Glam Adds Premium Inventory Ratings

Glam Media updated its ad serving technology, giving buyers using the so-called Glam Evolution system the ability to automatically determine “prime time” placements for display and video ads on the company’s ad network.

The enhancements aim to identify premium inventory based on “five critical dimensions,” according to Glam. That part sounds a bit like a creepy eHarmony.com commercial, but the two-year-old company, which owns and operates Glam.com, isn’t helping people find soul mates. Its goal is to sell ads on the booming Glam “distributed media network,” an entity some critics have characterized as a wolf (ad network) in the clothing of a sheep (women-oriented Web site).

VP for Product Management Ryan Roslansky said the technology can now deliver what Glam calls “prime time placement” of premium ad inventory across the seven sites it directly manages and on the approximately 450 additional publisher sites on its network. The network’s formulas take into account placement, context, engagement mode, brand continuity and editorial quality, according to the company. While the term “prime time” has broadcast connotations, its application in Glam’s case has little to do with time. What it amounts to, basically, is bigger ads higher on the page, with some contextual and behavioral targeting factors layered on.

“There are certain times and spots and audiences which are more enviable from an advertiser’s perspective,” Roslansky said. “To date, the Internet hasn’t done a good job defining what is a more enviable end-result for an advertiser.”

Glam hopes the refinements will help it comply when brand advertisers make detailed placement requests. “An advertiser comes to us and says they are trying to get their brand in front of, say, women 18 to 34 years old in the U.S. who are looking at handbag type content, who are not in a social media environment and who are on a page that’s not user-generated content,” said Roslansky. “They want it above the fold and size 300×600. That’s primetime placement for a brand advertiser.”

Glam Evolution is now more capable of attempting to fill those types of high-end requests, Roslansky argued. In a way, the new technology addresses some of the concerns voiced recently by Glam competitors and analysts who suggested Glam’s numbers were somewhat bogus largely because the Glam network includes many sites that are rich in traffic but have little or no relationship to women.

Roslansky noted the new system focuses ad placement on quality, not quantity. “We’re searching for best of breed sites to be in the network,” he vowed, adding the new approach will only work if advertisers are satisfied that the placements are truly of a higher value. “Every single site has a brand rank associated to it,” he said. “That is predominantly driven by the algorithm but there is also some human intervention and scoring in it.”

He added each publisher is assigned a brand rank between one and 10. “Obviously, publishers with higher brand ranks are more privy to larger brand advertising and more expensive campaigns.”

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