In Search of Options Beyond the Ad Network “Daisy-Chain”

Posted by Julia Casale-Amorim

In case you happened across the article, “Breaking The Daisy Chain” published earlier this week in MediaPost, I wanted to take this opportunity to make you aware that there are premium, direct ad network options available to you and so there is absolutely no need to settle for or risk compromising the efficiency of your clients’ budgets or the safety of their brands by working with networks that purport the daisy-chaining model.

Of course, there are countless ad networks that blindly book high budget campaigns (to ensure that they secure the deal) without consideration for their own available volumes. When shortfalls occur, which they inevitably do, the network in question then looks to other networks or third-parties to fill the void. In many cases, this is unbeknownst to the agency.

In these all too common scenarios, it is the client who loses out.

Involvement of third-parties compromises the ability to efficiently target/optimize, and depending on the setup, can destroy that capability all together, severely hampering media efficiency and ROI.

Of perhaps greater concern, the practice of daisy-chaining can greatly compromise brand safety. There is an inevitable loss of control with each added link in the chain. There is no true guarantee of transparency. Control over frequency and placement is lost. Standards and guidelines are near impossible to discern, as what is reported by the network from who you purchase may not be reflective of the standards held by all vendors in the chain. Ultimately, as the cliché goes, it is the weakest link that dictates performance, quality and risk.

Our Perspective
We consider the practice of “trading” inventory with other networks to be unacceptable and a poor reflection on the ad network category. This is not the way that we do business, nor is it a practice that we feel should become synonymous with the ad network model.

When we book budgets, our bookings are based on actual network impression availability. Our bookings are all guaranteed. This means that in some cases, we must propose less than the volume clients seek.

We are exclusively direct with all of our publishers; we respect and understand the importance and value of this approach. We never procure inventory through indirect sources. We operate in this manner to ensure that we can assume 100% culpability over the campaigns that we execute. This gives us complete control over inventory selection, placement, targeting and optimization – all vital aspects to campaign management that we can pass on to our clients.

Daisy-chaining is not a reality that agencies have to settle for. There are premium direct alternatives available that can deliver complete control over brand safety and optimization.

We are currently working with the IAB to help establish a set of standards and guidelines for categorizing ad networks based on how their inventory is acquired and vetted. Networks will have the opportunity to become certified against these guidelines. It is our hope that this program will create an environment that promotes transparency, and that it will help agencies by revealing that there are different ad network options available, so that they can make informed decisions about their vendor selection choices, based on the specific requirements of their clients.

You can learn more about the IAB Standards Working Group and inquire about getting involved by visiting: http://www.iab.net.

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