Can Adnetworks be more exciting?

I was doing a lot of research over the last few days for a project, and being the net junkie that I am, a lot of it took place on the net.  While surfing, avoiding pop up’s, deliberate redirects and possibly every trick in the book for click fraud firms, I started to think about 2 words – advertising and internet.

In the Indian context I doubt whether anyone would oppose me if I said that Ad networks here are living and working with only banner ads, what I consider aging methodology. Banner’s, text ad’s, skyscrapers are slowly becoming and will die out as the preferred medium in the years to come, its already happening elsewhere. Why then are we so fixated on this format?

The answer has to be money and ROI eventually, everyone needs a return and turn over a profit as soon as possible, irrespective of the fund reservoir that they have, the fastest way to do this is to not actively be innovative but adopt and fight on platforms already existing in the market….and maybe that’s the problem, maybe that’s the reason for the clutter.

Saying one is CPM, another is a CPC is not good enough in my opinion. The inventory remains the same, its only the performance criterion which changes, and upping one level does not translate necessarily into better realization of goals.

I am not going to go into agency involvement and the role they play , or don’t , in this post but what I will say is that there is really a direct correlation between agencies buying and what networks are offering – if you don’t go beyond banners as your product , what else can you expect an agency to buy. I know and interact with a lot of media planners who have a lot of great ideas , but between networks being boring , and clients measurement of success being as little as seeing a banner , these guys are stuck when it comes to planning. Unfortunately in the market, the cribbing tends to happen the other way around that Agencies dictate inventory which networks run for and they need to be more proactive, which in my opinion is just not true anymore.

Networks can’t work on scale when it comes to sheer number of websites and platform options. They don’t have the time to think and creating options on existing platforms is not innovation anymore. The bread and butter is the CPC and the CTR, and the goal is to increase this as much as possible, sometimes by hook or crook. Whose got the time, and maybe even the inclination to look at something as basic as a video ad , other than a network operating in that domain.

Agencies are slow, and some lazy. What we have then is a classic case of an opportunity being present for doing something different but situational paralysis rendering it difficult.

The solution – either agencies creative their own networks or networks create a team deployed for this purpose only , measure not on revenue generated from day 1 , but innovations thought of and executed. This team on the network end gets a small chunk of the overall campaign budget and experiments basis defined guidelines, especially on tough campaigns.

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