Adify's Russ Fradin maintains vertical networks have been "accurately hyped." The gap between hype and value is much greater on social media and vertical networks, which have relatively modest goals, he adds. Adify itself hasn't lacked for aggressive PR efforts over the last two years. On the other hand, social properties like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have generated so much interest in the ad community they haven't had to push for publicity as hard.
Are vertical networks still relevant in the age of audience targeting? Adify CEO Russ Fradin rejects comparison of horizontal and vertical networks. He argues vertical networks aren't offshoots of horizontal ad networks but more the evolution of Web portals, explaining why CPMs are more like those on portals than traditional ad networks. Travel Ad Network's Brian Silver says he's been using the portal analogy for the last two years to explain the importance of context to target advertising, especially for going after the in-market travel audience
Are vertical ad networks standing up to their own hype? No doubt, says Brian Silver, President & CEO, Travel Ad Network. Why? â€œWe have exclusive representation,â€ he says, adding, â€œItâ€™s not just about reach and frequency â€¦ itâ€™s about understanding our [publishers] and bringing them [the appropriate] products and services.â€ Speaking for the horizontal network community, Jim Waltz, President of Traffic Marketplace, doesnâ€™t necessarily disagree. â€œThereâ€™s a lot they can do,â€ he says, adding: â€œThereâ€™s a lot we can do that verticals can do, too.â€
How do you measure brand? â€œThere is a lot of data in the market that targets brands,â€ said Dave Helmreich, VP, Interactive Marketing, TARGUSinfo. â€œThere are subsets [of consumers] that prefer particular brands â€¦ You look for people that tend to buy specific brands and services â€¦ Thatâ€™s the starting point â€¦ You start with that, and run and test and refine it from there.â€ Says Omar Tawakol, CEO of online data exchange BlueKai: â€œView you audience target as a piece of intellectual property.â€