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47 Ways to Buy and Place Online Display Ads

  |  December 13, 2011   |  Comments

With new attention focused on display advertising, take advantage of the opportunities for buying and placing this form of online advertising. Part one in a two-part series.

Not that long ago, online display advertising seemed to be heading for the morgue. Thanks to analysis from eMarketer released earlier this month, however, display has gained some newfound respect. Counting online video, banner ads, rich media, and sponsorships among the mix, eMarketer sees display growing at a faster pace than search advertising. Thanks in large part to branding campaigns, which it sees increasing to 44 percent of all online advertising, eMarketer predicts that by 2015, total dollars spent on display advertising will actually surpass those spent on search.

With this new attention focused on display advertising, I thought it would be a good time to recap all the different opportunities for buying and placing this form of online advertising.

By Means of Buying

Single site/direct-to-publisher. The media buyer deals directly with the publisher to negotiate specific placements or custom advertising opportunities on a single site or group of sites within the publisher's control.

  • Specified size and/or placement. Perhaps you have found that a particular size ad, page, or on-page location works best for your advertiser and you only want to include that in your media plan.
  • Sponsorship. When an advertiser "hosts" or "owns" a page or section of a website.
  • Run of channel/section. Allowing multiple-sized ads to be served throughout a section or "channel" of a site.
  • Run of site (ROS). Allowing multiple-sized ads to be served throughout the entire website.
  • Custom advertising opportunities. Have an idea for how you'd like your advertising to appear on a particular site? Negotiate directly with that site for a custom solution. It's called being creative.

Portal. Portals like Yahoo, AOL, and MSN are vast and offer advertisers a diverse array of ways to reach users.

Network. Ad networks allow distribution of ads across a broad array of different websites.

  • By target. Some networks offer certain targeting or verticalized capabilities that allow more refined advertising reach.
  • Run of network (RON). Like a ROS campaign, RON buys serve multiple-sized ads in unspecified areas throughout the entire ad network.

Ad exchange/DSP. An ad exchange is a marketplace that lets publishers and advertisers connect to sell and purchase online advertising; the demand-side platform (DSP, as it is more commonly known) provides another layer of access, oftentimes enabling buyers to tap into advertising across multiple exchanges.

By Type of Targeting

Though you might have a single display ad campaign, you can serve it by multiple means of targeting to increase your chances for response.

  • Geographic. Geographic targeting can take on multiple forms: by country, region, locality, Zip code, and even GPS coordinates (mobile).47-ways-sponsorship-orbitz
  • Contextual. In contextual targeting, you can serve display ads based on the nature of the on-page content.
  • Keyword. A subset form of contextual targeting that can also stand alone by itself when the advertiser desires to have the ad displayed based on a specific list of on-site keyword searches the user might perform.
  • Behavioral. Networks deliver advertising based on a user's past browsing behavior, making an assumption of behavior and interest and how that relates to the product or service being advertised.
  • Retargeting. When ads are delivered off-site to users who did not complete a particular on-site action.
  • Psychographic. A form of targeting based on user psychographic profiling.
  • Audience self-completed profiles. Gone are the days when all you could get from a user was their sex, age, and Zip code. Now with sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, users volunteer so much information about themselves, it's hard for an advertiser to resist the temptation to test out advertising that allows you to target based on this profile information.
    • Social advertising. New players join the ranks all the time,
      • Media6Degrees. A company that facilitates targeting by analyzing a user's loyalty and relationships.
  • Weather. Like it sounds, weather-targeted advertising enables ad serving only during a particular kind of weather (e.g., snow tires when snow is in the forecast).
  • Shopping. Looking for people in the right-now buying mode? Some targeting opportunities include:
    • Comparison engines. Comparison shopping engines like Bizrate, Shopzilla, and Nextag can serve display ads based on the products people are searching for.47-ways-shopping-shopzilla-lamps
    • Retail websites. Seeing the revenue potential, more and more online retail websites are selling display ad space.
    • Buysight (formerly Permuto). An ad-serving platform that analyzes product-specific shopper behavior and buyer intent to decide what ad to serve in real time.
  • Conversation. For advertisers seeking to tap into online conversations around a particular topic.47-ways-conversational-targeted-ad
  • Language. Many publishers develop multiple language versions of their website (particularly in Spanish), which advertisers can specify in order to reach a particular language audience.
  • Music. Includes online music delivery platforms like Pandora, Last.fm, and Grooveshark.

Read Part 2 now here.

Hollis is off today. This column was originally published on June 28, 2011 on ClickZ.


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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