Ad Exchanges: A “swing and a miss?”

Written by Chris Werner. Posted in Shark News

A recent report indicates that many of the digital display ads bought via exchanges or ad networks were not "in view" and therefore did not generate the impressions for which advertisers paid.

AdSafe Media, the ad verification service, found that in the one quarter, less than half the ads purchased via ad exchanges or ad networks worldwide were “in-view.” This means that less than 50% of the ad unit was visible for one second or more.

An eMarketer study along the same lines found that ad placement next to questionable content was another problem with buying ads through exchanges. In short, since you cannot control where you land you run the risk of landing in places you’d rather not. This is something we guard against by sticking to more known sites as opposed to ‘sites like’ offered by other placement agencies.

Why We Care: The AdSafe study reports something that we have been saying for some time now that while display ad buying done through ad exchanges and networks may offer greater cost-efficiency buyers must be careful to ensure the ads they buy are in fact resulting in viewable impressions and not just settle for numbers on a report.

In other words, if your ad is 'below the fold' and folks don't scroll down to see it is it really an impression and do you want to pay “full price”?

The eMarketer data emphasizes the need for care and protection of the brand image. Just as there may be “hit listed” shows on television, so should there be concern over landing an ad in a place that might damage the brand.

Exchanges and networks have their place, but diligence must be practiced by the placement agency to ensure that the client is best served.


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