Archive for the Ad Network Shaming category
Step 1: Navigate to Crate & Barrel, put an item in your shopping cart and abandon the transaction.
Step 2: Navigate to pretty much any Entertainment site on the internet. The more borderline the better – since these sites do not have their own sales teams and do not have the contextually relevant content that command strong CPM’s from the adnets / advertisers.
Step 3: See a Crate & Barrel ad served from Google (probably indirectly through Adx).
I wonder if Crate & Barrel is ok with their ads serving on sites like Evilmilk.com and wwtdd.com? I’m sure the inventory is cheap to the adnet (facilitated by Google Adx) probably $0.25 – $1 CPM (to Evilmilk.com). At that price and with re-targeting it probably converts incredibly well. Everybody is making money.
What’s the problem?
Crate & Barrel is most likely paying $2.50+ CPM for these re-targeted IMPR’s no matter where the adnet is finding the user. The adnet is likely making a very strong margin between what they are paying for the inventory and what Crate & Barrel is paying them. These being re-targeted users the ads are likely driving strong sales and ROI; especially when compared to a less targeted ad and/or an IMPR at a higher CPM (on a more premium site).
Effectively more premium IMPR’s on safer sites are more expensive and are less valuable in terms of margin to the adnet. These borderline entertainment sites are exactly the site inventory where the adnets make the most money – this is where the most revenue can be captured (margin) between what the advertiser is paying and what adnets have to pay publishers. 50%, 60%, 70% margins – this what arbitrage and being an adnet is all about – this is optimization.
Living with Contradiction
In the offline as opposed to online you don’t find Crate & Barrel ads on the Howard Stern show, Maxim Magazine, Spike TV, or the National Enquirer. You could argue Crate & Barrel customers read Maxim, listed to Howard Stern, watch Spike and read the National Inquirer; and with a little data Crate & Barrel could reach their customers here. But Crate & Barrel does not buy advertising on borderline entertainment content in the offline.
Is this just a technology thing? Once radio / TV / Paper / Magazines all have an IP addresses and Cookies will content no longer matter? Hello Ipad, WiMax, 4G, Boxee, and Internet Radio.
Maybe there is something else / Maybe brand matters?
From what I can tell Crate & Barrel has made a tremendous effort to keep their brand premium in TV and Print mediums; I wonder if Crate & Barrel knows that their display ad strategy (by design) pushes ads to the lowest common denominator / lowest CPM content.
The question has to be – is it worth risking your brand image running brand ads on borderline content if this is where your audience is / if this is where the best ROI can be achieved?
I started reading Shoptimism by Lee Eisenberg a few days ago. I have only gotten through 50 pages – but so far it’s an interesting read on consumer marketing. An early section on the work of Vance Packard and his exploration (in the 1950′s) of consumer motivational research by social scientist working for advertising agencies reminded me of an incredibly insightful (and somewhat frightening) PBS FrontLine documentary on the same topic. If you have not seen The Persuaders – it’s mandatory viewing for anyone interested in advertising and if your not living off the grid on some atoll in the South Pacific you should be interested in advertising right now.
With respect to Online Advertising check out the narrowcasting section and how marketers and political parties have been working with data vendors (Axiom in this case) to customize their packaging / messaging for every consumer segment – with all the recent talk in the ad industry about customization, personalization, the consumer in charge; makes you think.
An interesting thing happens on Yahoo Video when you disable the safe search function and search on “adult” type keywords. Porn videos and adjacent Brand Ads from multiple AdNets. Advertisers and AdNets beware of cheap inventory, you may just be getting what you pay for.
It looks like Oprah and Dr. Oz want their cut of belly fat ad revenue….. You know the ones you contacted your support rep at all the adnets to block form your site.
Hopefully Oprah and Dr. Oz will NOT go after the AdNets (most all of them ran some variation of this campaign) that facilitated these ads running on pretty much every website on the interwebs January – March 2009.
As of 8/20 there are no more Oprah endorsed Belly Fat Ads on MSNBC – but Rachael Ray is still fair game I guess.
Update: Adotas has a good article with more details here..
It appears brand ads running on inappropriate content is not limited to the traditional banner ad networks and in-page ad units.
Keeping with my theme of picking on Ad Networks and Publishers; here is an example of premium HGTV ads running embedded in Vidilife’s soft core porn video content. From the URL in the screenshot these video ads are being served through YuMeNetworks.com.
HGTV + ASS = NO GOOD FOR ONLINE AD INDUSTRY!