Breaking The Daisy Chain

OMMA Ad Nets: The Buyers Market: Vetting the Nets

Making the best use of ad networks has become difficult. Ad-targeting technology to improve efficiencies has lagged behind use, and daisy chaining and verification processes have been anything but perfect.

When the topic at the OMMA AdNets conference, The Buyers' Market: Vetting the Nets, in Los Angeles Tuesday turned toward how to handle top networks that daisy chain, or re-broker inventory to expand the reach of the ad, the conversation got heated.

The clients that Universal McCann works with have pretty hefty goals. And to reach those goals, daisy chaining or re-brokering will likely occur. "I'm okay with that as long as it's not through a thousand different people, so my effective CPM or CPC is bid up high," says Sarah Potemkin, group communications director, Universal McCann. "I'm not okay when it gets daisy chained into that land of fraudulent clicks, impressions and spyware. That's not cool."

Potemkin says Universal McCann has a three-strikes-and-you're-out policy for ad networks. Ad networks can re-broker, but "you're done" if the ad traffics through one of the domains the agency doesn't want to broker through.

Verifying campaigns and audiences have become important as advertisers demand proof of success. This will prompt companies to create and introduce more innovative tools to monitor performance. Agency.com VP Analysis Director Jeff Burger says it's not rocket science to verify a client and campaign. "We spend millions of our clients' dollars on media and agency fees," he says. "Then we stuff it in an envelope, shove it out the door, say 'go with God,' and see what happens."

When you start embedding campaign verification tools with third-party ad servers, paid search and other tools, it becomes complex. The stack keeps building with every campaign, Burger says. It becomes one more technology to introduce to clients.

Campaign verification is important, but it could create an additional cost, which we don't want to see in the online business, says Jitka Petrickova, group director, media, Organic. "On the other hand, technology is moving so fast that we can start building the system and it will become available by the time we get there," she says. "It's important, as we move from buying the inventory, to buying the audience, that the planners optimize campaigns to not manage CPUs against the reach, but rather the ROI."

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