Finding a Unique Ad Network

6 01 2009

Advertising is penetrating more and more of our daily lives. If you watched the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, you probably saw the word “Toshiba” illuminated multiple times on the billboard behind the ball. Ads are showing up in odd places, such as barf bags on airplanes (US Airways) and eggs (CBS).

Even if people don’t like them, they’re talking about them, and that’s exactly what an ad is supposed to do – get people talking. The more unique placements and ad networks you can join, the better. But only if you do it right.

Why Unique Ad Networks Don’t Work
1. Companies don’t do a complete review of their addressable market size. Many companies mistake their industry’s market size with their addressable market size. The industry market size is the total revenue generated in the industry, by all of the companies that make up that industry added together. A company’s addressable market size is the total amount of revenue your company could generate if it obtained every potential customer. The group of potential customers is the addressable population.

Of  course, your company’s addressable market size is proportional to your position in the marketplace, but the point here is to make sure you’re not counting on 1.2 million to see your product ads, when in reality, you might only reach 100,000 with your ads. This misconception (or, really just a mistake with the numbers) makes it look like ad networks don’t work.

2. Ad networks require both advertisers and owners of inventory (inventory refers to Web sites, TV stations or whatever kind of media is being used in the ad network) to subscribe to the ad network. Venture capitalists say that there once was a time when advertisers didn’t want to insert ads into radio shows, magazines and the Internet. At the time, the idea was too radical, too unique. Sometimes the opportunity associated with the inventory isn’t enough to drive others to try it, sometimes it is. You have to be okay with being a pioneer in that media and to take the risk, or the ad network won’t work.

How to Find a Unique Ad Network
To find an ad network that works for you, you need to:

1. Do your research. Not only do you need to find your correct addressable market size, but you also need to figure out where your addressable population is – if you want to join an online ad network, narrow down the types of sites your population frequents – blogs, forums, news sites, music sites, etc.

2. Choose which products to advertise on each network. Some networks work better for certain products than others. If you have a product that doctors might need, advertise that product on a medical network. If you have a product that musicians might want, advertise on a musical ad network. By tailoring your products to an ad network, you have a higher chance for click-thrus.

3. Do a test run. If you’re low on funds, run an ad on just one unique network for a trial period (at least 6 months), and see what kind of results you get. Or, run a few different products on a few different ad networks to see which ones are most successful. You won’t waste money this way because you’ll know which categories and networks work, so you can up your budget when the time comes.

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