Research: Advertisers want to get more targeted, but cool on demand-side ad-buying

November 2, 2010 by Dave Haynes

A new study being released this week by MediaPost’s Center for Media Research, reports Media Post, suggests spending on general, broad-based ad networks –  the dominant source of online ad-guying – will decline over the next year as media planners shift their to more targeted options based on user behavior or social networks.

This is specifically about online, but there are comparisons for DOOH, it could be easily argued.

The study, “Ad Networks Study: Pros & Cons Of Each Platform,” examines the current spending patterns and future intentions of online display advertisers and media buyers about the rapidly changing marketplace, and the role of third-party intermediaries such as ad networks and demand side platforms (DSPs). The study, which was conducted online by InsightExpress, surveyed 275 respondents between Sept. 17 & 29, and found that nearly a third (31%) of digital ad budgets are currently spent on general ad networks, but that share is expected to decline by four percentage points to 27% over the next 12 months as advertisers and agencies shift toward more targeted options.

Behaviorally targeted ad networks, currently 24% of the respondents’ budgets, is projected to rise one point to 25%, while social ad networks will grow two points from 12% to 14%. The percentage of respondent budgets spent on premium publishers direct sales organizations will remain even at 22%, while the percentage bought through DSPs will also remain steady at 5%.

The shifts reflect the sentiment of advertisers as they shift from a commodity-oriented focus, using display networks and DSPs as a means of procuring online display inventory cheaper and more efficiently, to a using the market to more strategically target online users.

Forty-five percent of respondents said their clients are specifically asking them to buy social ad networks, while 38% want them to continue buying directly from premium publishers, followed by behaviorally targeted ad networks (37%), general ad networks (27%), and DSPs (9%).

For all the noise surrounding the rapid rise of DSPs, which some see as an ad network “killer,” DSPs were at best an ancillary option for respondents who plan, buy and approve online advertising budgets.

“DSPs are ridiculous,” said one anonymous respondent. “They want to replace media agencies by buying remnant inventory. Uh… not good. We’re not a fan here.”

Demand side platforms are described in a big variety of ways, but boil down to web services tools that make it easier to plan and buy media time across a lot of networks. rVue is an example of a DOOH-based demand-side platform, while companies like Adcentricity and SeeSaw are less about the technology and more about being the people with tools behind different audience groups they aggregate.

The up-tick in interest for ad targeting is another good sign of shifting interests, as DOOH is one of those mediums that can really shine when it comes to zeroing in on audience groups, life patterns and and locations.

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