What is an Ad Network and How Does it Work

Internet marketing is still wide open for exploitation; whether you publish blogs or just advertise on them, you need to be thinking about an advertising network system.

As a publisher you are always on the lookout for more advertising for your blog or website. Some web publishers like to deal directly with their advertising accounts, but that’s not always the case. An advertising network can help publishers and advertisers find common interests and synergy without ever being in direct contact with each other. An advertising network also removes personalities from the who process — so nobody feels their work (or their money) is not being taken care of properly.

The best marketing and advertising strategies, of course, are a blend of the personal and the professional — the exact fit, like a personal shoe size, is different for each client and each publisher.

An online advertising platform can be a huge benefit to online businesses. Intermediaries are valuable because they can dicker with the client and negotiate with the publisher as a disinterested third party — making sure that the ultimate result is a win-win situation, where both side feel they are getting the full benefit of the deal and not being taken advantage of. Online advertising platform perform the function of a mediator, and the best ones see to it that both the publisher and the advertiser get the best deal possible — that’s how they stay in business and make their own profit.

A great advantage of advertising networks is the saving of time. Once a publisher has established his or her standards and advertisers have done the same, the advertising networker, working as an honest broker, will find just what the other one is looking for.

Networks, by their very nature, keep track of data and information that an individual advertiser or publisher just doesn’t have time for.

With detailed research that is then segmented according to prearranged parameters the chance of a random ad that is not targeted specifically to a niche audience or group becomes less and less. Without a networking system for advertising many ad agencies wind up using the ineffective ‘shotgun’ approach, scattering their advertising, and wasting their budget, on a broad spectrum of advertising on the off chance that some of it might ‘hit’ the correct target.

For example, a shoe company that caters to young women needs a venue that appeals to that particular demographic — but since young women are also mothers an advertising network will pick up on sites that emphasize children and family as well, where a well placed ad for young women’s shoes can have a large impact.

Ad networks are not free. As a middleman, they do charge a commission. So both advertisers and publishers should carefully check the fees and commissions that will be charged when they engage a network. Most of them are quite ready to give you quotes up front, since transparency is a key selling point for them. If you run across an ad network that gives you the run around about their service fees, it’s best to just pass them by.

Tracking data and creating reports for their clients is an important aspect of any online ad network. Without such accountability done on a consistent basis the client is left in the dark about how effect their ad campaign is, and publishers are often irritated if their own tracking systems don’t jibe with the network’s — since they, too, have to charge for their services.

The bottom line is that an ad network can increase revenue for both the online publisher and the online advertiser, but only if a network is chosen that is transparent, professional, and can guarantee the relevant reports in a timely manner.

Melissa Thompson

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.