The Importance of Ad Networks’ Reputations

Digital ad networks have the technology to target specific users based on behavior, location, job title, industry, interests, purchases, just about anything you can think of. This technology is something that going site-direct cannot offer. It’s the mindset of focusing impressions on the user, rather than the website.  In additIon, on the back-end, the reporting is much more story-telling than just clicks and impressions.

However, some ad networks have a dark side:

  • Some digital ad networks do not offer transparent reporting. Transparent reporting is important because it shows what sites your content is being displayed on, and how many times it was displayed there. Three reasons why some ad networks aren’t transparent is because
    • the website list is confidential,
    • because it’s part of a network buy, you are buying the good along with the bad to get the best costing
    • you’re not targeting the site, you’re targeting the user, so it doesn’t matter what site they are on

But these are not the best practices to abide by. Ideally, you want your ad to show when the user is in the right mindset. For instance, they may not be very receptive to a vacation-oriented ad while they are on a debt-consolidating tips website.

  • Some digital ad networks have been tagged as having “bot” traffic, meaning websites having false impressions. “A large number of the sites in question are suspected of getting huge chunks of traffic from bots – that is nonhuman traffic delivered by machines designed to mimic users and inflate audience and traffic numbers for publishers,” (April 22, 2013 ADWEEK pg 26). These questionable web sites are boasting huge traffic numbers with little to no substance in their content and showing little to no evidence of actual human audiences. Not only are the ads not seen by real people, it also drives up the cost.

Digital is still a good buy and still works, unfortunately there are just some bad eggs. It’s important to work with a reputable ad network that offers quality content, placement, and transparent reporting to ensure your ads are seen by (the right) people.