Choosing the Right Ad Network, Part 2

With new ad networks popping up all the time and established networks rebranding, it’s harder than ever for planners and buyers to keep tabs on the space and, more important, identify the right advertising partner. In the interest of facilitating this effort, we continue our overview of some of the industry’s most interesting players and what they can offer that their competitors can’t.

Tribal Fusion

Similar to its direct competitors, Tribal Fusion offers a premium site list. The difference is that its list is completely transparent. Advertisers can browse the network’s entire list of partners — 1,500 properties strong.

This is an important point of distinction where ad networks are concerned. Not all networks are willing or able to take this route, primarily due to sales channel conflict — one of the biggest issues publishers must contend with when they elect to work with an ad network. In other words, from a publisher perspective a network partnership can cannibalize its direct sales. And from a network’s perspective, requiring transparency can limit the number of publishers willing to work with the network.

What does transparency mean for advertisers? With a transparent network, you’ll be armed with more information as to where your ads are being placed — making justifying them to your clients much easier.

ScanScout

ScanScout may be one of several video advertising networks at your disposal, but it has more to offer than inventory alone. The network delivers a video indexing, ad targeting, and optimization platform that can target video ads contextually, behaviorally, geographically, and demographically.

ScanScout’s video-indexing technology uses a multifaceted approach to classifying video content. Multiple signals, including metadata, audio, and visual, are applied to an algorithm that provides a more precise content analysis and allows for a more relevant ad placement. Its optimization engine, meanwhile, can adjust ad placement in real time based on where ads perform and engage the viewer best. In an industry where online video ad measurement continues to befuddle marketers, ScanScout addresses video with a pragmatic eye our clients are sure to appreciate.

NetShelter Technology Media

Advertisers whose sights are set on a highly targeted audience are sure to be familiar with vertical ad networks, a recent trend that delivers access to sites focusing on a specific market. No longer are we limited to the contents of content channels offered by more general networks. Vertical networks typically afford more site options and more specialized traffic than their broad-spectrum predecessors. Best of all, there’s a vertical network for virtually every vertical you could imagine.

Consider NetShelter, a go-to source for B2B (define) and B2C (define) technology consumers. The network can connect you with business IT decision makers, IT professionals, technology buyers, tech enthusiasts, and dedicated gamers similar to those you’d find through publishers like IDG, Ziff Davis Enterprise, and CNET.

Apart from a targeted tech audience, NetShelter offers custom publishing programs that allow marketers to manage the technology buying cycle from consideration and evaluation through to the purchase. Like its publisher peers, it will go beyond selling ad placements to develop branded Web pages to drive additional traffic and reach campaign objectives.

Travel Ad Network

With over 50 travel-specific sites under its umbrella (for which it is the exclusive ad seller), including Lonely Planet and Rand McNally, Travel Ad Network (TAN) reaches one in five online travelers. Interestingly, the network doesn’t shy away from consumer-generated media the way some others do. This is key for a travel network, given the propensity of travelers to rely on consumer reviews and recommendations. Campaigns can be targeted both by a user’s origin and destination.

Glam Media

Glam‘s got the widest reach of women consumers online, but what sets it apart is the nature of the site content it represents. The network offers access to its own sites (like Glam.com) along with lifestyle, beauty, fashion, design, and cooking blogs and sites from indie publishers. Most will be unfamiliar, but rest assured they draw an audience of passionate and dedicated fashion and beauty consumers with their unique voices and independent point of view.

Jumpstart Automotive Media

Jumpstart emerged in 2000 and remains the only ad network dedicated to the automotive market. That includes automotive resource sites like Vehix and JDPower.com, as well as in-market shoppers and those actively searching for new and used cars. The objective, the network says, is to effectively connect auto manufacturers, regional ad associations, and dealers with qualified potential customers. One might say Jumpstart is the epitome of a vertical ad network, if not for its stellar site list then for its success in pulling in most every major automotive advertiser out there.

When you find the right network for your needs, there’s more to consider than value propositions alone. Next: a final network roundup, along with some issues to address before your campaign goes live.

Join us for ClickZ Presents: Online Marketing Summit, September 25 at the Sheraton San Diego.

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