Monitoring Digital Ads for Effectiveness

Larry Allen, a Business Insider contributor, recently wrote that we need a new way to define ad impressions. In his article, he correctly points out that the old definition of an ad impression is obsolete:

“Today we have a different challenge: there are many new types of ad formats with a variety of ways to measure and, more importantly, publishers have evolved by creating websites that look more like blog rolls or scrolls of pages. These changes are rendering the old technical definition of an ad impression obsolete.”

That’s correct. Readers who would only look at the top of the page two years ago will zoom through a seemingly infinitely long page today — if there’s content they want to see.

Where we at ZEDO differ from Larry is in what we think of the new method put forth by IAB, 4As and ANA: we embrace it. We think it’s right. He says

“The IAB, and other similar organizations (4As and the ANA), have put forth a plan to promote a new measure that would only count viewable impressions. This effort serves to improve the quality and performance of online advertising and protect the advertiser from paying for unseen ads.

In theory, this change sounds great, but it may have unexpected repercussions – some good, and some bad, depending on your position. Marketers may initially like the idea of more control, as they will only pay for impressions that are in view to the consumer. Publishers will enjoy the increased pricing options on viewable placements and rewards for highly engaging content. Even ad networks and exchanges would benefit from eliminating the question of quality and creating more opportunities to fill branding campaigns.”

So where is the problem?  Allen thinks it lies in the fact that new rules might not take into consideration account time view. He also worries that without engaging content, inventory could drop;  and he sees a new need for monitoring whether an ad is actually in view. We already measure all this.

We have been testing  new measurement techniques with our InView ad formats and many of our publisher partners. The publishers have found that the slider is in view 99% of the time. They also find it gives them a new revenue source.“We decided to work with ZEDO because its products  enable us to offer our customers more creative solutions through monetizing a new segment of our inventory.” says Sandy Lohr, Vice President of Sales for Advance Internet. “We share ZEDO’s vision to improve online advertising for brand advertisers.”

Since we are already using Comscore‘s monitoring technology, we can immediately fill that new need for monitoring. We are already doing it.

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Comscore, Google Analytics Give Advertisers Better Information

Google has made updates to Google Analytics that will make it easier to use and more useful to

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

marketers. Google’s 2012 updates come on the heels of Comscore’s announcement about its vCE (Validated Campaign Effectiveness) platform, and they work together to help publishers maximize revenue and advertisers make better buys.

Here’s what the Google Analytics blog says:

Vanity counters, such as friend counts and reshares, will be augmented with bottom line metrics like conversions and purchases, allowing marketers to measure true social ROI of each campaign and compare the effectiveness with other channels. With additional visibility into off-site activity, enhanced campaign tracking and referral analytics, 2012 is the year that social analytics comes to life.

With real time data feeding into remarketing, ad content optimization, and real time bidding systems, advertisers are closer than ever to finding the right customer with the right ad at the right time. As these real time systems converge, there’s huge potential to integrate analytics to pull in deeper and richer information about user intent.

What does this mean to publishers? It will mean advertisers will be able to buy more judiciously, show the right ads to the right visitors, and your CPMs will probably go up. Our goal is to make Internet advertising as effective as TV advertising. There’s no logical reason this should not be the case.

Online advertising has never been able to prove itself, except in isolated cases, until recently. By isolated cases, I mean targeted sites that know their customers and sell directly. Leo laPorte, founder of, an online podcast network, says his shows have become costly for advertisers ($85) because they’ve been demonstrated to move product. This, of course, is what advertisers really want. Performance.

So don’t fear measurement. Embrace it, and begin to tune your content accordingly. At ZEDO, we are re-doing our own site, and we are also doing extensive research and development into how ads can be made most visible. Our partnership with AdXPose, now Comscore, has already paid big dividends for us; preliminary results on our InView Slider ad show that it is actually seen 99% of the time it is served.

We have more research to do over longer periods of time before we can make too much noise about this, but it looks very promising for both publishers and advertisers.

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Part 3: Ad Networks vs Premium Ad Exchanges: The Publisher Perspective

My first blog in this three part series looked at the advertiser’s view of exchanges and ad networks. Advertisers prefer exchanges. Last week’s post discussed how publishers view ad networks as compared to remnant exchanges. This blog will talk about how publishers view a new type of exchange emerging: Premium Exchanges.

Premium Exchanges
In the past, exchanges were focused on taking remnant impressions and selling them off at the best price they could get. Premium exchanges will soon appear. They are private exchanges, open only to high quality, brand safe, content driven, trusted publishers. Many of the private exchanges getting a lot of press about limiting the sites that can join – which is a good step forward.  However, these “private exchanges”, at the end of the day, are simply auctioning off remnant impressions using Real Time Bidding, just like today’s remnant exchanges.

