I recently posted some articles about the best CPM Ad Networks. I thought it would be important to go over some of the best practices for actually dealing with these networks. If you’re going to deal with the ad networks, you should really understand the different types, and of course, how to deal with each one, and, what sort of traffic you’re going to be getting.

What Are They, Exactly?

Ad Networks are essentially companies that connect websites looking to monetize their ad space (Publishers), with people who want to advertise on their sites (Advertisers). It allows Advertisers an easy way to scale up their already profitable campaigns, and allows Publishers a very easy to way to monetize their traffic, without having to worry about doing direct media buys with advertisers (which, while being more profitable, is also more of a hassle). Basically, they facilitate the whole relationship between Publishers and Advertisers, and make everyone’s life a little easier (ideally) while taking a cut of all advertising done.

The Three Types Of Networks…

There are three types of Ad Networks, and we’ll be covering them in this this article. You have Blind networks, Targeted networks, and of course, Representative networks, and it’s important that you know the differences between them, and the pros and cons of each, before you decide (as either a Publisher or Advertiser, which Ad Network is the best one for you).

Blind Networks

The first type of network we’ll go over, is known as “Blind Networks”. The reason I’ve listed this one first, is that it’s probably the best one for beginners. With Blind Networks, you essentially have NO control over your campaign (obviously, this is in stark contrast to typical Media Buying and Real Time Bidding platforms, where you essentially have full control).

Obviously, because you have essentially no control, you have to make sure your campaign is already very profitable, in order to succeed with Blind networks (even moreso with this type of network than the others). You’re getting a ton of traffic that’s only semi-targeted, BUT, the CPM’s will generally be much smaller than with other networks. Overall, if you want to scale up a campaign, without having to do any work, and you want cheaper CPM’s then with the other networks, than Blink Networks are the ones for you.

Targeted Networks

Targeted Networks, as the name would imply, offer Advertisers by far the most targeted traffic of any of the CPM Ad Networks. You can target in many of the same ways in which you can target with a Real Time Bidding system. For example, you can target people based on the content which is on the site they’re visiting (also known as Contextual targeting). This is the primary form of targeting used by the Google Display Network. They can even go so far as doing behavioral targeting, so you’re only targeting certain people who’ve performed certain actions. Very nifty.

Representative Networks

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Representative Networks. Representative Networks work in a very different way than the other two. Much unlike Blind Networks, you, as the Advertiser, will actually know where your ads are going to be placed with these networks. While you don’t actually have full control over this, the details will in fact be disclosed to you, which, if your the advertiser, you’ll most likely find beneficial. Also, unlike the Blind Networks, you’ll find that these networks are also the most expensive, so you should only sign up if you’ve got a very nice monthly adspend to play with (or let them play with, as it were).

The key to success with one of these types of networks, is to make sure that you have a good representative. It all really comes down to that. Make sure they’re experienced, and that they’ve been there for a while. Maybe even quiz them to make sure they know their stuff. Having a bad rep at one of these companies, can cost you a fortune.

What Type Of Traffic Will You Be Getting?

Typically, the type of traffic you’ll get from these sites is known as “remnant inventory”. This is essentially all the traffic that’s left over, after a site manages to sell the bulk of their traffic via direct media buys, or other methods. The reason they’re willing to sell this traffic cheap, is because if they don’t, they won’t sell it at all, and if they don’t sell it at all, then it’s essentially worthless. This can be good, BUT, it’s also something to keep in mind when you’re purchasing from these networks… you’re not always getting the cream of the crop traffic (though it can still be profitable for you).