Behind the post: Invisible ad placements to save publishers?

In a recent post for iMedia I discussed how publishers have seen their world change and how the smart ones have found ways to survive. Visit '

How Publishers Adapt To Avoid Their Armageddon

' for the full article.

Publishers have had a shitty time of it when it comes to CPM prices for their ad space, mostly because so many sistes have been born that inventory is available everywhere. And the media exchanges that were designed to help publishers achieve fair market value, have actually driven down the price, (although I do think that is temporary). I even remember what felt like an almost clandestine dinner in London where we were told of this new idea of an exchange by DoubleClick and how media would not be the same again. Turned out to be true, but not entirely as they predicted.

Given I have spent most of my career on the buy-side at agencies and behavioral ad companies, you would think I would delight in the bargain basement CPMs we find ourselves with today. Actually, quite the opposite. The marketing world needs quality inventory, and that requires quality content to put it in - sad to say it, but not every brand thrives surrounded by cat videos and clips of people falling on their arses. And quality content costs money; real people with real talents have to invest real time in making it, something that gets harder and harder to do as income continues to fall.

So one area I discussed was the idea of the 'invisible' ad placement. The BS-free version is that this is a pixel being placed on a page instead of an ad, generating income every time the page loads, just as its fully visible bigger brother does. But this pixel is not there for the purpose of temporary value, it is sitting there because of a financial agreement with a 3rd party who is interested in tagging that site's visitors, and gathering data on them when possible.

A great example would be for

Search Retargeting

that we pioneered at


. As a technique this finds individuals who have searched for a term relevant to one of our clients, but who has not yet visited their site. There is years of tech that has gone into this, but simply put we work closely with our data parters that help us generate the search data that makes this whole thing possible.

Each of those data partners is making an income from carrying our code on their site, with which we then use to generate an income from advertising. The visitor to the site does not have to see another ad on their pages, yet their visit is helping fund the site. A win / win / win situation for us, the publisher and the individual.

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