Burst Launches Direct Response Ad Network

Burst Media, known for its network of niche Web sites appealing to brand advertisers, has launched a new network intended to attract direct response advertisers. The Burst Direct network will be comprised of some sites already in the original Burst Network, but will derive additional inventory from large sites and portals looking to sell off remnant ad space.

“The target for this will be direct response advertisers looking for affordable mass reach,” explained Burst CEO Jarvis Coffin. He expects the network to appeal to typical direct response advertisers such as insurance, credit card and mail order companies. Unlike some other large networks that attract direct response advertisers, Coffin said Burst Direct will sell ads on a CPM basis only, and allow publishers to learn which sides their ads run on. Many other ad networks sell on a Cost-Per-Action (CPA) basis and don’t reveal actual names of sites to advertisers.

“The truth of the matter is I think it’s a little late in the game to introduce a CPA model,” commented Coffin, adding, “We want to find the prices that make it work for everybody.”

The network will allow for run-of-network (RON) buys only; however, Coffin noted that some broad geo-targeting or channel targeting may be enabled. “This is more about tonnage,” he said, stressing that the direct network is intended for advertisers looking for wide reach and frequency as opposed to demographic-, behavioral, or site-by-site-targeting, which appeal more to brand advertisers.

The original Burst Network includes 3,400 sites and delivered about five billion ad impressions last month, according to Coffin. In contrast, Burst served about one billion ads in the direct network last month. Burst Direct currently includes about 700 publishers, and the company is “actively pursuing new publishers” to join.

Although the ad network market has grown increasingly crowded, Coffin suggested that the Burst brand reputation will give it an upper hand over competitors. “We’re mindful of the fact that competition for quality space…has gone up and is going to keep going up,” he continued, adding that advertisers are most interested in networks offering an optimum mix of content quality and price.

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