I just recently got back from the IAB Marketplace: Ad Network & Xchanges conference that took place in NYC on March 31st. A co-worker and I attended the conference open minded but with the hopes that we would come away with a little more insight into the inner working of Ad Networks & Exchanges and how we might better use them for our clients campaigns. I will say that overall I was very pleased with the venue, its key note speakers, and all the attendees. I particularly liked the “speed dating” format in which the networks and exchanges presented their information. It kept everything on track; the only real draw back was that Q&A was kept to a minimum.
Most of the networks and exchanges presenting, did a good job explaining overall capabilities, and more importantly how they can be an asset to a campaign. Yes, a few networks (I won’t name drop) gave more of a sales pitch, but I guess that is to be expected. Sandwiched in between the speed dating information sessions were some great panel discussions and speakers talking about everything from your basic network pricing structures to what the future might hold. Yes, the ESPN.com decision came up several times but none of the panelists representing networks were rattled by the decision, but rather commented on the value of such a move.
So are networks and exchanges going to see a dramatic shift of publishers taking back their inventory and handling ad sales themselves? I think not. The reality of the situation is that a lot of sites just don’t have the resources to handle such a move. It requires not only an experienced sales force to sell your inventory effectively, but also adequate technology to assure your advertisers that their campaigns are going to be delivered, and delivered effectively. Networks and exchanges and the ESPN.com’s of the world each serve a unique and valuable purpose in the online advertising medium. Each just represents a separate piece to the advertising puzzle that we have to put together to try and make our campaigns successful.
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