What to Look for When Choosing an Ad Network

March 2016

What to Look for When Choosing an Ad Network

If you’re looking to make the most of your paid online advertising and want to get away from PPC ads (or at least supplement their performance), you’ll want to consider display ads. Of course, you’re free to partner with individual websites to host those ads, but that’s an awful lot of work for not much return. It’s a far better idea to partner with an ad network. Essentially, these networks connect publishers (you) with host sites that display your ads. They’re not all created equal, though. You’ll need to know how to choose the right one.

Network Size

One of the most important considerations is the network’s size. Larger networks have the potential to get your ad on more websites, thereby increasing your exposure. However, smaller networks might be a better fit for a number of reasons. They might be better priced. They might target your audience better. The best option is to choose a network that helps ensure you’re able to target your ideal audience (size is important, but secondary to audience exposure if all other things are equal).

Minimum Spend

Does the network require you to have a minimum amount of spend? If so, is it monthly? Is it quarterly? Is it annually? How does the required amount of money match up to the amount of exposure you’ll get to your target audience (target audience exposure always trumps random web surfer exposure)? You’ll also need to assess how you’re charged. Is it a pay-per-click model, or a pay-per-thousand impression setup? This can make a big difference in the overall cost of your advertising.

Is Assistance Available?

Particularly for new advertisers, but pertinent to all, how much assistance does the network offer? Do they require you to “go it alone”, or is there professional help available? If they offer assistance, does it come at an extra cost? Do you have a single dedicated rep? Do you have access to a full team? While networks with professional help will cost you more, it can be well worth the extra in the long run.

Reporting

You’ll need to know how well your ads are performing, and that means having access to reports. What is the network’s reporting like? Ask for a sample report so that you can see firsthand if it’s detailed enough for your needs (more details are generally preferable to barebones reports). You might even find that good reporting makes having professional assistance unnecessary (as long as you can read and understand the report, and it’s fully fleshed out).

Display Sites

Where will your ads be displayed? Do you have any control over this, or is it up to the ad network? Do you get to control how long the ad will be displayed on each site? What formats and sizes are available?
Choosing an ad network doesn’t have to be frustrating. Follow the tips above to make the process simpler and easier. Remember that the most important rule here is to thoroughly research each network before making a decision.

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