Understanding the role of Publisher Networks in Ad Serving

Publisher Networks

Publishers must monetise their websites to offset the costs of producing and maintaining content and without subscription this can only be achieved through the sale of ad inventory. The Publisher typically has a sales team that packages up the inventory based on common knowledge or, on occasion, assumptions about the audience viewing it. For instance the Autos Section of a website is typically classed as inventory suitable for middle aged men in the market to purchase a vehicle. The Publisher sales team might choose to contact Autos Advertisers (or Media Agencies representing Autos Advertisers directly) to sell, closing the deal by having the new customer sign an IO (Insertion Order).

The completed IO is processed by a Publisher ad operations team who use a “Publisher ad server” to load ads and ad tags onto the Publisher website. A Publisher network acts as a sales and operations house for multiple Publishers, and normally only take on Publishers with a certain amount of available inventory and audiences which are in demand by Advertisers. For a Publisher, signing up to become part of a network means the security of outsourcing most of the advertising campaign operations, and in some instances contractual agreements are made to guarantee revenue.

Publisher networks hugely reduce wastage of inventory by being able to select from a greater pool of Advertisers and capping the user’s exposure to a particular campaign or Advertisers messages across multiple sites. Networks having been going through big changes in the last two years,  The biggest change of all has been the advent of Advertising Exchanges. Advertising Exchanges and SSPs.

Niche Networks

A Network is a term thrown around a lot in the Publisher space. Mobile Network and Video Network are examples of Publisher Networks that are more channel specific which are becoming much more common in online advertising. Another type of network is the Affiliate Network and its complexity gives it a channel all of its own. To understand the difference briefly; Affiliate networks operate under more dynamic cost models than standard Publisher networks and offer a differentiated reach of the online media audience.

Blind Networks

Networks sell the available inventory but aren’t always completely transparent about exactly which pages the ads will appear on or even which sites in their Publisher network they will be served on. With a blind network buy there is no way for the Advertiser to go to a page to see their ad when the campaign does go live. Only reporting will reveal the delivery statistics which is why using a third party ad server for these “buys” is essential.

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