Why you should prefer closed publisher networks

On 24/05/2017 by Araceli Almada

As an advertiser, you are always looking for ways to boost your brand awareness, engagement and your sales. These marketing objectives can be achieved through native advertising. So if you are reading this, then it is most likely that you are considering to launch native ad campaigns which means you are on the right track. Although you might still need some help to decide whom to work with, correct? So here is our tip: from the companies you are looking at take a look at their Publisher Network! 

There are basically two types of networks: private marketplaces and open networks. In private marketplaces or closed networks, each publisher is individually selected according to specific criteria such as amount and quality of traffic, content or up-to-dateness and accuracy of information. On the other hand, in open networks or sometimes called long-tail networks as the name suggests, they are open to all types of websites, including websites that promote violence, racism, hate speeches, including my small personal blog about cats (well… I don’t really have a blog, but you get the idea, right?). This is possible because there is rarely to no control over who can or who can’t join their network. You just have to fill out a form, and you’re in! 

With this info you probably already know which type of network is best for your brand, but let’s review this together. 

Brand safety first

A very important thing and something that you always need to care about is your brand. With that in mind you need to know where your ads are being distributed and next to what other brands are they displayed. In other words you want brand safety. So how can you verify this? Look for transparency! This is something that is not a given for every network. At this point you have two options: either you want to be displayed pretty much anywhere and assume the risk to have you ads appear in poor quality websites (fake news, violent, racial, porn, or illegal content - unfortunately, you can easily find everything you want in the Internet). Or you can choose the qualitative option: a controlled and closed network where publishers have to meet certain conditions and criteria before being accepted.

Brand safety is also a matter of advertising neighborhood, meaning the type of advertisers that appear next to your ads. There is evidence that a user is more likely to click on your ad if those nearby are of the same quality. Serious media companies are the only ones being able to guarantee a safe advertising neighborhood. It also works the other way around: the publisher’s brand also has an impact on yours. In other words, you will gain credibility if you decide to advertise on a premium publisher. 

Quality of the traffic

The results of your campaigns also depend on the quality of traffic that is generated by the publishers displaying your ads. If you really want to reach a satisfying ROI, be sure to advertise on websites that are not driving invalid traffic. What is invalid traffic by the way? Have you heard about click farms? If not, check out this video to understand what I mean: 

As you see, a click farm is a structure that is able to generate thousands of clicks to “artificially” boost ad performances. So, if you just want your ads to be clicked, this is what you should look for: publishers that work with this kind of business. And where can you find these types of publishers? Yes, you guessed it: in long-tail networks! But don’t expect results in terms of qualified leads or engagement, you probably won’t have any and if you do, I am not sure about the quality. You do not only need to worry about click farms which are almost archaic nowadays compared to bots. Bots are free and easy to set up, so anyone can install one to increase monetization of their sites (including myself for my personal blog, if I had one of course). So again, this is just a waste of money at the end.

In fact, the only choice you have to be sure you won’t be affected by invalid traffic and ad fraud is to choose a closed advertising network with premium publishers. Your CTR will probably be less than what you expect or want at first, but this KPI should not be your focus. You should rather concentrate on engagement, number of page views, time spent, number of leads and/or conversions. 

To sum up, choosing between long-tail or closed networks is like choosing between throwing your money out the window, or investing it intelligently and aiming at quality results in the long run. A closed network might seem more expensive at the beginning, but remember that sometimes cheap things end up costing more. 

Now it’s up to you to decide what type of publisher network you want to choose for your native advertising campaigns! 

Whether you are convinced or not, please feel free to contact us, and find out more about our premium closed network or how we can help you with your Native Advertising strategy.