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.