National Online Advertising vs. Local Online Advertising

One of the best lenses to see how National Online Advertising differs from Local Online Advertising is to understand how a national advertiser protects itself versus the very little protection the same industry affords Local advertisers.

National Online Advertising

A case in point is “viewability” which is a concern for National Advertisers, so much so, that they employ companies that specialize in exploiting fear, like Double Verify or MOAT.

National brands rely on these companies, and they also apply an attribution model to award conversions to a last impression.  The “last impression” is the one that a user clicks on and then converts which depends on which model an advertiser uses to count as a conversion.  Online Ad Companies are specialists at jockeying for these “last impressions” by flooding cheap blind inventory to boost cookies.

Here’s what the Washington Post said about this practice in a recent article by Digiday.

Jeff Burkett, senior director, sales operations and product strategy at the Post, said advertisers that are measuring campaigns on a view-through basis are incentivized to buy cheap ads at high volume.

“If the goal for the campaign is a viewed-through attribution, the whole goal is to drop as many cookies as they can on people, so they, the ad network, take the credit for it,” Burkett said. “You win not if you do a really good job, you win if you sell the last ad. I would call it a fraud. It works against you to do the right thing.”

Keep in mind from my earlier posts,  browser companies, like Mozilla Firefox, and Safari have restricted usage of 3rd party cookies in 2012 and 2013, so that the cookie pool for conducting “cookie based” campaigns has shrunk by around 60%.

Local Online Advertising

What does this mean for the local advertiser?

The local advertising behavioral or re-targeting provider does not provide viewability protection and often provides semi-transparent reporting with site names blocked by long numbers, “Unknown” or “Anonymous”.  It is our assertion that there are not enough cookies available to effectively provide “scale” for local behavioral or re-targeting campaigns to be effective; especially in the long term.

Our company doesn’t use cookies.  We use sophisticated research to place ads “before the click” on websites where our ads are placed above the fold (ATF), and served 100% transparently.  This makes the element of viewability a non-issue for our local campaigns.  Our local advertisers often have annual campaigns that continue to improve over time.

National advertisers could do this, too, but rely on the standard “cookie based” advertising that is the staple for most online media companies or buy website inventory directly on a transparent basis.

Take aways:

  • There is so much distrust in National Online Advertising that companies like Double Verify and MOAT are able to earn money protecting brands from bad inventory, and bad “viewability”.
  • Local Behavioral and Re-Targeting providers don’t afford local advertisers with viewability protection, and often have semi-transparent reporting that blocks site names with long numbers, “Unknown” or Anonymous.
  • Aqua Media Direct, Inc. has made Local Online Advertising very easy for our clients quite intentionally.  And viewability is not an issue when local ads are served to 100 percent transparent websites that are grouped to together by sophisticated research and placed into relevant Media Plans.

Tom Doyle, CEO Aqua Media Direct, Inc.