ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – February

With 2011 in full force, our technology development teams have been working hard to make sure ZEDO’s customers have the most innovative tools on the online advertising scene. Here is a glimpse of just a few things they accomplished this month:

Demographics targeting in rank ads
We’ve added a new column in Rank ads to show demographics targeted to an ad.

Change Logs in Creative Pacing Graph
Our creative pacing chart shows 30 days’ serving trends.  We’ve added the useful information from the Change Logs so you can see which changes impacted the ad serving volume.


Country reach frequency report
This is an enhancement to our reach frequency report. This report will now give you unique impressions and clicks for each country.

Recently Visited Pages
Want to customize your ZEDO landing page? This feature will allow you to choose a landing page design and give you a quick navigation to your “Most Viewed” and “Recently Visited” pages:

Expandable ads using Iframe tags
You will now be able to run Expandable Ads using standard IFRAME tags.  This long-awaited feature lets publishers serve valuable, rich formats with ease, without requiring a tag change on their website.  For now, we provide support for “User Initiated” and “Auto Initiated” expandable ads using standard IFRAME tags. We will be rolling out IFRAME tag support for other rich media ad types in upcoming releases.

Part 2: Ad Networks vs Remnant Ad Exchanges: The Publisher Perspective


Last week I explored the possibility of ad exchanges threatening ad networks from the point of view of ad agencies. Now, I compare ad networks to ad exchanges from the publisher perspective. This week I will compare ad networks to remnant exchanges; next week ad networks vs new premium exchanges.


Most ad networks are remnant networks. Most high quality publishers have a sales team selling advertising.  These publishers give the ad networks the remaining or remnant impressions that they don’t sell. Ad networks and remnant ad exchanges sell these impressions at the best price they can get. Today they compete aggressively for this remnant impression business. Examples are Advertising.com, Casale and Interclick on the network side and AppNexus and AdMeld on the exchange side.

I want to detail how, in my experience, publishers compare the ad networks to the remnant exchanges. Generally they tell me they consider four things:

  1. Fill rate
  2. Percentage of high CPM campaigns
  3. Ad quality
  4. Competition with the publisher’s sales reps

Let’s examine how remnant ad networks stack up to remnant ad exchanges in each of these areas.

1. Fill Rates
Publishers want each network to sell a large percentage of the remnant impressions they are given, not just a few. Ad networks rely on sales reps to meet buyers in person or on the phone. That means getting into taxis to visit agencies, creating PowerPoint presentations, etc. Ad exchanges, however, rely on technology, not sales reps, to “meet” advertisers.  Therefore ad exchanges with a strong user interface, or solid integrations with Advertiser Technologies, have the upper hand and can fill more impressions. Ad exchanges today already find and sign up more remnant advertisers than ad networks do.
Exchanges win. (Exchanges 1, Networks 0)

2. Percentage of high CPM campaigns
Each ad exchange or ad network usually finds some high quality advertisers that will pay the publisher decent CPMs. The rest of the volume they sell goes to Performance Advertisers that pay the publisher low CPMs. Publishers, of course, like exchanges/networks that have more high CPM campaigns. Ad networks are better than ad exchanges at this. Why? Today’s ad exchanges are used mainly by performance advertisers who buy mass volume of inventory, or buy Behavioral/Retargeting in tiny volumes. Both pay relatively low CPMs because the supply is high.  Networks however have sales teams that visit agencies and convince them to buy on their sites. Networks therefore do better at finding and convincing the high paying advertisers.
Networks win. (Exchanges 1, Networks 1)

3. Ad quality
Publishers want high quality ads to appear on their site. They love to see Coke or Ford ads on their site but hate to see low quality “work from home” or diet ads. Most of today’s ad exchanges sell to Performance Marketers who have terrible looking ads: just like infomercials on TV. Performance advertisers use creative with anything that looks odd and costs very little to produce. Therefore ad exchanges which rely more on performance advertisers have more low quality creative. Currently, ad networks have higher ad quality for 2 reasons: (1) They focus on selling to high quality brand advertisers who use agencies to produce good creative and (2) they invest more in inspecting creative because they know that premium sites need this. So overall their ad quality tends to be higher than the ad quality of the ad exchanges.
Networks win. (Exchanges 1, Networks 2)

