Why Most People Will Never Be Great At Evaluating Ad Networks
The ad network business has grown into a highly complex ecosystem that makes its evaluation a make-it-or-break-it item in every publisher’s advertising strategy. At the time when the value of the online advertising market is projected to reach a whopping $220.38 billion by 2019, it’s no wonder that we are witnessing a proliferation of competing for ad networks, which makes their evaluation an even more daunting task. Many bloggers, publishers, and other web owners are simply unprepared for this job since they do not pay enough attention to the features that separate professional ad networks from those that just clutter the path. All of these factors warrant a deeper look into the ad network evaluation process in order to help you avoid the most common pitfalls in making this key business decision.
Demand No Less than Squeaky Clean Advertising
In an age in which ad networks go up against social advertising platforms with the lion’s share of the market, their quality is what distinguishes them from the competition. This is particularly evident when publishers have abundantly available options as they have today.
So, let’s start with a less frequently mentioned facet of ad network evaluation – the examination of its professed dedication to enforcing clean advertising practices. This is not unusual, as we live in an age in which ad network fraud accounts for losses amounting to billions of dollars. This issue is actually escalating due to increasing sophistication in the perpetration of these nefarious activities. This trend has led to the perpetuation of the atmosphere of mistrust among publishers and advertisers, which is substantiated by claims that as much as half of the $50 billion digital marketing industry is impacted by fraudulent actions. This includes the utilization of bots that spread malware and create fake clicks and impressions. Perpetrators also tend to target publishers by plaguing their websites with low-quality ads.
Therefore, one of the key features of ad network evaluation is taking into account its ability to demonstrate accountability and transparency in relation to fraud, as this represents the only means of combating these highly damaging practices. Only highly professional ad networks will go to great lengths to show their potential clients that their enterprise is protected by a set of transparent measures and indicators of exemplary business practices.
RevenueHits ad network, for example, makes it obligatory for its advertisers to prove that their ads or websites affiliated with them are in no way related to the practices that are employed for the purpose of generating traffic. In addition to this, RevenueHits upholds zero tolerance policy when it comes to redirecting, spoofing or trafficking practices and ads with links to sites containing pirated software, pornographic or gambling-related content.
Ad Inventory under a Microscope
Moving on to the next part of the evaluation equation, you will also have to consider the network’s ad inventory size as well as its pool of available advertisers. Larger ad inventories give you more options in terms of the ad network’s ability to match its ads with your website based on its content. This entails checking the type of formats that the ad network offers, ranging from text ads and pop-ups to video rolls and GIFs. As no single ad format is beneficial for each marketing campaign, your safest bet is to pick an ad network offering a broad enough assortment of ad formats, so that you can freely engage in trial & error testing without fear that you will run out of options.
With ad networks that have a larger ad inventory at their disposal, you’ll quickly learn to appreciate the higher probability that their ads themselves will be better targeted at the desired audience. Similarly, larger ad networks can cover more geographical areas, due to the higher number of their available advertisers. This is easily translated into making it less likely for the network to have substantial unsold portions of inventory.
Unlike the evaluation of ad inventory size which is a parameter mostly related to numbers, the quality of ads offered by an ad network is more of an intangible indicator of the network’s desirability. During the evaluation, you’ll do well to double check if the ad network of your choice offers quality advertisements in terms of their performance and quantity. You must ensure that the ads offered by the chosen network are in tune with the brand or audience you are trying to build.
In accordance with these tenets, RevenueHits uses advanced algorithms to research and examine the ways to place the ads with the sole goal of continually offering stellar performance. This means you will be offered an ad inventory comprised solely of high-performance ads that are relevant to your audience.
Becoming a Transparency Sleuth
Payment practices can make or break a professional relationship [Credit: Mobyaffiliates]
Another oft-neglected element of the ad network evaluation process involves checking their capability to deliver a clean bill of health when it comes to their payment practices. This consideration often ranks low in the evaluation proceedings, despite the fact that it is an item that will ultimately put your partnership with an ad network to a stress test. This is corroborated by reports showing that as much as 69% of polled publishers say that they are ready to leave ad networks on the grounds of payment issues. The most common issues involve late payments, unpaid earned funds or repeated situations in which it is necessary to ask for external help to resolve issues between the parties in the first place. Some of the highly demanded features that are the hallmarks of responsive and professional ad networks are practices involving early or timely payments and transparent reporting on change of payments status. Make sure to include these inquiries as a part of your ad network evaluation procedure.
Pricing transparency has recently evolved into another cause of worry for the publishers, and that is the pricing model. Quality ad networks offer flexible pricing models as well as equally verifiable degrees of their transparency. They need to be able to demonstrate clear bid pricing policies for the context of each individual campaign. In addition to this, they need to apply the same level of clarity when it comes to defining their “premium” inventory offer.
RevenueHits ensures compliance with its transparency policies by withholding payment to the advertisers that engage in dishonest practices. In addition to this, those who fail to ignore initial warnings are immediately banned and blocked from further transactions.
The evaluation of every facet of an ad network business is a complex endeavor, which is why not all of us can be good at it. Yet, by following the above guidelines, you will be empowered in terms of your ability to sort out the pretenders and unprofessional ad networks from those that can help you earn money from your website.