trends

Ad Networks: Linking Creatives and Customers

Ad Networks: Linking Creatives and Customers
Stephen Yagielowicz

For many professional adult website operators and marketers, ad networks have become a vital part of the traffic building and promotional process. From advertisers seeking targeted audiences to publishers aiming to monetize their site’s visitors, today’s ad networks provide the missing link between creatives and customers, driving e-commerce forward.

Trying to keep pace with the broader trends in digital advertising means looking outward to all markets. That includes analyzing mainstream markets, where desktop video viewing is declining and mobile viewing continues to rise, live streaming, which is fast becoming a media mainstay and social media, which continues growing.

Networks are already very careful [about] who they will allow running iframe ads on their publishers, but more so in 2017, the hosting setup of advertisers running iframe ads will now require SSL certificates as well. -Ross Allan, TrafficForce

The tighter integration of social media with ad campaigns will become a hot topic for adult, which is seeing a growing base of performers taking their careers into their own hands through various channels.

“More tools [are] coming from social media sites (think paid Instagram campaigns through Facebook and new features on Twitter),” Nina Grinblat wrote for AdClarity. “E-commerce is going to see a big boost in 2017 as campaigns in social are geared towards conversion.”

Grinblat also cited “The Pokemon Effect” as a key trend driving digital media and advertising this year, as technology provides new entertainment options.

“2017 is expected to see an increase in the use of augmented reality, specifically in mobile marketing,” Grinblat explained. “With over 500 million downloads and 20 million daily active users, one thing is sure — consumers love augmented reality!”

Finally, Grinblat says that following the rise of infographics several years ago, “it makes perfect sense that marketers would want more solutions for data visualization,” as a means of improving their digital marketing campaigns.

These are all recurring themes in the discussion of what’s hot in ad network marketing today.

Writing for Venture Beat, Protected Media’s Asaf Greiner points to problems with malicious bots and collaboration to prevent ad fraud, along with further mobile growth, as being among 2017’s top trends.

“By 2018, nearly three-quarters of Google’s net ad revenues worldwide will come from mobile ad placements,” Greiner explained. “But the dynamic surge in mobile traffic will also make more room for fake views and clicks. As a result, mobile ad fraud will become more dominant in 2017.”

The increase in fraud is creating new partnerships to combat it, generating solutions for marketers.

“There will be more initiatives to communicate what’s working and what’s not, so that advertisers and traffic sources can work together to clean up traffic instead of blocking it,” Greiner added. “By pinpointing specific impressions, categorizing the problem and providing actionable data in real-time, publishers can work with mediators to become part of the solution instead of being labeled as the problem.”

As with other observers, TrafficForce’s Ross Allan noted that security is a big concern this year, and points to the increasing move towards secure websites using HTTPS, and how this evolution will affect clients of ad networks.

“Google is already making changes to how it ranks sites based on secure ads,” Allan explained. “Networks are already very careful [about] who they will allow running iframe ads on their publishers, but more so in 2017, the hosting setup of advertisers running iframe ads will now require SSL certificates as well.”

For another challenge, Greiner pointed to studies revealing how consumers are annoyed by online ads, which is driving the adoption of ad blockers — with around 30 percent of U.S. internet users reportedly using ad-blocking software.

“Of the 3,200 internet users surveyed in a recent study, 92 percent said that they’d consider using an ad blocker and 62 percent said they are annoyed by pre-roll ads,” Greiner explained. “That’s bad news for marketers, advertisers and publishers alike, who lose money when browsers prevent ads from reaching the ad server.”

The industry is responding, however, with Allan saying the fight against ad blockers is getting bigger.

“Ad networks are fighting back to bring more revenue to quality publishers who really try to give their users a good user experience and only use ads that are not intrusive or malicious,” Allan explained. “Bringing attention to this and using technology to recapture this lost revenue is going to be a big thing in 2017.”

The best way to counteract ad blockers and make more money, may just be better ads.

“In 2017,” Greiner concluded, “finding ways to use more entertaining and less intrusive media will become a higher priority to avoid alienating viewers.”

ExoClick’s head of advertising Oliwia Kaluzynska told XBIZ that mainstream ad network technology is now crossing over to adult.

“ExoClick is providing the adult industry with these mainstream tools,” Kaluzynska said. “For example, we launched in-stream video ads — and last month, after six months of beta testing, we launched programmatic RTB.”

Kaluzynska said that good tracking is a hot topic this year, especially for affiliates who may be pushing several offers across a multitude of ad networks.

“ExoClick has seen great success with clients adopting its API to get real-time stats, and integration of their own automation plugins and software,” Kaluzynska adds. “Everyone is currently talking about VR as it is now hitting the mainstream, [so] the time is ripe for advertising VR content because you could become a key player in this new and exciting market.”

TrafficForce’s Allan agreed that “programmatic” is the buzzword of the year so far, with lots of interest in DSPs and SSPs.

“That trend will continue throughout the year,” Allan explained, “with major changes coming to compliment the need for efficiency in the ad buying world, generating the most revenue for publishers and advertisers alike.”

Writing for AdWeek, Edelman Digital’s Kevin King listed several factors he considers significant for the ad industry in 2017: conversational experiences driven by chatbots, blockchain technology, B2B promotions, immersive content, efforts to make using a headset “culturally acceptable” and influencer marketing.

“Considering the challenges marketers face with bot fraud, ad blocking, social algorithms and general skepticism, influencer marketing will play a renewed and central role in the marketing mix for 2017,” King explained. “Influencer marketing isn’t new, but it will mature in 2017 as we see brands not only partnering with digital savvy Snapchatters and YouTubers, but co-creating original content that can’t be found anywhere else.”

This trend can easily transcend into adult, where a huge opportunity exists for safe-for-work promotions by cam models and other performers, who can leverage ad networks to promote their YouTube channel.

Adamo CEO Judy Shalom told XBIZ that during 2017, a growing number of marketers will seek out solutions that cover “the entire customer journey.”

“To succeed, customers will have to think one step further than individual ad campaigns and conversions,” Shalom said. “It all comes together with the management of Big Data and creating a unified experience that spans all customer contact areas.”

Shalom explained that digital marketers are flooded with data about customer behavior, but noted this raw information is not sufficient in drawing useful conclusions.

“Almost everything can be measured in every detail,” Shalom remarked. “How do visitors come to your site? How long are they staying there? Which type of content are they interacting with? What products are mostly getting purchased? Behavioral data does give some valuable insights, but for marketers to use it in a meaningful way, this data must be placed into a larger context.”

Shalom said that 2017 will see an increase in ad networks combining demographic data and behavioral data to meet customers’ high demand for relevant content. She also pointed to the continued growth of email marketing as a profit center beyond traditional networks.

“For every $1 spent on email marketing, there is an ROI of $44.25,” Shalom revealed. “That is the highest ROI of all digital marketing channels, and I definitely believe that the email marketing segment will continue to grow.”

While ad networks are only one part of today’s digital advertising landscape, they are an increasingly vital component that can be integrated with other ad tools for maximum efficiency and are evolving along with the tactics and technology that power them. By staying on top of such trends, marketers can profit and grow even more in 2017.

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