South African advertisers that want to maximise their returns from their digital spending should consider allocating a significant portion of their budgets to direct buys of premium display advertising from top tier publishers.
That’s according to Marcus Stephens, GM for publishing at Kagiso New Media, which runs the South African MSN portal. He says that advertisers should be looking carefully at how they split their budgets between advertising networks and premium publishers to meet their marketing objectives.
Says Stephens: “Ad networks have a valuable role to play in the marketing mix for publishers and advertisers alike, but they should not dominate the advertising conversation. As a publisher, we believe that it is important to segment our inventory by making some available for the networks and keeping our premium inventory for direct sales to clients.
“The reason for this is that we see ourselves as partners for our advertisers. We work with them to help them maximise their use of our advertising space to meet their business objectives. This kind of publisher support isn’t available when one simply buys from an exchange.”
Like most digital publishers, MSN South Africa reserves many of its best advertising options for clients who buy directly – for example, home page and site takeovers as well as roadblocks. The reason for this is that MSN works with advertisers on crafting content and environment that are conducive to the conversations they want to have with their audiences.
“This is a very different sort of media buy to the one that most networks offer – they often offer inventory from niche sites that are transactional in purpose, offer little in the way of fresh or original content, and focus on providing services rather than information,” says Stephens.
“Often, the ad network inventory is for low-value placements that are difficult to sell. For example, the ad space may be below the fold of the screen and not easily seen by a user. The benefits of ad networks include a low cost for the impressions, but advertisers must be aware of what they’re paying for.”
Stephens says that ad networks are ideal for certain campaigns where the goal is reach at a low cost. “We are not disparaging the value of ad networks or exchanges because they have an important place in helping publishers maximise yields from low-value inventory and in giving advertisers low CPM advertising options,” he adds.
“But when the campaign is a strategic one that aims to ignite customer conservation, premium buying comes into its own. It offers better audience data, a higher quality audience, more visibility and a better platform for engagement. It may be more expensive at a CPM level, but the cost is easily justified.”
About Howzit MSN
Published by Kagiso Media, Howzit MSN is one of the largest web portals in South Africa. The portal is the South African associate of Microsoft’s MSN family of Internet services, which attracts more than 3.14 million unique users around the world each month.
Howzit MSN is South Africa’s leader in providing quality web content to consumers and powerful online advertising solutions to marketers. It attracts a large mainstream audience with its core news service as well as several niche audiences with specialised content. For advertisers, Howzit MSN offers a wide range of ways to target audiences including the howzit.MSN.com homepage, news, sports and lifestyle. This is complemented by globally popular social advertising platform Skype.
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