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 takers responding positively to questions about brands -- in terms of purchase intent and message association -- was nearly the same for users that had been exposed to particular campaigns vs. those that had not.
Conversely, those scores were consistently higher for OPA sites, albeit marginally.
For example, among those exposed to given campaigns, positive responses when asked about purchase intent were 1.7 percent higher vs. those not exposed. Brand favorability was 2.2 percent higher and ad awareness was 5.1 percent higher on OPA sites among those who were exposed to campaigns.
Web portals such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo scored somewhere in between. The strongest category for portals was ad awareness, which was 4.5 percent higher among those exposed to campaigns than those not exposed. Ad network 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 fewer 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.”
See also: "Rise of the Content Generators"