Ad network optimisation is not a 'dark art'
Online advertising is continuing to defy the downward trend of traditional advertising budgets. Research from Nielsen Online shows that the number of UK online display ad campaigns grew 11 percent in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the same period the previous year. On a global level, in July, Zenith Optimedia predicted that global online advertising spend will rise by 10.1 percent this year. In this article, Joëlle Frijters, Improve Digital, explains the concept of 'ad network optimisation'.
By Joëlle Frijters
In part this is due to the increasing amount of content – and therefore inventory – created as people spend more and more time online. The knock-on effect of this progressively more complex digital eco-system is that the online advertising world is changing rapidly – there are new pricing structures, new rules, new players and new dynamics.
Today's advertisers are not limited to buying guaranteed advertising space directly or through their media agency and the term ‘publisher’ has never been less clearly defined. The online media space has become increasingly driven by data and technology and, besides media agencies and advertisers, ad networks and exchanges represent a significant proportion of online budgets spent.
For instance, IAB figures from April 2009 showed that ad networks accounted for 44 percent of total online display expenditure in the UK. In other research, Econsultancy estimates that the market for online advertising networks in the UK was worth between £300m and £350m in 2008, and predicts that it will have grown by around 10 percent during 2009.
In Europe and the UK, this has resulted in the terms 'ad network optimisation', or 'ad revenue optimisation', being widely used. For publishers that work with a lot of different ad networks, an ad network optimiser automatically decides which one generates the highest revenues for a specific placement and allocates the ad impressions accordingly. It offers publishers and networks efficiencies (i.e. less work), more revenue and central insight and control.
But despite the increasing trend, and the obvious advantages that using an ad network optimiser offers, because it is still a relatively new industry, there is a lack of readily-available information on ad revenue optimisation. This can make it challenging for online publishers, and ad networks and exchanges to achieve the efficiencies that are now possible. We believe that if all parties involved are going to benefit, it is essential to ensure the market has a full understanding of the topic, starting with the basics.
With that in mind, we have responded to industry demand with the preparation of a new, free, white paper. ‘The essentials of ad network optimisation’ provides a step-by-step guide into how ad network optimisation can improve efficiencies and revenues, and clarifies its relationship with ad networks and exchanges. It answers key questions including:
• How is price data collected from ad networks to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date?
• How does the system work from the publisher's perspective?
• How are ad views allocated to the various networks and campaigns?
• How are ad network default impressions handled?
• What is the difference between ad network optimisers, trading platforms, ad networks and ad exchanges?
Our aim is to ensure that online advertising revenue optimisation is not seen as a 'dark art', or perceived as a threat. We see a key part of our role as providing information and being completely transparent, in order that all parties involved gain insight and understanding about new techniques that create increased efficiencies and offer significant benefits.
For a copy of Improve Digital's new white paper to accompany this article, please contact Kate Alexander (firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0)20 8543 8481) or visit: http://www.improvedigital.com/new-whitepaper-essentials-of-ad-network-optimisation
About the author and the company
Online advertising yield management specialist Improve Digital (www.improvedigital.com) enables premium publishers to maximise returns on their unsold and premium inventory using optimisation technology combined with local service and market knowledge. Real-time automated decisions on which ad networks or exchanges can generate the most revenue for each page impression lead to revenue increases ranging from 50 to 300 percent.
The offering is based on Improve Digital’s premium yield technology combined with self-learning technology developed by ad revenue optimisation specialist, PubMatic, with whom Improve Digital has an exclusive contract.
Joëlle Frijters, CEO and co-founder of Improve Digital, is an international specialist in online advertising revenue management and making money from unsold inventory. She launched Improve Digital in 2007 to address the needs of online publishers faced with a progressively complex digital eco-system, in which performance campaigns, and ad networks and exchanges play an increasingly dominant role.
Prior to setting up Improve Digital, Joëlle was head of 'Remnant' Inventory Solutions EMEA at Microsoft’s Yield Management Group. A key achievement was the launch and development of the company's Direct Response business, today called Microsoft Media Network, which enabled it to tackle the issue of unsold inventory in 11 European markets, resulting in a significant additional revenue stream.