Study: Advertisers Get What They Pay For With Online Ads

opaA recently published study of the effectiveness of online display advertising showed that branded content sites consistently outperform portals on key metrics . The study, done by Dynamic Logic for the Online Publishers Association, measured purchase intent – in other words, it looked beyond the clicks to understand the value of the click to the advertiser.

That’s where ad networks and portals fall short compared to ads placed on branded content sites where purchase intent scores were nine times better. The study goes as far as to say that – according to Mediaweek – ad networks effect on purchase intent was negligible. The most dramatic variation in performance was with video ads placed on branded content sites versus ad networks, where the video ads on specific sites tested performed 93% better than the ad network placements.

There’s an ongoing battle in the marketplace between ad networks, who are pricing at low cpms and selling so called remnant inventory, and the branded content sites, such as and (which are named in the article), who sell placements on their sites at a premium rate. This study goes a long way in proving the value of branded content site impressions and validates their premium pricing.

It’s good news for content publishers, and good reason to think carefully about how much inventory – if any – a publisher (broadcaster, webcaster) wants to hand over to an ad network. Many sites use ad networks as a repository for significant amounts of remnant advertising, but of course the result is that drives pricing (cpms) down, and delivers poor results to advertisers.

This could easily apply to Internet radio and online audio campaigns as well. While it’s tempting to compete for low cpm network radio ad dollars, the downside to this is that advertisers realize mediocre results and fail to reinvest or invest more in Internet radio. At the same time, every low cpm deal contributes to deflating pricing in the marketplace. It’s difficult to reject any deal in this economy, but the price for flooding the marketplace with cheap cpm inventory could be steep.

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