4. Competition with Publisher Sales Reps
Publishers hate hearing that their sales rep almost won an advertiser at $5 CPM, but that the advertiser bought the inventory from an ad network at $1 CPM instead. This happens because both Ad Networks and Remnant Ad Exchanges compete with the sales team and sell at a lower price. Advertisers are increasingly aware that if a site asks for $5 CPM they can probably buy that site through an ad network or ad exchange for $1 CPM. Both the ad networks and ad exchanges try to argue that they don’t compete. Until a year or two ago they used to avoid competition by selling “blind”: they wouldn’t disclose the site’s name to advertisers. But now technologies like AdXpose and DoubleVerify show advertisers what sites they are running on so networks are no longer blind. Therefore, today most ad networks and ad exchanges have started openly display the site names and prices. To prevent this competition some premium publishers like CBS have gone as far as banning all ad networks and ad exchanges from selling their sites’ inventory (ClickZ covered this in “CBS Interactive Quits Ad Networks“). In summary currently, publishers see ad networks and exchanges as both equally bad in competing with their sales team. So a tie here. They are looking for a new type of exchange that can help their ad sales team sell rather than compete with it.
Tie. (Exchanges 1, Networks 2)

The winner: Ad Networks
As you have seen, from the publisher perspective, ad networks currently win the battle for remnant impressions. They do this by focusing on the high end: selling more high CPM campaigns and getting higher quality ads. That is why ad networks still exist and do well.

Change is coming soon
This will all change very soon.  I predict that we will see a new type of “Premium” ad exchange in the near future that will focus on high quality brand advertisers. It will copy the networks’ focus on only the best quality sites, but add the value of exchanges: the ability to find more advertisers. I think this type of ad exchange will take high end business away from networks, leaving them in trouble and even killing some.

Next Blog: The New Premium Ad Exchanges vs Ad Networks. Stay tuned!

Part 1: Exchanges vs. Ad Networks: The agency perspective

A big question for me and the industry is whether exchanges are better than ad networks. What do you think? Let me start by comparing the two from the advertiser perspective. I am focusing only on brand advertisers, and ad networks that sell high CPM brand advertising on good quality, brand-safe sites.
When I first started talking to agencies, I was unsure whether they truly preferred buying from ad networks or exchanges. This is what I discovered: ad agencies prefer buying from exchanges. This is what they told me:

1.     “Chasing network sales reps is frustrating.”
When buying from an ad network, an agency buyer must call his sales rep and ask her for a proposal. The sales rep is usually out of the office at meetings and asks for a day or two to develop the proposal. After reaching 3-5 ad network sales reps, the agency buyer has to sit and twiddle his thumbs. Finally, he gets two proposals, but then has to chase the third ad network for the last proposal. This is frustrating. Meanwhile, the agency’s client is waiting for the media plan so that they can get internal approvals for it.

2.     “Comparing proposals is difficult.”
When he gets the proposals he has to compare them. But the proposals are submitted in different forms and list different sites.  You can’t compare apples to apples.  To compare prices and decide which proposal(s) to go with takes time and effort. Creating a media plan that looks good means one format for all the inventory. And still, the client is waiting for a media plan.

3.     “Ad networks don’t offer the transparency that my brand advertisers require today.”
Ad networks still list good sites — and lots of other sites. They usually don’t break out impressions per site. This means that agencies cannot be sure where their ads will run. True, they can use AdXpose or DoubleVerify to check what sites they are on when the campaign is live. But they prefer knowing the options up front and choosing the sites themselves.

4.     “With exchanges, we get more control over creating the plan.”
Many of my team thought that agencies would prefer ad network sales reps to do all the work, rather than have to go online, find sites and look at prices and availability themselves. They asked why an agency would bother doing the work when an ad network sales rep is ready and willing?

Curiously, it turns out that agencies want control. They like to have control at their fingertips. They like to build up their own plan piece by piece and feel proud of what they do. If someone else does it for them, it takes them less time but they lose control.

5.     “Ads go live faster on exchanges.”
Ad networks can often get a campaign live within a day or so of the final approval from the agency. But agencies say that clients give them final approval at the last minute, just hours before the campaign is supposed to go live —  then call again, hours later to find out if it is live and how it is doing. Exchanges have an advantage: they can go live instantly, and data comes back instantly. Networks often do not provide instant real-time ability to go live or instant data.

6.     “We want to do optimization on our own.”
In my experience, I have found that agencies prefer seeing all the data in the exchange with their own eyes, and then doing the optimization. They don’t trust that the ad network understands or cares about their campaign goals well enough to optimize well.  Some worry that the ad network may even put them on poor sites because they have committed a certain dollar spend to those sites. They are keen on seeing performance data per site, per creative, and optimizing campaigns themselves. And I think that they probably do a far better job because they care more and they have more time.

