The Definitive List of Self-Serve Online Ad Buying

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 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.
  • (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

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 (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.
  • Like MSNBC, 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.

Join us for Search Engine Strategies San Jose, August 10-14, 2009, at the McEnery Convention Center. Spend Day 1 learning about social media and video strategies with ClickZ.

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