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Quantity or Quality for Display Ads?

According to the 2010 Display Advertising Study conducted by Advertiser Perceptions (for Collective Media), advertisers love to target audiences—and know what they’re getting—with site-specific ad buys. But buying targeted ad space on a site-by-site basis is time consuming—and buying on ad networks may see some increase, especially with advertisers with larger budgets.

Most advertisers still prefer site-specific ad buys and plan to continue that tactic. 74% list targeting as the primary benefit. On the other hand, ad networks’ primary benefit is reach—but only 8% (up from 3% last year) of advertisers said that reach is what differentiate ad networks. The most popular answer there was again targeting.

Only a third of advertisers (34%) plan to increase online ad dollars this year. Slightly more (35%) said they were planning to increase spending on ad networks. (That’s the wording in the study. So either somebody didn’t understand that ad networks = online and absolutely everyone increasing spending online will do so in ad networks, or the study meant 35% of those planning to increase spending on the Internet will be increasing their spending on ad networks.) Those spending >$10M online were a little more likely to plan to increase ad network spend (40%). Meanwhile, 52% plan to increase spending on site-specific buys.

What does this mean for ad networks? If they can provide the benefits of targeting with more user data, they might be able to corner more advertising dollars. As the study says, “We expect the next wave of this study to show a marked increase in audience data as the single biggest differentiating factor among ad networks.”

What do you think? Are you focused more on site-specific buys or ad networks? What would make ad networks more attractive to you?

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