7.     “I want up to date reporting at any time.”
Most ad networks don’t have the sophisticated technology to do real time reporting. They provide reporting for yesterday and send it once per day. Agencies prefer exchanges where they can go online at any time of the day or night and see up-to-the-minute data.

Remember, I am talking about two things:

  • Agencies that buy brand advertising
  • Ad networks and exchanges that sell high-quality, brand-safe sites


I believe that if agencies can buy the same sites from an exchange that they can buy from an ad network, they prefer buying from an exchange. It’s easier, they maintain control and less can go wrong. Exchanges win. I think that from the advertiser point of view, exchanges win and high end brand networks may just die.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the publisher side of this debate.

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – January

As we dive into 2011, our development teams have already started turning ideas into reality. Check out some of the improvements that our team has rolled out in the first month of 2011:

More control over user access
Ad networks often don’t want publishers to see data for everything running on their sites. Now administrators can designate which advertiser records a Publisher can view. This is especially useful for ad networks that wish to exclude house and default ads from impression and performance statistics.

теперь, Русский (Now, Russian)
We’ve added the ability for users to select a language preference for our interface. We started with Russian, and will be adding more languages throughout the year. The setting is available on the Create User or Edit My Information pages.

If you speak or read Russian fluently and notice any errors, please let our Support team know!

Search by Demographic
Our global search field has been updated.  You can now search for ads by user demographics.

Site Owners: Are you prepared for a data breach?

Yesterday, the Online Trust Alliance released a Data Breach & Loss Readiness Guide. This guide addresses emerging security and privacy threats, and provides guidance for executives and organizations to ensure preparedness in the case of a data breach or loss.

From OTA:

In 2010, over 400 incidents were reported impacting over 26 million records for a cost to U.S. businesses of over $5.3 billion dollars.  Of these, 98% were a result of a server exploit; yet on analysis, 90% were avoidable if the recommendations outlined in the OTA report were in place.  OTA research and industry survey indicates the data reported is just the tip of the iceberg as a great majority of breaches continue to occur undetected or unreported.  While OTA encourages self-regulation and reporting, the trends outlined in the report suggest the need for broader transparency and self-reporting requirements.

The Readiness Guide includes an overview of data breaches and security risks in 2010, a set of questions executives sh0uld ask themselves, and recommendations for businesses of all sizes.  The timing of the release of this guide coincides with Data Privacy Day, this Friday, January 28th.  More information is posted at http://dataprivacyday2011.org/

ZEDO joined the Online Trust Alliance last year to work directly with member companies and government organizations to battle the ongoing fight against malvertising.  The OTA provides resources and guides for sites and networks to help secure their systems against malvertising.

Newspapers Jump on the ZEDO Bandwagon


Last week our CEO, Roy de Souza, announced that ZEDO is more capable than ever before of helping online newspapers cut costs and increase revenue. Not only do we have a suite of technology products for newspapers to choose from and use without switching ad servers, we now have an established team of expert ad operations specialists ready to take on any project or challenge from newspapers. We are happy to announce that, well, some newspapers heard us!

ZEDO is excited to welcome Omaha World Herald, The Daily Herald in Chicago (owned by Paddock Publications), and many more on board as our newest Advertising Technology customers. We look forward to helping these newspapers solve challenges, cut costs and keep their advertisers happy and coming back for more premium inventory.

Assistant Vice President of Paddock Publications, Kelly Bolyard, stated that, “ZEDO’s ad ops team is experienced with our ad server and works with us to make sure they understand our specific needs. As a result of our partnership with ZEDO, we never have to worry about being short on trafficking resources.”  Thanks, Paddock Publications!  Send us your trafficking work anytime, 24/7 and we will take care of it (same for all other newspapers out there too!).

So, are you a newspaper? Want to work with the only Advertising Technology provider dedicated to newspapers? Visit http://www.zedo.com/product/for-Publishers.htm to learn all about what we can do for you.

Contact us at: http://www.zedo.com/technology/switchToZedo.htm to let us know how we can help you have more options, more visibility, and make more revenue.


Newspapers, ZEDO is here for you.

With circulation of paper newspapers in decline since 2006 and traffic to online newspapers increasing, revenue from subscriptions has dropped significantly for newspapers. Now more than ever, newspapers are becoming increasingly dependent on online advertising. Enabling advertisers to reach their audience and promote their products and services, is still a main focus for newspapers – but the placement has transferred from paper to technology. This change has affected newspapers internally, and forced newspapers to hire technology minded staff in order to ensure advertisers that their ads will run effectively. Here at ZEDO we understand this. In response, we have become the only advertising technology provider dedicated to supporting and completely focusing on the online advertising needs of newspapers.

