Desktop Ad Network to Launch

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Advertising in desktop software may not be a new concept, but it is one that online ad representing services are considering more frequently. These firms may soon be able to do so on a large scale, as desktop content delivery service Conducent will launch its Desktop Media Network this month.


Online ad representation services such as Real Media and Cybereps have already agreed to sign on to the idea of augmenting clients' Web ad buys with placements in desktop software. Advertisers will be able to choose from more than 470 desktop software applications in Conducent's library, or "network," of offerings. DMN includes more than 7 million users a month; more than 20 million people have installed advertising-supported software from Conducent.


With increased pressure being placed on media buyers to look for alternatives to low-performing online advertising, the idea of placing ads in software that asks users to submit useful marketing information before downloading is looking attractive.


"We will do a lot of independent site representation, and the clients we do it for have found that ad network buying just doesn't give them the specific targeting they need," said Bill Kopco, vice president of marketing. "We have found that through the mass that Conducent has and the specific kind of software they offer, we can deliver more of the right ads to the right people. Plus, you don't have to be on the Web to reach them."


Kopco stressed that because users will give varied levels of demographic profiling (age, profession, income, etc.) and desktop software categories (including technology, small business, finance and entertainment), it can produce the kind of specific targeting that most ad networks don't have.


"We've been placing ads in our software for nearly two years but never to this scale, and now we have online media buyers becoming very attracted to the idea," said Robert Regular, Conducent's director of sales and marketing. "The other important aspect about this service is that unlike most ad networks, where you pay for ads whether or not they are seen, our advertisers will only pay when we know the ad is seen for a certain amount of time."


Regular also noted that several big-name advertisers, including Verizon, Staples and CNET, have already achieved "exceptional" results in a cost-effective manner by advertising on some of Conducent's software, with click-through rates averaging 5 percent to 6 percent in some cases.


Verizon, for one, has been advertising in Conducent's software for several months. According to 3D Technologies, the agency that worked with Verizon to optimize its online advertising results, the company's ad costs steadily decreased while advertising in the software during that time.


During the first four weeks, Verizon spent an average of $1.20 per click. After 14 weeks, that spending was reduced to 80 cents per click. During the past couple of weeks, the company spent an average of 30 cents per click. No further results were available.


Conducent has partnered with more than 150 software developers for the PC and Mac to integrate dynamic content in software. After a user downloads any of this software and supplies the necessary information, they also download ads in the process. These ads, which rotate for 60 to 90 seconds in the DMN, are displayed whether the user is online or offline. According to Regular, these ads can be anything from basic buttons and banners to rich media.
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