Pros and Cons of Online Ad Networks - eMarketer

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Pros and Cons of Online Ad Networks

Convenience and reach come at a price

October 6, 2009

Ad networks hold wide appeal for both publishers and advertisers. On the content provider side, they offer an easy way to sell a large amount of inventory—even if the revenue per impression is typically less than with direct sales.

On the advertiser side, according to a worldwide study by Econsultancy and the Rubicon Project, the main benefits of using ad networks are increased reach, flexible payment models and lower costs.

Benefits of Working with Online Ad Networks According to Companies* Worldwide**, August-September 2009 (% of respondents)

There are also challenges, however, associated with giving up full control over ad placements. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) said they worried about their ads appearing next to inappropriate content. Almost as many (62%) complained of discrepancies between their own data and that from networks.

Still, the benefits of reach, flexibility, cost and targeting cannot be ignored. Respondents told Econsultancy that 30.61% of their display ad budgets were spent via ad networks, and 31.91% of media plans included networks.

What’s more, about one-half of marketers said they were working with a greater number of ad networks than a year ago, with 37% holding steady. And many expected to be working with ad networks even more next year. Relatively few had cut back on work with ad networks, or planned decreases for the future.

Change in the Use of Online Ad Networks According to Companies* Worldwide**, August-September 2009 (% of respondents)

Savvy advertisers will keep in mind the trade-offs associated with network buys.

“Ad networks might be more effective for filling in holes in an online campaign than for the main efforts,” said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer. “The lack of control over placement can reduce ad effectiveness, even if the content is not inappropriate.

“In that light, you get what you pay for,” Mr. Hallerman continued. “Lower costs need to be balanced off against the sometimes-reduced ad impact.”

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.

Check out today’s other article, “Traditional Takes Top Spot for News.”


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