‘Ad Networks’ a term that thats been around since advertising hit the internet big time as far as revenues are concerned. There have been models like adbrite (marketplace) and kontera (in-text) and ofcourse the google publisher network which have made google the billion dollar giant that it is currently.
India caught on to the ad network buzz around 2005-06 when the likes of tyroo and komli came into the picture. Over the last few months everyone from portals to ad agencies seems to have been bitten by the ad network bug. The reason ofcourse are obvious. The number of India centric content portals and the long tail of blogs and user generated media is increasing day by day which creates a need for monetization of content and better media planning for advertisers both of which can be facilitated by an ad network.
The latest to catch on to the ad network herds is Ibibo with its soon to launch Adwinks, Ishir Digital the digital agency which has also launched tonic tag another ad network and finally the latest one to join the bandwagon is the soon to be launched ad network by digital agency Interactive Avenues called AdMagnet. We had also broken the story on the expected launch of ad network Adchakra by Percept Knorigin.
Now in just a few paragraphs into this post ive already mentioned half a dozen to be launched ad networks. One is forced to pose the question.. How many will survive?? And even more important questions are what could this mean for publishers, advertisers and ofcourse the all important.. Users!??
Lets start with the Publishers..
There are two kinds of publishers:
1) Bigger Portal type publishers
2) Smaller blogger type publishers
Many ad networks mean two things for publishers:
1) More options for better quality and paying ads
2) Even smaller publishers can make a buck and survive and grow.
So all in all more ad networks does mean publishers will have it much easier than before as far as monetising their content is concerned.
What about Advertisers??
Well if its good for publishers then its great for advertisers! Here’s why?
1) Advertisers/Media Planners are always looking for better advertising opportunities but rarely have the time or the resources to search for the ideal sites and media plan due to lack of both knowledge and resources. So an adnetwork doesn’t only provide an advertiser reach but also gives him media planning tools given the depth of information an ad network gathers by displaying ads on sites. Also ad networks help in leveraging the long tail of small small sites which dont make sense to advertise on in isolation but collectively make a lot of sense.
2) The second and the most important advantage is that in an over supplied market the guy who makes the demand is king! So in the current scenario advertisers can get the best deal from ad networks.
Lastly what does this mean for the YOU – The User??
Yes ads are something the user may not like or want to see as it may irritate (a perception engraved in the users mind who were subjected to popups.). But ads can be contextual as well (thats what google has taught us!) and can add value to the users as well. Question is will users benefit in some tangible way as well?? As in pay to see ads?? Maybe not as that model is not that effective in the long run..
So finally what kind of ad network will work?
We firmly believe the longtail network will work. Weve observed that many networks try to lure the big portals, jobsites etc. While that might be a huge numbers game where in one publisher means millions of impressions what is problematic with this model is that large publisher would anyways have their own ad sales team and they are less likely to give their premium ad spaces to an ad network. What ad networks need to look at is small publishers, blogs etc which are miniscule in traffic but many of them put together become a very powerful bunch. The problem with this small publisher market is that they are currently ruled by the google adsense phenomenon and if any ad network wants to penetrate the same it needs to build a scalable product that needs very little sales, after sales and service which is what google adsense does! But what it does not do is provide good returns and money. The ad network which can crack that and bring better returns to small publishers will surely be able to build a scalable model in the ad network play in India. It wont be easy but whoever said it will ever be?