5 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Choosing an Ad Network

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First let me start of by telling you that I had to work with at least 70 different advertisers as a publisher before I realized what are the essential 5 questions a publisher should ask himself.

In this post I will be going to talk to you about the following:

  • – How overwhelming picking an advertiser can be.
  • – I am going to tell you what in my opinion are the 5 questions you need to ask yourself before moving forward.
  • – In each question I will give you some information or examples that will help you understand why these questions are so important.


While it’s a bad idea not to leverage the benefits of advertising once your company is prepared to move forward with it, it’s also not a good idea to blunder forward without asking yourself some probing questions to ensure that you’re choosing the best ad network available for your needs.  Each marketing campaign is different, each company has different messages and goals, and each type of advertising network offers different options to help them meet those goals.


Many people become overwhelmed considering these issues, because they think it takes an expert in public relations to figure out the answers.

While hiring a great ad network to handle your campaign can be a good choice, you’re more than capable of choosing that network without being concerned about making a mistake.  That’s because choosing the right ad network is less about what you know, and more about what questions you ask.  You should ask the following five questions of yourself—and you should pose these questions to the ad network representatives you choose to work with as well.



1. What is your marketing strategy?

This is the most open ended of the questions you’ll be considering, because the answers are going to vary quite a bit from organization to organization.  One of the first things you should think about when considering what your marketing strategy is (or should be) is what your business strategy is—because that’s going to have a huge impact on what you want to communicate to your customers.

For example, are you in the business of cost leadership? If you’re offering similar value for much lower prices than your competitors, this is obviously going to inform your marketing strategy.  Or is your business strategy one which favors differentiation?  If your product fills a familiar niche, but it does so in a unique, creative way, that’s something you’ll have to communicate to your potential customers somehow.

After all, your target audience doesn’t know they need a single-hand operated non-electrical can opener until they know one exists and how it’s going to improve their experience. There are as many variations on strategy as there are organizations; perhaps you’re in the business of fast and furious innovation, or perhaps your focus is on providing top level luxury goods.

Think about what you’re doing as a business, and then connect the dots to figure out what you need to communicate to the public—along the way, you’ll discover your marketing strategy options. At the very least, you need to have a firm idea of your business strategy when you start asking questions of ad networks and PR firms.


2. What type of campaign (or types of campaigns) best suit your needs?

There are many different types of ad campaigns, and you don’t need to commit to just one, necessarily. But undoubtedly some will be better suited for your needs than others will.  Search based campaigns are a great way to get knowledge of unusual or very specific products out there; if someone is searching for a Cadillac OEM paint matching touch up pen, for example, they’re almost certainly looking to buy it.

If someone is searching for how to boil an egg, they might be interested in cooking, but they probably aren’t going to be interested in buying a pot to boil the egg in, online. They’re going to boil that egg in the next twenty minutes.  On the other hand, they may very well be interested in a book on quick and easy recipes for new cooks.

Display campaigns are a bit more flexible, because they draw connections using information with more context than a search engine query.  A display ad for a wine making kit on a blog about how to make one’s own wine, for example, is almost certainly in line with the sort of product the person is interested in.


3. What types of ads will best serve your interests?

Text ads, image ads, video ads—there are plenty of options out there.  What we already know is that image ads and video ads get more views, simply because images and videos improve the chances that someone browsing will look at the page at all.  How they’re executed is another matter, however.

For example. at imonomy we provide non-invasive, highly contextual in-image ads which engage the viewer; random banner ads, however, exist more or less in the blind spot of the entire Internet browsing audience.


4. Where do you to reach your audience?

Do you want to reach them on search pages, blogs, or news sites? Do you want to reach them on their PC, tablet, or smartphone?  There are a number of factors which affect how effective each type of campaign might be in this sense. First, where are your potential users going to be browsing, and what devices will they be using?

Second, where should your ads be presented to facilitate the user actually visiting your site and following through as a lead?  Finally, consider your marketing strategy and the types of ads you want to use, and think about who will be willing to host those ads.  Bloggers with high quality sites are probably not going to let them be peppered with low quality text ads; they’ll want contextual, targeted ads with high quality, relevant images.

Choose an ad network that’s going to provide you with high quality ads if you want to reach an audience that is visiting high quality sites.  It’s just common sense; if you restrict yourself to spam emails, you’re just not going to reach the same caliber of potential customers.


5. What audience are you trying to reach?

Ad networks have different methods of targeting.  There are those who, as we’ve mentioned, use algorithms and detailed client lists to ensure that their ads fit the context of the site that the viewer is visiting.  But there’s more to targeting than that.

For example. with imonomy’s technology we can actually determine which of a number of relevant ads is most relevant depending upon the pages that the viewer has recently visited—not just the one they’re on now.  If they’ve been visiting a popular video game forum which focuses on a particular game about the Second World War, and then they look up a model of weapon or equipment that’s present in the game, networks like these can piece this information together and realize that it’s more likely that the viewer would be interested in console accessories or similar video games than collecting World War II memorabilia or books.


In conclusion

Again, I stress that you don’t need to be an advertising expert or know all of the answers or all of the details of the answers to these questions. What you need to do is think about them, prepare your thoughts about them, and then have them in mind when you research different ad networks and speak with their representatives.  Just asking the right questions can have a really impressive effect on your return on investment.

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Oren graduated with an honors B.A. in Financial Risk Management from IDC Herzliya. Beginning his career in the IDF Intelligence Corps, Oren has over 15 years of experience in R&D. Oren worked as key account manager at Yedda, a startup that was later acquired by AOL.

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