The Scoop on Ad Networks

Posted by on Oct 27, 2009 in Ad Networks | Comments Off on The Scoop on Ad Networks

Advertising Networks have been around for years, but are becoming much more popular. Ad Networks provide good value for advertisers who are looking to narrowly focus their online media buys to demographics or industry niches. Out of the $8 billion advertisers spent on display ads in 2007, 70% went directly to Web sites and 30% to ad networks. In 2008, the mix is projected to shift to 50-50. Display ad rates on premium media web sites are down about 20% so far in 2009.

I have had some good success with a Yahoo ad network, especially with display ads on their email pages. Although I have worked with some of the ad networks, I have not worked with all of them — there are now over 300 networks, and growing. For the novice advertiser, I recommend sticking to the ad networks associated with major search engines for initial forays, due to the pitfalls listed at the end of this post. A few of the more recognizable ad networks are listed here.

Ad Networks

  • Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange
  • Microsoft adCenter
  • Adobe’s Omniture
  • Yahoo
  • from AOL
  • ValueClick
  • Burst Media
  • Tribal Fusion
  • NetShelter Technology Media
  • Federated Media
  • Bidvertiser
  • And many more

Newly launched Media-based Ad Networks

  • Martha Stewart Living
  • IDG, the publishers of PC World and Macworld
  • Forbes
  • QuadrantOne (Gannett Co., Tribune Co., Hearst Corp., the New York Times Co + 25 other newspaper companies)

Ad Network Types

  1. Representative (or Rep) Networks: They represent the publications in their portfolio, with full transparency for the advertiser about where their ads will run. They typically promote high quality traffic at market prices and are heavily used by brand marketers. The financial model is revenue sharing.

  2. Blind Networks: These companies offer low pricing to direct marketers in exchange for those marketers relinquishing control over where their ads will run. Blind networks achieve their low pricing through large bulk buys of typically remnant inventory combined with campaign optimization and ad targeting technology. Many ad networks won’t tell advertisers precisely where their ads are appearing, because the Web sites they work with want to avoid driving down the rates of their main pages. The financial model is arbitrage.
  3. Targeted Networks: Sometimes called “next generation” or “2.0” ad networks, these focus on specific targeting technologies such as behavioral or contextual. Targeted networks specialize in using consumer click stream data to enhance the value of the inventory they purchase.

Pitfalls of ad networks

  • Potential of buying ads on pages that could include inappropriate or risqué content
  • Content providers selling more space than they have with invisible ads through invisible iframes. See
  • A few media companies, such as ESPN and Turner Broadcasting System, have stopped using most networks
  • Some ad networks have been considered to be malware in the computing community (e.g. Yahoo’s Right Media); programs including SpyBot, AdAware, Norton, Symantec, and others list Right Media and provide the tools to remove it

Jean Steckler
Steckler eMarketing
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