Original content Web publishers have some new ammunition in their quest to tout the importance of editorial environment—and blunt the influence of ad networks.
According to a new Online Publishers Association study conducted by Dynamic Logic, ad networks demonstrated little impact when it comes to driving traditional branding metrics. For example, the percentage of survey respondents that responded positively to questions about brand favorability, purchase intent and message association was nearly the same for users that had been exposed to a particular campaign and those that had not been exposed.
Conversely, those scores were consistently higher for OPA sites, albeit marginally.
Among respondents who were exposed to a given campaign, the percentage who responded positively when asked about purchase intent was 1.7 percentage points higher than those who were not exposed. Brand favorability scored 2.2 percentage points higher, while online ad awareness was 5.1 percentage points higher on OPA sites among those who were exposed to campaign.
Web portals, such AOL, MSN and Yahoo, scored somewhere in between. The strongest category for portals was also online ad awareness; among respondents who were exposed to a campaign, the percentage who responded positively was 4.5 percentage points higher than those who were not exposed. Ad networks scores were generally within less than a single percentage point.
According to OPA officials, those differences are significant, and indicate that site environment matters when it comes to online ad effectiveness for brand marketers. “One of The biggest questions we had going into this study was...does environment matter?” said Stuart Schneiderman, the OPA’s director of research. “The ecosystem [online] is growing more complex, and marketers want to work with less partners and they are coming to us with these questions.”
However, Schneiderman contends that the study was not designed specifically to be anti ad network. “If we are looking to understand differences in performance, there are going to be winners and losers,” he said. “Networks are still very much part of our members businesses in some cases.”