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Digital Media Planner Guide – Evaluating Vertical Ad Networks

In my ongoing series on Online Media Planning the next big question we try to answer for Indian Online Media Planners is how to select between vertical ad networks to derive maximum RoI for your clients.

 

Before we get into the selection part its important to look back into the fundamentals of it. Vertical Ad Networks as found similarities with Vertical Portals are basically collection of media either forming set by similarity in content of media or kind of audience they aggregate. Eg of similar content vertical ad network would be Go Sinbad – Travel Ad Network which focuses on collection of travel inventory provided by likes of yatra, zoomtra, makemytrip etc. On the other hand there are audience targeting vertical ad networks like CXO being mooted by same people as behind Gosinbad which would aggregate CXO audience across channels.

 

As compared to Horizontal Ad networks on the other hand as name suggests are in game of aggregating media across channels to connect advertiser goals to audiences via use of effective technology.  They are more pro-advertiser and are dependent on getting higher RoI for advertiser from low quality inventory which a publisher cannot sell directly to advertisers by mean of technology with higher return for publishers being derivative of making their inventory perform for advertisers.

 

In a recent conference a known media planner was seen mentioning how vertical ad networks are much better then horizontal ad networks by mean of transparency in media buys they provide. Other than this line their was no second point which the planner was able to add the reason being if sites could perform on their own or provide scale then they would be competing for ad dollars directly on media plans instead of being aligned to an ad network. Importantly networks are looked as hedging tools by planners to hedge risk taken on spends on vertical portals and horizontal portals what it means in plain English is when the same site which they wanted to buy really comes as a collective buy with other 2-3 sites at a better negotiated average cost it makes an attractive buy for a planner.

 

Other than being collective buy of site in a bouquet one time they really haven’t shown performance depth to performance driven advertiser of today. Biggest issue which has been seen in the US with vertical ad networks is that’ they are attractive one time buy but generally people don’t tend to get performance and recently a big technology blog publisher in US which was aligned to new blog network have started running Tribal Fusion for serving relevant ads.

 

This is not to discourage media planners from buying vertical ad networks but to advice that you are responsible for buy you makes which is even in the case of horizontal ad networks but their opportunity to shift budget from one vertical to another vertical to see where your advertiser will get performance also is seen as major reason in US on selection of horizontals over vertical ad networks.

 

For selection of any media for your advertiser its important to answer one question what kind of RoI will it provide. Every Media Plan developed by you can be measured by these 3 quantifiable metrics for all digital media bought and sold

 

–         Scale – # of impressions, clicks you are able to buy to have higher share of voice for your advertiser in segment they want to advertise on net

–         Reach – number of potential clients in terms of unique users or potential clients you are able to expose your advertiser product.

–         Technology – In terms of micro level targeting  you are doing to find and map their potential clients with your advertisers products

 

If you are able to divide your media plans to these 3 metrics and quantify every dollar brought to Response or RoI you will see higher output and efficiency of your dollars spend to reach your client goals.

 

On basis of these 3 same metrics let’s look at how to evaluate Vertical Ad Network for your Media Plan

 

i)                    Total # of sites which are part of the vertical they command. Needs to be 50+ sites offered on selection to show depth of their vertical

ii)                   Do they provide access to 3 out of the top 10 comscore site for the vertical they operate

iii)                 What is the entry point for the user of vertical publishers eg search engine, directly going to site. If Search engine then sites page rank is more important and knowing top 5 pages inside the site is important instead of homepage views.

iv)                 When providing site selection what kind of data do they provide on each site also do they offer information on mutually exclusive audience. In order to make this effective you can request information on ability to do frequency cap across your media buy instead of on one site to improve RoI for your advertiser.

 

If you are able to find a vertical ad network which would meet this criteria will eventually translate as a calculative action buy on your media plan resulting in higher response rate for your advertiser for sure. 

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.


Contact Details

E-mail:siddharthpuri@gmail.com Call Me :+91-9910444460
August 2017
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