How Big is Your Ad Network?

Over the weekend, I read an interesting iMedia post from last Thursday.  The author directly and convincingly challenges the importance that many seem to place on the comScore unique reach numbers as a basis of comparison for ad networks.  I have been thinking about this for a while and I agree that raw reach on comScore is a very narrow gauge at best and extremely flawed at worst.  Of all of his ideas, I think the most interesting is rating networks by renewal rate.  I think the important high-level point there is to include a notion of quality, which has been sorely lacking in all of these measurements.  In evaluating and comparing networks, is 1M uniques reached in below the fold placements on second tier social network sites the same as 1M uniques reached in branded, contextually relevant women’s lifestyle content?  Is 1M uniques reached for P&G on the first of many campaigns the same as 1M uniques reached for a predatory debt consolidation company who cancelled halfway through the campaign and never came back?  For some perhaps, but for most of the Ad Age 100 the answer to both questions is “no”.  I would also echo the author’s point about the overlap among networks.  Overlap affects the aggregate reach & frequency of a campaign, so unless a marketer is running a  CPA campaign they need to push their media partners for reach commitments on a campaign by campaign basis.  As the author points out, the overall reach of a network should be much less important to a marketer than the network’s reach on that marketer’s campaign.  Smooth, complete delivery with tightly managed frequency should be the expectation on every campaign.  High quality campaigns running in high quality inventory with high quality execution – now that’s a good basis for comparison.

About Andy Atherton
I am currently an SVP at AppNexus. I previously spent four years as COO and cofounder of Brand.net, a pioneer in programmatic reserve technology and leading digital media buying solution for top brands. Prior to Brand.net, I was Vice President of Pricing and Yield Management for Yahoo!, responsible for maximizing monetization of a global portfolio of display inventory worth $2B annually. Beginning in 2002, I created, developed and globalized Yahoo’s PYM function over a period of five years. Prior to Yahoo!, I was president and cofounder of Optivo, a venture-backed start-up that developed price optimization software for e-commerce retailers. More on LinkedIn...

One Response to How Big is Your Ad Network?

  1. Pingback: Brand.net > Blog Archive » The truth about ad nets? » Quality, Value, & Scale. Guaranteed.

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