Effective Ad Placement

Where an ad appears on a site can often be a determiner of how well the ad performs. Traditionally ads at the top of a page were assumed to have the best performance. However, advances in both site development and ad formats mean that what was true in the past may no longer be true.

The graph below illustrates the performance of ads on a single site. We’re the ad server, and they have  bought our inArticle ads. We often conduct tests on our own formats to make sure we’ve told the truth about how they perform.

time-spent-grapgIn this case, the axis on the left represents the amount of time spent on the page, and each bar represents a part of the page measured in pixel height. The bars proceed from left to right, with the left most bar indicating the performance of ads at the top of the page and the right most bar representing the performance of ads at the bottom of the page. We’ve conducted this analysis on many of the sites on our premium publisher network.

Our analysis has shown that across a wide range of sites, users spend more than double the time with an ad located around an article than they do at  the top of the page. This demonstrates that formats like our inArticle, which runs a video within an article, can be much more effective than banners on the top of the page, which traditionally have been thought to be the most effective places to advertise.

One caveat to all this : all formats lose engagement as the viewer moves down the page. Even the inArticle format’s viewability will drop tremendously if it is placed below the 2000 px or 50% of the page.

ZEDO Is More Than You Think We Are

Because we have been in the ad tech business longer than just about anyone else, people think they already know ZEDO. And yet they may not. Over the past eleven years, we have constantly changed our offerings and our companies to serve our clients and guide them through what has been a decade of turbulent change for online publishers.

Yes, we started as an ad server. But that’s just where we began. As we move into our new US headquarters on Jan.3, and finalize the plans to launch our American version of ZINC Exchange, we look back on how we have  evolved into a full-service advertising technology partner for our customers.

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Our current suite of products includes:

Yield optimization

Innovative rich media formats for publishers’ direct sales teams,

Full featured ad serving for mobile, web, and video

Behavioral targeting data built into the ad server,

Outsourced ad operations,

An exchange-like platform for publishers to sell behavioral and DMA targeted inventory at high CPMs,

And ZINC Exchange, a self service platform that allows advertisers to buy directly from a publisher.

These products are integrated into one technology platform for advertisers and publishers to choose from, or use seamlessly together. ZEDO has been in the internet advertising industry for over 10 years, and is the most successful independent ad server in the US and the market leader in India.

In 2012, we hope to continue to make our brand the most trusted ad tech partner for publishers, and to demonstrate through the use of such new formats as the inview Slider that we can raise the revenue of publishers as the market shifts again — this time to mobile.

Publishers: Why Private Premium Exchanges are Best for You

Advertisers jumped on the idea of ad exchanges when they first came to the market. But for publishers, the advent of exchanges only meant a way of taking remnant impressions and selling them off at the best price they could get. Many leading brands don’t want to be “seen” in the space available; they want to be seen in quality outlets. Brands need a place to buy ads against premium content.

Enter private exchanges, open only to high quality, brand safe, content driven, trusted publishers. Many private exchanges have gotten a lot of press because they talk about limiting the sites that can join –- which is a good step forward.  However, at the end of the day these “private exchanges” 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. In addition to restricting sites, it actually 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 bring both 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

Publishers want:

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

Here’s how new premium ad exchanges stack up against traditional d networks in meeting publisher needs:

1. Fill Rates

Premium Exchanges limit whom they target to high quality brand advertisers. Ad Networks also sell to performance advertisers. So the ad networks will have better fill rates, though at a lower CPM (see below).

Networks win.

2. CPMs

Ad networks find some high quality brand advertisers that will pay the publisher good CPMs but sell most to performance advertisers who 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 ease of use, transparency and control over when and where their ads run. So Premium Exchanges get publishers higher CPMs.

Premium Exchanges win.

3. Ad quality

Publishers want high quality ads to appear on their sites. They love to see BMW or Lego ads on their site but hate to see diet ads.  Premium Exchanges like ZINC Exchange are designed for premium brand advertisers only. Ad quality is therefore be high.

Premium Exchanges win here, too.

4. Conflict with Publisher Sales Reps

Publishers hate seeing a quality advertiser buy from a remnant network because they found a lower price there.

Premium Exchanges, however, do not compete with the sales team. Premium Exchanges sell the same guaranteed inventory that the sales reps sell AND they sell it at the same price as the sales team. So there is no conflict. In fact a Premium Exchange allows a publisher’s sales rep to find more advertisers. So from a Publisher’s perspective,  it’s more desirable for their sales team to partner with Premium Exchanges.

Premium Exchanges beat ad networks 3-1

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

Ad networks may be seriously damaged or killed off by Premium Exchanges. The remnant exchanges took a lot of their high volume low priced business. Now, Premium Exchanges are taking their high priced business too. Networks are getting squeezed on both ends and will have to fight for survival.

