, If i was to advertise will select Yahoo! mail over facebook if during pure vanilla display advertising any day why as facebook just offer 120X600, 728X90 which are based on user/community profile pages or search pages etc.

No advertising on Profile page in terms of 300X250 or Logout page etc, We have tried advertising via facebook apps and they tend to give better CTR as compared to what is offered by direct advertising on facebook property. Biggest thing what i have realized is if you want to use facebook to derive traffic to your own property then it will not really meet your RoI set out but if you look at the medium to interact with your product audience,engage get feedback and work on reputation management then display advertising on facebook can complement the actions. for instance if you would like to promote an event or create a community around your product and  then you advertise it to facebook users using the ad inventory available you will see better return and measurement shouldnt be clicks or CTR but number of users aggregated to your community and ARPU generated through a defined 3 months activity plan after aggregation of user.

If you are a brand and have defined resources to manage on going relationship with audiences then it makes complete sense for you to take facebook route and explore interaction opportunities with your audience but if you plan to do a one off blitz and looking for return then trust me facebook is not your cup of tea. Will be glad to share more learning if anyone needs help.


Contact Details

E-mail:siddharthpuri@gmail.com Call Me :+91-9910444460
June 2008
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