Let's not forget that 2000 will forever be remembered as the Internet Bust. But in 2011, the opportunities in online advertising are at an all-time high, and advertisers are continuing to shift larger amounts of traditional marketing dollars online. Tremendous amounts of venture capital dollars are flowing into our industry and consolidation of the industry is also underway.
However, as a publisher it pays to be caution, thereby avoiding the irrational exuberance that is pervasive in our industry, including:
Discrepancies are considered to be the cancer of online advertising. If your advertising discrepancies are between 1%-10% this is considered to be acceptable by industry standards. Discrepancies over 10% need to be analyzed. We have seen discrepancies from ad networks as high as 50% and up to 40% with SSPs. This is money out of your pocket and can really add up over time. So where exactly do discrepancies come from? What causes them? Here are the most common causes of discrepancies: the daisy chain effect, ad-blocking technology, defaulting, multiple definitions of an ad impression.
Publishers must fully understand the billing terms of every advertiser they work with, whether it is an ad network, DSP or SSP. There are several "tricks" that advertising demand partners use to hold onto your money as long as possible. First, look in the contract to see if the advertiser pays on dollars billed or collected. If an advertiser pays net 60 on billed, you should receive your payment at the end of the month plus 60 days.
If the advertiser pays net 60 on collected, it can take considerably more time. We have seen ad networks and SSPs that pay on collected items take over 200 days to remit the full payment. For a publisher that relies on ad dollars to fund its business operations, this can be a huge problem.
And, don't fall for the old trick "the check is in the mail." If the advertiser offers ACH, wire transfer or PayPal for a small fee -- take it. This will speed up the payment by weeks or even months, and you can usually rely on the date when payments should be received.
Malvertising has become more and more of an issue every year. As a publisher, you need to take the necessary steps to protect your users from dangerous viruses. How do you protect the integrity of your Web site? The first step is to be selective with the advertising networks that you work with. Do your homework and read reviews and blogs to see what other customers are saying.
Second, be very cautious of international networks unknown to you. There are networks out there that are malicious in nature and do not have any intent of providing advertising to publishers. They are merely a front for malvertising. Third, we recommend working with a company that detects and provides malvertising protection, such as The Media Trust, AdSafe Media and DoubleVerify, for example.
Visitors to your site are becoming more inundated with ads everywhere they turn. Monitor the quality of advertisements on your site to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable experience. We block various ads from our network, including political, gambling, adult-oriented, etc. We strongly advise you to come up with your own block list to distribute to all of your advertising demand partners.
Luckily, the market today is shifting into a more normal and healthy stance from the "irrational exuberance" from a decade ago. So far it's not a "bust" at all. Experience is what really counts. Both success and failure are important and valuable in online publishing.