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The Definitive List of Self-Serve Online Ad Buying

  |  July 28, 2009   |  Comments

If you practice do-it-yourself online ad buying, check out this extensive list of solutions.

Self-service online ad buying solutions have existed for more than a decade, dominated primarily by Google. Self-serve campaigns make it easy for a media planner to allocate small dollars to test the waters or big dollars if the platform performs well.

Search engines not withstanding, you can choose from many other self-serve online ad-buying options, with more being added all the time. I've compiled a master list here. If I've missed any, please let me know in the comments below.

First, a few caveats:

  • Self-serve campaigns, though often costing less money, can take up to 25 percent more time to set up and manage.

  • With self-serve, you really can't negotiate for bonus impressions.

  • Some self-serve solutions won't work with your ad server.

  • Campaign controls, like frequency capping, dayparting, and pacing, often aren't available.

  • Obtaining screen shots or proof of delivery could be more difficult or impossible.

  • Receiving makegoods for click or impression discrepancies will probably be tough.

And now, the list!

Self-Serve Display Ads

  • AdReady. AdReady builds custom ads by target audience and buy your campaign within the AdReady solution.

  • Adroll.com. AdRoll offers niche publishers and uses a proprietary visitor rating system to match advertisers with publishers.

  • Blogads. Blogads' ad units combine an image with linked text.

  • Entrecard.com (beta). Entrecard distributes 125 x 125 display ads across its blog network.

  • Federated Media Publishing. Ads are placed on blogs within its network.

  • Mochi Media. Mochi Media offers in-game (pre-load) 300 x 250 display ads.

  • Pennyweb. AdDynamix and the Pennyweb Network comprise a wide range of specialty-content Web sites and premium publishers.

Self-Serve Text and Contextually Targeted Ads

  • AdBrite. AdBrite offers banner, text ads, and its own format offerings.

  • Clicksor. The "Standard" account option is self-serve.

  • ContextWeb. Text and display ads are purchased in an auction exchange.

  • Marchex Adhere. Adhere offers contextual and display ads.

  • Text Link Ads. The ads offered are primarily for SEO (define).

Self-Serve Multiple Ad Types

  • Ad Onion. Ad Onion offers text and display ads.

  • AdEngage. AdEngage offers text and display ads.

  • AdOn Network. AdOn offers display, search, mobile, and "background" ads.

  • AOL Advertising (formerly Platform-A). AOL Advertising offers Quigo (contextual ads), Bid Place (banners), and LeadBack.com (retargeting).

  • Pheedo. Pheedo offers display, text, and proprietary formats, all delivered via RSS readers, start pages, and widgets.

  • Technorati Engage (beta). Ads are delivered to blogs and specialized niche content sites.

Self-Serve Lead Generation

Self-Serve Local Ads

  • MSNBC. MSNBC sells its ad space to small and local businesses through a partnership with AdReady.

  • NYTimes.com. Like MSNBC, NYTimes.com has partnered with AdReady to offer $5 CPMs (define) to local small businesses.

  • Trulia Pro. Trulia Pro is a real estate advertising solution.

  • Yahoo. My Display Ads program wins over local advertisers and converts search advertisers to display.

Self-Serve Social Media Ads

  • Facebook. Facebook allows you to quickly create image and text-based ads. You can advertise your own Web page or something on Facebook, like a Page or an Event, and you can choose CPC (define) or CPM.

  • MySpace. MyAds serves banners based on user hobbies, interests, age, gender, and location.

Self-Serve Mobile Ads

  • AdMob. Text and image ads are available.

  • Adfonic. Adfonic is a self-service mobile advertising marketplace.

  • Jumptap. TapMatch provides a variety of targeting through mobile for text or banner ads.

  • Millennial Media. The DeckTrade solution is for CPC mobile advertising.

  • Mojiva. Mojiva is a bid auction environment for mobile advertising.

  • Velti. All aspects of mobile advertising are offered.

  • Zeep Media. Zeep Media offers SMS advertising.

Self-Serve Video Ads

  • FourSpots. FourSpots allows advertisers to quickly and easily create, customize, and place video and banner ads from ad templates.

  • Jivox. Jivox is specifically geared toward local businesses.

I hope you've found this list helpful. I welcome your feedback, and again, if I've forgotten any important mentions, please let me know in the comments section below.

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Hollis Thomases

A highly driven subject matter expert with a thirst for knowledge, an unbridled sense of curiosity, and a passion to deliver unbiased, simplified information and advice so businesses can make better decisions about how to spend their dollars and resources, multiple award-winning entrepreneur Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is a sole practitioner and digital ad/marketing "gatekeeper." Her 16 years working in, analyzing, and writing about the digital industry make Hollis uniquely qualified to navigate the fast-changing digital landscape. Her client experience includes such verticals as Travel/Tourism/Destination Marketing, Retail & Consumer Brands, Health & Wellness, Hi-Tech, and Higher Education. In 1998, Hollis Thomases founded her first company, Web Ad.vantage, a provider of strategic digital marketing and advertising service solutions for such companies as Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, and Visit Baltimore. Hollis has been an regular expert columnist with Inc.com, and ClickZ and authored the book Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day, published by John Wiley & Sons. Hollis also frequently speaks at industry conferences and association events.

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