A Premium Exchange is a private exchange that goes even further. As well as restricting sites, it changes the way inventory is sold to better match the way brand advertisers buy.  Brand advertisers want a high level of transparency and control of where and when their ads run. They are willing to pay a small premium for this. Premium exchanges both bring high quality brand safe sites to advertisers and also sell that inventory on a guaranteed basis as required for a brand media plan.

The Publisher Perspective
As I said in the last post, publishers want:

  • High fill rates
  • High percentage of good CPM campaigns
  • Good ad quality
  • No competition with the publisher’s sales reps

Let’s examine how Premium Exchanges stack up to ad networks.

1. Fill Rates
Ad networks rely on sales reps to meet buyers in person or on the phone. Ad exchanges, however, rely on technology, not sales reps, to “meet” advertisers. That usually means that the exchanges will have a better fill rate. However, Premium Exchanges limit who they target: brand advertisers. Ad Networks also sell to performance advertisers. So the ad networks will have better fill rate – though at a lower CPM (see below).
Networks win. (Premium Exchanges 0, Networks 1)

2. Percentage of high CPM campaigns
Ad networks find some high quality advertisers that will pay the publisher good CPMs but sell the rest of the volume to Performance Advertisers that pay low CPMs.  Premium Exchanges are different. They are built to appeal only to brand advertisers.  100% of their campaigns will be sold to brand advertisers who pay the higher price to get transparency and the controlf of when and where their ads run. So, the Premium Exchanges will have a larger percentage of high CPM campaigns (approx 100%).
Premium Exchanges 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 diet ads. Ad networks won against remnant exchanges because remnant exchanges auction inventory to any low quality advertiser. However Premium Exchanges are designed for premium brand advertisers only. Ad quality will therefore be high.
Premium Exchanges win. (Premium Exchanges 2, Networks 1)

4. Competition with Publisher Sales Reps
Publishers hate seeing a quality advertiser buy from a remnant exchange or network because they found a lower price. Publishers dislike ad networks because of this price competition, as I said last week. Premium Exchanges however will not compete with the sales team. Premium Exchanges do sell the same guaranteed inventory that the sales reps sell. But they sell it at the same price as the sales team. So there is no competition. Infact a good Premium Exchange will allow a publisher sales rep to put his/her inventory into their easy to use, instant gratification, exchange and find more advertisers. So from a Publisher’s perspective they love the partnership of Premium Exchanges rather than price competition of ad networks.
Premium Exchange wins. (Premium Exchanges 3, Networks 1)

Overall publishers will love most things about the Premium Exchanges – except the fill rate. Yet, over time as more agencies and local advertiser see how easy it is to buy from a premium exchange, the fill rates will climb. Premium Exchanges will be a godsend to premium publishers with high quality content. However they won’t be much use to low value UGC inventory sites because they will not be allowed onto the private premium exchanges.

Ad networks may be seriously damaged or killed by the Premium Exchanges. The remnant exchanges took a lot of their high volume low priced business. Now, Premium Exchanges will take some of their high priced, low volume business. They will get squeezed on both ends and will have to fight for survival.

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, 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.

AdNetRevMax got even better!

Are you wondering what CPMs are in different geographic locations? Wondering which ad units you should be running? Or which ad network should get GOOD and more impressions? Well, just ask our all NEW AdNetRevMax and you’ll get all the information you need to make the MOST from all your ad networks.

What has changed?

1. New Ad Tag Performance page shows the following:

a.  eCPM by country/ ad dimension combination.
b.  eCPM trend graph for 8 days and eCPM comparison with same day last week.
c.  Rank and frequency for each Ad
d.  Impressions served yesterday
e.  Sorting on eCPM, Rank and Impressions
f.   Ability to change Rank and frequency

2. Improved Ad Network dashboard

Now watch your eCPM trend for the month and compare it with last month.
AdNetRevMax is built to help publishers make more money from ad networks. Publishers use many ad networks, sometimes in different geographic locations. If a publisher has to make more money, then it’s very important to know which ad network is paying what CPM and in which country. Not only that, one should be able to compare the CPM of  “ad network A” with the CPM of “ad network B”. AdNetRevMax has all the data you need to MAXIMIZE your revenue.

Use it now and start making more money! Email for more details.

ZEDO’s Popular Slider Ads

ZEDO’s new Incremental Ad Formats are extremely popular with existing and new clients. For customers using ZEDO to serve 100% of their impressions, these new ads actually INCREASE IMPRESSIONS and overall inventory.

  • Easy to implement
  • Increase overall impressions and inventory of your site / network
  • Multiple sizes can rotate in the placement
  • No blanks / defaults
  • Serves images, flash, 3rd party code
  • Not as invasive as pop up and floating ads

These ads are eye-catching and have proven to have a stronger click-through-rate than standard in-page banners.

Contact your Account Manager to learn more about ZEDO’s slider ads!