I believe that ZEDO is truly on the side of newspapers. Not only do we provide major newspapers around the globe with network optimization and ad network services, but we take the time to thoroughly learn about their industry. Newspapers such as the Omaha World Herald (in the US) and Malayala Manorama, Mid-day, and India Today Group (in India) are working with ZEDO because we understand their specific needs. We develop advertising technology solutions that can help newspapers cut cost, increase efficiencies, and make more revenue. We have built a dedicated team in-house to assist newspaper publishers 24/7 on any challenge that newspapers might have. Ad Operations is a key focus, as this is a continually challenging role to fill.

We have built an Ad Operations Service team of technology experts that are dedicated, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, to newspapers. Newspapers can depend on ZEDO for affordable ad operations by outsourcing some or all of their ad operations and trafficking work flow (and do this without switching ad servers). This means that Newspapers can save money on hiring, training, and retaining ad operations professionals if need be and also depend on ZEDO during heavy work flow times when there is an overflow of ad operations work.

Also, we recently partnered with digital media consulting agency Maroon, and its Managing Partner Chris Tippie who was the head of the Yahoo newspaper consortium. Maroon has assisted us in connecting with newspapers that benefit from our cost cutting ad operations services. This partnership enables ZEDO to have first hand insight into the challenges that newspapers face, develop fitting solutions, and prove that we are completely dedicated to being a true partner to newspapers.

In addition to ad operations services, newspapers can also depend on ZEDO for rich media formats, an easy to implement self service system for direct ad sales, innovative ad serving, and a robust web-based UI platform that ad operations teams can use to manage every ad that runs on their site.

Learn more now by visiting: http://www.zedo.com/product/product-for-newspapers.htm

Read the press release at: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/ZEDO-Inc-States-That-It-Is-a-True-Partner-for-Newspapers-1381669.htm

ZEDO hires Aashay Paradkar to lead new Ad Operations Services team

ZEDO, Inc., the advertising technology partner for publishers, has hired Aashay Paradkar to head up its new Ad Operations and Creative Services team. Paradkar will take over the Global Ad Operations Services team under Summer Koide, VP Product & Services at ZEDO.

Aashay brings with him over ten years of experience, most recently with Cybage Software, heading up a large staff providing ad operations and technical support to companies such as Operative, Pubmatic, Digital River and more.

“ZEDO’s suite of premier products, services and technology solutions is the need of the hour for top publishers and agencies today,” Paradkar said.  “Quality websites – including newspapers, magazines and video – already capture the attention of the audience that advertisers seek.  Our ad operations and creative services let these publishers focus on their core competency – bringing top quality content to their users 24 hours a day.”

ZEDO offers full service ad operations, as well as an overflow/insurance model to counter lumpy demand with static staffing. Ad Operations customers will have dedicated, trained staff, 24-hour customer support and a local account manager. ZEDO is proud to offer this cost cutting service to publishers, especially newspaper publishers, as well as many other innovative products and services.

Preparing Publishers for 2011


As 2010 comes to an end you might be reviewing the work that your team developed, and the processes by which they did so.  Here at ZEDO, we are spending time doing just that, as well as making some plans and setting expectations for 2011. We wanted to take a moment to share, with the online advertising community, some of the things that we came up with. We hope that these are helpful insights to internet publishers, specifically ad operation teams, on how to prepare for 2011. Here are 5 Ad Operations tips for 2011:

1. Review work flow, processes and templates

In all probability the last quarter of 2010 would have been hectic, with your Ad Ops teams working extended hours, implementing makeshift processes and coming up with temporary solutions. Traditionally workload drops drastically in Q1 and the pressure is significantly lower. Hence, the beginning of 2011 presents an ideal opportunity to review work flow, processes and templates. May be check if there are any missing fields in your IO template or your input tool that would make it easier for your sales folks? May be review templates to check if there are fields that are redundant, fields that have just been there since the template was first made? You may take this opportunity to update workflow diagrams. Document or update the diagrams to identify outdated steps. Assign a senior operations professional to do the documentation – this grows their professional skill-set as well as helps maintain fresh process documentation within your organization

Simply ask yourself the question – are you doing things in a particular manner because “that’s the way they have always been done”? Most Ad Ops teams could benefit from using this as an opportunity to learn from their experiences of 2010’s last quarter.  They could implement systems that ensure that when the workload increases again in the future they are well equipped to deliver efficiently. Lastly, it is advisable to review individual roles, responsibilities and dependencies and make redundancy plans accordingly in order to ensure that you do not have a single point of failure.

