5 responses

  1. Alejandro Correa
    February 14, 2013

    while these results are not entirely surprising, I wonder if they are skewed by the fact that it is harder to gather the data for ads bought through exchanges (because of the iframe daisy-chains).

  2. Joe Garis
    February 15, 2013

    I don't believe this study was done right. For it to be done right the study should be isolated to a group of 10 sites (the constant). These sites should all sell direct ads and some ads on exchanges or networks. Then buy ads from those 10 sites direct and then buy from those 10 sites on an exchange and network. From there look at whether there was a quality difference on those 10 sites between direct/network/exchange. The way this study was done there is no way exchanges and networks would not produce lower quality. In the real world us media buyers can use and exchange or network and hand pick which sites we want to bid and buy from. You can even use audience targeting, and specify a whitelisted set of sites this audience should be shown ads on. This article makes it sounds like buying on exchanges is a purely machine gun approach where you buy an audience and your brand gets screwed. That's up to you, the media buyer, to control that. If you can't control that, get a better DSP. So while this study would discourage someone new from exchange/network buying, the reality is you can control a campaign, choose the sites and get quality with a lower price. Sorry, but this study was a waste. I could have told you what you found and saved you lots of time and money. Redo the study as I stated and that will be very informative.

  3. Adam
    February 15, 2013

    Good question Alejandro, this analysis is incomplete without a breakout of unknown impressions vs. known for each source. Without this data I would not form any type of conclusion with what is presented.

  4. Ben Trenda
    March 8, 2013

    Hey Joe, you have a good point that there is variability among sites/ publishers. But even if they had done the study as an "apples to apples" comparison (don't know if they did or not), the result of the study should be the same.

    If you understand how inventory gets into RTB, you understand that the publisher's server serves the direct sold creatives first nearly 100% of the time. Very few exceptions. This means the best inventory doesn't make it into an RTB environment, and therefore, it doesn't matter how good your DSP is: the ads bought direct will still be more visible, earlier in the user session, and on better pages/ placements. One DSP may be able to help you filter better than the next one, but the DSP doesn't have a magic wand that will make the best inventory available in RTB when the publisher doesn't hand it over to an SSP or exchange.

    Just saying.

    • alejandro correa
      March 8, 2013

      I understand that the inventory that publishers value most highly is the last inventory that goes out into exchanges. With that said, I am skeptical that pub's perception of value is driven by data: I don't think the pub has a lot of visibility into what's actually working for the advertiser. So, when pubs assign value to inventory that's "early in the session" or whatever, they're guessing that it's "better" but don't actually know. This is supposition on my part...would love your comment on this. The only way I could see pubs getting data behind this is CTR, and I don't think that's a great indicator of performance.

      Personally, I think that the quality of the content on the page, and the production value of the website, is a much more reliable indicator of the impact the ad will have than something like "session depth" or "time on page." In other words, the impression sold direct and the impression sold via RTB has the same actual value, even though the range of what's actually paid is very different.


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