Sunday, January 15, 2006

Birthday Gift 2 of 3

Well, it is over a week since my birthday and I’m still in a giving mood; I’m not sure why because only little kids string their birthday celebration out as long as this. In the last post I decided to give away some of my most treasured secrets when it came to how I turned Harrisdirect into the 17th largest US advertiser on the internet. Unfortunately for you, I waited until this post to give anything away. Oh and one more reminder, these are my personal strategies for online advertising; nothing proprietary to any former employer is being revealed.

Audience Duplication and The Internet

Are you like me and visit a specific site more often than others? You know the kind of sites that are called Yahoo! or MSN and perhaps you even have a customized homepage with one of them. Then from those sites, you go on your merry way to other sites. Some of my personal favorites are Backstreets, WSJ, World of Warcraft, and NY Times. Of course, each one of these sites is putting a cookie on my PC and as well as any 3rd party ad servers that are serving ads on the behalf of advertisers.

Bingo I’m the same cookie visiting multiple web sites. In all likelihood, the individual sites don’t know where else I’m visiting and they certainly count my visits and impressions when selling to potential customers.

Think about how often you web surf. Everyone does it. That’s why the big portals like Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and even Google are in the game of building tools and adding content to keep you in their family of sites longer. The more visits and the longer the length of stay, the more money they can charge advertisers for the traffic on the site. You didn’t really think that Google is not in the business of making money did you?

However, there is one type of company that knows the duplication rates. They are the 3rd party ad servers and any other types of tracking companies. That’s due to the unique cookie placed on your PC.

Now How Do You Use This Knowledge?

Quite simply it means, don’t waste your advertising dollars on multiple sites within your category. You need to know what your actual audience duplication rate is on your ad buy, not just what publishers or research tells you. And, the best source of that data is your 3rd party ad server because it is centrally serving your advertisements across your media buys.

In the example above, let’s say you are looking for my demographic and have an ad buy on NY Times and Yahoo. Use your ad server to figure out what the duplication rate is between the two. What you’ll find out is that every site in your ad buy will have a huge overlap with portal type sites and perhaps an enormous overlap with other publishers. You’ll be able to eliminate a site or two from your media buy, thus making yourself more efficient and perhaps even plowing those dollars into another site with unique traffic or move the dollars into a site already in your ad buy. The latter part is for the next addition of my birthday gift to you.




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