Excess Ad Inventory Pushing Value-Added Services

The movement into value-added services by companies throughout the online advertising space continues to get more interesting. First we saw Google provide free tools and services to support online ad sales. Now search engine marketing companies have begun to provide free tools and platforms to small-and-medium size businesses in hopes of eventually locking them in to subscription services for life. Take that one step further, to find demand side platforms (DSP) building networks of tech offerings on top of real-time bidding platforms.

Xa.net built its platform as an integration hub to bring in data from BlueKai, eXelate and TargusInfo, as well as the media from ad exchanges and publishers. Add to that creative services and it gives advertisers a way to pull in targeting data, purchase ads, and design creative pieces.

The xa.net built technology that allows companies to access inventory from ad networks and exchanges through a real-time bidding system will also offer value-added services that assist companies with copywriting and creating ads. The company's CEO, Rob Leathern, tells me xa.net began to build the platform earlier this year and will sign on five companies to augments its services. Think of it this way, Leathern wants xa.net to provide the underlying technology that connects complementary services to make everything work together. That includes ad creation for social media platforms, too.

One of those companies will become BoostCTR, a network of copywriters for text ads that will help xa.net clients improve the quality of copy written for Facebook ads. Others include 4Delite, a self-service system that lets small advertisers create Flash and rich media ads; Interpolls, which creates rich-media formats and widgets; OneScreen; and OggiFinogi.

Xa.net also continues work on integrating Facebook's API allowing advertisers to do multivariate creative and ad testing through the its CPMatic platform.

Aside from building a self-service user interface for creating Facebook ad campaigns, xa.net will allow ad agencies, networks and other companies to run the campaigns through the company's CPMatic platform, according to Leathern.

The move into value-added services reminds me of the electronic component distributors -- both Avnet and Arrow -- that launched services to support sales of semiconductors by offering in-house services to augment declining revenue in the early 2000s. The electronics industry had a glut of inventory, similar to premium ad space on publisher sites.

Leathern called the analogy "interesting," but says in the ad industry it's more about giving advertisers the tools to create content to fill the overcapacity. Yes, (smile) I rest my case.

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2 comments about "Excess Ad Inventory Pushing Value-Added Services".
  1. Mary Ray from 4delite , August 18, 2010 at 3:37 p.m.

    Thanks, Laurie.

    Quick correction on spelling of "4Delit" ...It's "4delite".

  2. Robert Leathern from XA.net, Inc. , August 18, 2010 at 4:56 p.m.

    One of the biggest needs we see currently is for much higher quality creative - and that is the reason we're announcing partnerships with these companies since we focus on the media and data buying part of the equation. We also believe that tying specific creative executions to certain user data, or specific inventory can provide a lot of additional value to advertiser/agency clients, and so the level of integration of the creative with the media buying process become more important over time. Given that audience-based advertising like display is mostly about demand- or interest-generation (vs. intent-driven demand fulfillment in many cases), strong creative and iteration thereof is crucial. Finally we see Facebook as an important channel and so we are currently providing multivariate creative testing tools to our advertisers there and are happy to assist agencies and networks in offering these tools to their clients as well.