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – April

We introduced a new innovation that we believe is going to revolutionize the online advertising space, improved ad serving functions, created better forecasting, launched a new way for publishers to have even more control.

Launched ZINC Exchange at ad:tech San Francisco!
ZINC is a new Ad Exchange from ZEDO.  ZINC is a guaranteed ad exchange for newspapers and advertisers who want to buy newspaper placements in just one click. Inventory availability is clear and transparent.  Agencies will see real-time inventory and actual pricing.

ZINC is in currently in beta, but publishers can sign up to secure their invitation at and advertisers at

Dormant Channels
Ad networks often distribute hundreds of tags to sites that eventually pull tags down.  If we find channels that are no longer serving, we’ll stop using active system resources for them.

Channels serving extremely low volumes will be set to a new status called “Dormant”, and will stop getting ad served to them.  Once the channel starts to request ads again, the system will generate a fresh ads.

The Dormant Channels will be indicated in the UI as shown below:

The thresholds for dormancy are set up on a per-customer basis, using impression and timeframe information to trigger the channel status change. Please contact support if you have more questions about Dormant Channels.

Scheduled Delivery of Inventory Forecast Report
Your sales team can now select multiple channel-dimension and get the forecasing report schedules sent to their email daily.  You can also save these reports, and their schedules, in your FTP account and to retrieve them later.

Access Control Changes:
We have added the ability to let your Publisher Ad Trafficker (PAT) users use the Custom Ad Code Generator tool.

Ad traffickers will be able to grant access of ‘Custom Ad Generator’, in the create ad form, to their PAT users.  This will allow PAT users to create rich media ads using our Custom Ad Code Generator.

Buy iPad ads on the ZINC Ad Exchange

Last week a brand new ad exchange, ZINC, was launched by ZEDO, Inc. ZINC itself is revolutionary, but now we are going a step further…check this out:

With the ZINC Exchange, advertisers can directly target people reading newspapers on their iPads. Impressions targeted to these users are easy to buy on the ZINC Exchange.  ZINC is the first of its kind — no other ad exchange offers iPad newspaper targeting.

It is believed that 14.8 million iPads have been sold since its initial release.  Its success has been charted and forecasted. The iPad usage data reveals a whole new opportunity for advertisers.

Increasing traffic on newspaper sites, the highest quality brand-safe sites on the web, comes from iPads. Only 3 weeks after the device released, Wired stated that it received 26% of its mobile traffic from the device. ChangeWave Research found that 51% of iPad owners now read newspapers on their iPad.  Recognizing this true opportunity for advertisers, ZEDO has created the ZINC Ad Exchange, which allows advertisers to target people reading their daily newspapers on their iPads.

ZINC is currently in beta and being hosted at Publishers learn more at:

Advertisers: Click to buy guaranteed placements on newspaper sites.

ZEDO Announces the ZINC Exchange!

There are many ways that publishers and advertisers can sell and buy ad space. Today, the easiest and quickest way for advertisers to buy is with an Ad Exchange. Advertisers like exchanges because they are more transparent than ad networks and are easy and fast to use. For advertisers, there are no more sales calls from publishers or network sales reps. Instead, they choose to buy on their time in a quicker and easier way than our industry has ever seen before. They also remain in complete control. Exchanges are a great source of efficiency for agencies and advertisers. ZEDO, as you may have read today, is launching ZINC Ad Exchange.

ZINC is now in private beta and will soon be open to use by any advertiser. ZINC is different and better than other ad exchanges. Other exchanges sell remnant non-guaranteed impressions on a mixed bag of sites. The ZINC Exchange features only premium, guaranteed inventory – you choose and buy the inventory you want. There isn’t any remnant inventory. This is because the only advertising inventory you’ll find on ZINC is high-quality sites such as newspaper publishers from across the country.  The ZINC Exchange will offer only high-visibility, premium advertising positions on community and metro market news websites. ZINC’s web based interface offers real-time management of campaigns, instant reporting access at any time, and aggressive pricing that allows advertisers to maximize their media budgets. Inventory availability is clear and transparent – agencies see real-time inventory and actual pricing.

ZEDO CEO Roy de Souza stated in a recent press release that, “The ZINC Exchange offers an easy way to see prices, create a media plan, and instantly buy high quality, brand-safe ad space. The ability to do guaranteed buys with even delivery across the campaign is attractive to brand advertisers and agencies. I am excited to launch the beta today.”

We are thrilled to announce this new way to buy advertising directly from sites, specifically newspaper sites. Please contact us if you want to join the beta at

P.S. Come see ZEDO at ad:tech in San Francisco April 11-13 to learn even more about Zinc Ad Exchange: Meeting Room MR9 (Expo Hall level 2).


Click to buy guaranteed placements on newspaper sites.

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.