Ad Network Use Grows as Marketers Promote Brands Online

February 8, 2010

Sixty-nine percent of media planners and agencies now use online advertising networks as part of their digital ad buys, according to a new study conducted by Adify Media.

This represents a 24% increase in the use of online advertising networks in the past 18 months.

Growing Use

The growing use of ad networks was one of the main highlights from the survey. Adify reports that 69% of media planners and agencies now use online advertising networks, compared to 45% who were using online ad networks regularly in its May 2008 survey. In addition, Adify found that awareness of vertical ad networks (VANs) continues to grow as a way to reach niche audiences, with 72% now familiar with VANs, compared to 56% in 2008.

One reason for the increase, according to survey respondents, is that branding has become the top priority for online campaigns as compared to direct response, where the industry began. Eighty-three percent of respondents report allocating 50% or more of their budget to branding instead of direct response.

Display Spending to Rise
Citing recent research from J.P. Morgan, Adify said that display spending will rise 10.5% this year after a 5% dip last year. The previous display spending dip may be attributed in part to the industry seeking cost-effective reach, Adify said. Adify’s survey found that more than two-thirds of respondents use online advertising networks because of their cost effectiveness.

Top Attributes for Online Ad Networks
Targeting, transparency, and quality are the top three attributes that media planners look for in online advertising networks. Creative capabilities were the least important attribute noted.

“Especially in light of the Dynamic Logic study that found that creative quality is 50-75% responsible for campaign success or failure, agencies must start evaluating the creative capabilities of networks,” said Russ Fradin, president of Adify. “As the industry looks for better ways to engage, not just reach, their audience, brands need to focus on compelling creative that builds an ongoing conversation with consumers and placing it where consumers spend time.”

Other Key Findings

  • More money is being allocated online each quarter, with 56% of respondents’ budgets more than $500,000 in 2008; 73% were more than $500,000 in 2009.
  • In 2009, 37.9% of the respondents spent between $1-5 million per quarter on online advertising, 15.2% of respondents spent $5-20 million per quarter, and 5.9% spent more than $20 million per quarter.

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