Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Online Advertising & Terminology - 6

Online Advertising File Formats


The compression format designed for photographic images, the JPEG format is used for ads that are photography-based. Typically, text and illustrated non-photo graphics tend to look visually poor in this format.

Format created by CompuServe compress file sizes for delivery on their online service; typically works best with non-photographic and text heavy ads. Unlike JPGs, the GIF format supports animation, which quickly made it the most common graphics format for online ads.

Macromedia Flash

Flash has become commonplace but is still more complicated than simple GIFs and JPGs and has special requirements when used in online advertisements. Macromedia’s vector animation based program allows for more complex animations within file size constraints, but requires a browser plug-in. Macromedia claims that 97.6% of internet users possess the ability to display Flash*, but best practices dictate that all Flash ads are accompanied with a substitute GIF or JPG version that will display for browsers which don’t. Flash is capable of delivering of animation, streaming video and audio and provides for programming of complex interactivity.

Rich Media

Rich media is an umbrella term used to describe the use of web technologies such as Macromedia Flash, Java applets and DHTML to create online display ads that feature advanced functionality including interactivity, animation, and streaming audio and video. An estimated 97% of all Rich media is Flash based. Flash alone can create online ads or may paired with technologies such as Eyeblaster, PointRoll and DoubleClick Motif for additional advertising functionality (mainly tracking based). Nielsen//NetRatings reported that rich media accounted for 35% of all ad impressions in December 2004.* These ads may utilize standard advertising spots or take a “beyond the banner” approach, such as a leader board that expands when clicked to display more information.

Trafficking Controls

Without a third-party server, trafficking ads to multiple publishers is a problem. It can be complex, with many points of failure. A good third-party server simplifies the process of trafficking campaigns and should provide valuable accounting methods for successful delivery and approval of your ads by the publisher.

Dynamic Ad Serving

Most publishers have a limit on the number of ads they will accept at one time. Usually this ranges from 5 to 10 creatives per week. Third-party servers use dynamic ad serving to rotate multiple creatives through one ad tag. This allows the advertiser/agency to traffic as many creatives associated with those tags as they want. This simplifies life for the advertiser and the publisher by cutting down significantly on the work done by both.

Geographic targeting.

Geotargeting is similar to site-side servers but somewhat less effective. You pay for the media regardless of whether you had an appropriate creative for the users an ad was served to. Wherever possible, try to geotarget at the publisher level.

Profile-based targeting.

As I detailed last time, ads can be targeted based on Web-surfing habits. Third-party ad servers have the same issues as site-side servers do.

Session-specific targeting.

Specifics include domain, browser type, and operating system. Again, this can be accomplished on the site side, usually to greater effect as the publisher only shows the ad (and bills you) when there is an appropriate fit. When served by a third party, you pay for the media even if it doesn't fit your demographic.

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