Study finds more brands turning to ad networks

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The third annual Ad Network Study from ad network Collective Media, which was released today and surveyed more than 500 marketers, finds that more brand advertisers – over 70% of those queried – are adopting ad networks for their display media needs.

“The market has changed dramatically, and now brands are thinking more audience-centric rather than site-specific,” said Collective Media CEO Joe Apprendi. “Brands are buying audience using sophisticated targeting but can still ensure that the ad appears in a high-quality environment.”

The economy also has highlighted the need for better targeting to increase ROI at a lower cost for brands, said Karsten Weide, industry analyst at IDC.

“With the recession there is even more pressure to get more bang for the buck,” he said. “So what they're looking to do is get inventory that is just as high quality as on Yahoo or Microsoft but not quite as expensive. And they want high-quality demographics.”

The vast proliferation of hundreds of ad networks is recognized by advertisers as well. According to the study, 71% of respondents feel there are too many ad networks, although they understand that all are not the same and the landscape is diversified. Typically, they use only one or two networks. “Only a few matter,” said Apprendi.

Weide agrees that advertisers are looking for quality and not just random collections of inventory.
 
“This survey confirms how important it is for advertisers to have ad networks that add value beyond just aggregating inventory,” he said, adding there will “definitely” be a shakeout among ad networks over the next year. “I estimate as many as one-third could go away this year, whether they go out of business, are acquired by another company or merge. There is pressure on this segment to consolidate.”

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