2. Bridge the gap between Ad Ops and Sales teams

Although perceptions are fast improving, most sales folks still continue to consider Ad Ops as just a back-office department that simply needs to implement what they are told. Before moving forward, lets get our facts straight. Ad Operations is a vitally important component for any publisher that intends to generate revenue from internet advertising. Without ad operations a contract will never be fulfilled. Without receiving feedback from the ad operations team, a sales team will never be able to price and package inventory accurately. Without accurate analysis from the ad operations team any publisher will not be able to derive the right balance between creative ads and reasonable content. This must be understood in order to get your sales team on the same table with your Ad Ops. You might have to establish processes for both to follow.  It is crucial that the communication channel between Ad Ops and sales is fluid and works both ways. Ad Ops teams need to educate the sales team about their capabilities and sales teams need to make ad ops team aware of what the market wants.

3. Have a contingency plan

It is difficult to run a lean and efficient ad operations department at the best of times. Add in high turnover, unplanned leaves, fluctuating work patterns and it can become an impossible task to manage delivery as per expectations. Also, the top management of any company is always going to balk at the high salaries paid to ad ops professionals. It is almost impossible to make them sit down and explain the importance of skilled professionals in ad operations. They will always fail to see the value in it. The solution is simple; consider outsourcing ad operations, either partially or completely. However, in doing so always ensure that the control stays with you. There are many advantages to outsourcing such as lower cost, no employee retention hassles and if the outsourcing partner works in a different timezone then it may actually result in quicker turnaround times. I repeat though – do not lose control of ad ops in doing so! You need to have a couple of ad operations professionals in-house that are constantly on top of the outsourcing vendor, ensuring that expectations are set accurately and delivery commitments are met in a timely fashion. Many companies also opt to outsource only during high work flow periods. Typically referred to as overflow services. You pay your outsourced vendor a low monthly retainer and utilize them only when needed and get billed on a per placement basis.

4. Define career paths of ad operations professionals

Ad operations is not, and will most likely never be, a stress free business. It is just the nature of the work they do that ad ops teams are going to be subjected to unrealistic expectations from time to time, and are going to be held responsible for mistakes that aren’t entirely their fault. Wrong creatives, wrong clickthru URLs, page being broken or wrong dates, the finger is always going to be pointed at ad ops first. Good traffickers take this within their stride and learn to perform well regardless of external circumstances. A good trafficker is smart, meticulous, self-motivated and technically capable. However, you can keep him performing at optimum levels only if he knows he is heading somewhere in his career. He needs to have possibilities open for him to venture into team management, strategy planning, inventory management or even sales. You could do well to document career paths within your organization. Update job descriptions: a tedious and often painful task that usually reveals overlooked skillsets and responsibilities, and gives your team a ‘future’ that they can visualize

5. Stay abreast with industry innovations and don’t be afraid to experiment a little

Ad operations is a dynamic industry. What may have been good for you a couple of years ago may not necessarily work today. The industry as a whole is taking shape from the unorganized mess that it was a few years ago to one that now offers standards and guidelines for all to follow. In the ever evolving world of ad operations it vital that you keep yourself aware of the latest offerings from various solution providers. Be it work flow management tools, innovative rich media formats or video technology integration, every publisher needs to adapt accordingly in order to maintain their competitive edge.

Lastly, be sure to clean out old reporting templates, archive old files and reports. Start out the year afresh!


To learn more about how you can prepare for 2011, visit http://www.zedo.com/technology/switchToZedo.htm

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – December

With the end of 2010 at our feet, our global development teams still have their noses to the grindstone. They’re still relentlessly creating new technology tools and improving features for online publishers. Check out what they did in December for publishers:

Support for international text ads
ZEDO now allows publishers to upload text ads written in any language. Speak to your audience wherever they might be, with ZEDO’s help!

Administrative users can change passwords for others
Previously, administrative users (Default Ad Traffickers) could create new users, but could not then edit these users’ passwords. We’ve changed this, giving your administrators more control over Publisher and Advertiser access to the system.

Gather specific data from Ad Networks
Often we got requests from customers that they wanted to gather  data from ad networks for specific Publishers only. Now you can simply set a key tag identifier attribute and gather data for specific publisher from an adnetwork.


Increased frequency capping limit for ads
Before this month, publishers were limited to a frequency capping of 7 days.  We have increased the frequency capping limit – giving publishers a much greater amount of time – to 30 days!