Ad Networks: Scavengers or Saviors?

By Matt Van Hoven 

To some in the business of selling ad space, “Ad Network” is a phrase likened to “mother-in-law” or “prostate exam” &#151 if you’re selling space directly to a brand, the last thing you want is someone to undercut you on price and oversell impressions. But that’s what ad networks do, and in today’s climate we wonder if these “middle men” will help or harm the media selling/buying business.

Love or Hate
The idea here is simple, so we’ll just present it and let you work it out. ANs (ad networks) open the door for brands to advertise to a broad community. Because their rates are lower than buying direct, companies with smaller budgets can get in on the game. But ANs aren’t exclusive &#151 a brand with tons of money can use them too.

Conversely, ANs undercut the big dogs in precisely the same way they help companies with small budgets. If a site sells its adspace at $50 per 1000 impressions, ANs sell across a broad set of sites at $4 or $5 for the same number of clicks.

Yet another “advantage” for companies using ANs &#151 with less to spend on media buying, there’s more to put into creative, research, planning. That means they could be helping you out, if your buyers go that route.

There’s much more to this subject than we can cover here, but hopefully a few of you will help flush out other pros/cons of ad networks. Go.

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