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29Mar 2015

A Guide to Picking The Right Video Ad Netwrok

You got the budget, you produced an amazing video ad, now all you need is distribution, and a good one at that. Obviously YouTube is a solid option with True View providing ad spent on completed views only (unlike TV, which therefore is set to dramatically change in the next few years), but best practice suggests spreading distribution across a variety of medias and learning which one yields the most value. So how can one choose where to spend video ad budgets wisely?

As a marketer/Ad agency with a budget and a “ready to release” video campaign, you will probably prefer not be bothered to deal with websites and media buying options, as there are just too many websites out there for you to sit and listen to every single one about why you should send advertising dollars their way. This is why ad networks exist – so that ad agencies and online marketers can buy huge amounts of advertising from a variety of websites all in one go. Ad networks are kind of like a supermarket of websites, which saves agencies the effort of having to go and check every individual website to know what they are about. Some ad agencies even optimize the campaign as it goes along and some are programmatic, which allow for smart algorithms to automatically optimize campaigns according to data on a continuous basis.

So working with ad networks makes sense, but how can we tell which ad network is better than the other? According to a survey conducted by MEME ad network across more than 700 of the advertisers they work with, these are the things that matter most to their clients as they try to make the most out of their video campaigns:

Technology

Ad networks aim to provide advertisers and agencies with the best possible distribution and ROI, and in order to do that they have to analyze the results and optimize them. This analyzing and optimization process in an ad campaign is generally referred to as “Programmatic”, which typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs (request for proposal), human negotiations and manual insertion orders. It’s using machines and algorithms to buy ads. Programmatic marketing technology was born out of the necessity for efficiency and scale in transacting online advertising. Programmatic technology allows both marketers and sellers to spend more of their time planning sophisticated, customized campaigns instead of getting bogged down in bureaucracy. Real-time bidding is a type of programmatic ad buying, but it isn’t the only one. RTB refers to the purchase of ads through real-time auctions, but programmatic software also allows advertisers to buy guaranteed ad impressions in advance from specific publisher sites. This method of buying is often referred to as “programmatic direct”. As ad budgets and audiences continue to shift towards digital channels, technologies that automate and streamline the process will continue to thrive.

Worldwide-Programmatic-Ad-Spend

Targeting and Fill Rate

If you simply take out ad spots unthinkingly, your ads may display to people who don’t care about your product. Preferably, the ad network you will want to work with would do a little research using analytics and find out where most of your customers or potential audience hail from. Then choose an ad network that has a good fill rate, or ad delivery percentage, in that area. This maximizes the chances that your ads will be successfully displayed to the people who will more likely care about them.

(Targeted marketing image)

Retargeting and Reach Across Devices

keeping track of browsing that hasn’t yet resulted in conversion, and serving that ad back to the customer across devices. If you aren’t a major player with a login ID, you may lose your ability to retarget when consumers switch devices, so instead you’ll have to ride the coattails of a big name. Google, for instance, offers AdMob, so if you choose that as your ad network you’ll have access to their retargeting capabilities. If you choose not to take that route, the second-best bet is to find an ad network that is midful towards mobile and that parses ad data points to try and determine patterns about what advertisements are likeliest to appeal to particular customers.

Transparency

Ronen Menipaz, the Chief Marketing Officer in MEME says that when he asks his clients (Ad & marketing execs) what can he offer them that other ad agencies do not, Many answers have to do with reporting. The people who run these campaigns want to learn about what works and what doesn’t. John Wanamaker said once: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half”. In the age of digital advertising, we have a way to know. and those that are running the campaigns want to know what are the ways used, how are they used, and exactly how their campaigns are optimized for best value when it comes to ROI. The ad networks which cooperate in the best way with their clients, telling them on which site they had the best conversion without fear of these companies leaving them to and work directly with those sites are the ones that offer more value. Truth of the matter is that even if the advertisers will know what are the optimal places for them to advertise in, they would still rather do it through an ad network for the right reasons such as their various publishers and detailed reporting including programmatic tools.

Performance

The bottom line is perhaps the most important one. As Mr. Menipaz said: “we’re not expecting ad agencies to allocate their budgets entirely to MEME, but we are aware that best practice suggests that just as one ad network will work with many publishers in order to optimize the campaign, so must the ad agency check out a few ad networks to know which one works best and brings the most bang for buck”. and he’s right. Most of the ad agencies and marketing executives we have spoken to have reported trying out at least 3 ad networks before allocating most of their budgets to that yielding the most value, but even then, the process is ongoing as campaign optimization never sleeps.

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